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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!
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.