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We’ve all heard that sitting at a desk all day takes a toll on both the body and the brain. Long hours of stationary screen time can affect our eyes, shoulders, back—even our hips. Lack of energy impacts our mental health, leading to decreased productivity, creativity, and motivation.
So, how do you take care of yourself and keep killing it at work? Whether you’re remote or in the office from 9 to 5, these healthy hustle habits can help you avoid burnout, lower stress, and boost your work mood every day.
Work wellness begins before you pour that first cup of coffee. Resist the urge to check your phone while still in bed. Reading emails and notifications first thing in the morning puts you on autopilot, and creates the perceived pressure of needing to respond right away. Instead, turn on a ten-minute guided meditation or stretch to wake up slowly.
I’ve noticed that on days when I treat my morning routine as “me time”—reading a book over breakfast and listening to a podcast during my commute—I feel calmer and more prepared when I arrive at the office. Since I can’t actually make progress on important tasks until I get to my computer, flagging emails on my phone duplicates my workload and adds unnecessary stress.
Take a page from The Little Book of Hygge. While typically associated with being cozy at home, happiness expert Meik Weiking argues that the Danish concept of hygge is just as relevant for your office or cubicle. Try decorating your space with a candle, a few potted plants, postcards, an art print you’re obsessed with, or even a mini aromatherapy diffuser. Too much clutter or disorganization can be distracting though, so keep it simple with just a few favorite things.
Fostering relationships with coworkers is the most important element to enjoying your workspace (and the work you do). Organize a monthly potluck lunch, book club, a windowsill garden, or other activity that promotes sharing and collaboration.
Keep healthy snacks in your desk or fridge to fight fatigue and *hangry* moments. When cravings strike, but you’re short on time, you’ll be more likely to reach for something you already have rather than hit the vending machine or the fast food place around the corner. I like to use my Monday lunch break to go to the grocery store near the office and bring back apples, bananas, a jar of peanut or almond butter, yogurt, oatmeal, KIND bars, dried fruit and nuts, cut veggies, and hummus. Little snacks keep my blood sugar stable during the day, which allows me to think clearly, prioritize tasks better and make level-headed decisions.
Equally important is staying hydrated throughout the day. Keep a large mason jar or a water bottle on your desk and refill it frequently. For extra motivation, try a smart bottle that lights up to remind you to drink, or an infuser bottle to create your own flavored water.
An adjustable standing desk is worth the investment (and some companies may cover the cost!) so that you can alternate between sitting and standing.
Pro tip: a thick foam floor pad makes standing easier on your feet, knees, and hips.
If a standing desk isn’t an option for you, mimic the variety by standing up and taking a short walk every 15-20 minutes, even just around the office. If your coworkers are game, schedule walking meetings instead of sitting in a conference room.
If your workspace has other seating, such as couches, chairs, or conference tables, take your laptop or notebook and sit somewhere else for half an hour for a change of scenery. Sitting on an exercise ball can also help with posture and balance, and keeps you engaged and energized.
Working on a laptop with a touchpad or with a small mouse causes me to experience pain in my fingers, palm, wrist, and lower arm. To combat the constant scrolling, an ergonomic mouse creates a more stable, neutral position for your hand.
Minimize eye strain by looking away from the screen often—look out the window or into the middle distance for a few minutes to combat staring up-close at your monitor.
Want to clear the brain fog and re-energize your mind? Get some much-needed fresh air. Be sure to get outside at least once a day, but preferably more. Don’t just go pick up a takeout lunch and come back. Walk around the block, eat on a park bench if it’s nice out, take the long way back to the office. Take deep breaths. Look at trees or flowers or water. Even in cold or rainy weather, a few minutes outdoors can make a big difference in your mindset when you sit back down.
When your energy lags, get your blood flowing with jumping jacks, lunges, or even sprints. Ease tension on your neck, shoulders, back, and hips—after work, try doing stretches or a yoga sequence that targets these areas. Poses with twists and backbends, gentle shoulder stands, upward dog, happy baby, and forward folds can help release tense muscles.
If you have the option to commute by foot or by bike, do this as often as you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the far end of the parking lot. Get off a subway stop early to lengthen your walk.
Whether it’s a Monday morning or Thursday lunch break, try adding some of these wellness tips into your daily routine for a much-needed energy boost while working!
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.