We all need a brief respite during a busy workday to recharge, mentally and physically. In the past, this idea was closely linked to cigarettes, coffee, or excessively-sweet confections. However, in Dallas, we’ve always tried to strike that balance between enjoying sumptuous barbecue and having a “Katy Trail body,” and as a haven for commerce we do our best to make every minute matter. It’s all about living to the fullest, and wellness on all levels may be the most important component.
With that in mind, here are some simple, practical suggestions for making the most of those office breaks:
ENJOY SOME FRESH FRUIT
Taking a few minutes to enjoy a banana or an apple not only satiates any oral fixation and keeps blood-sugar and vitamin levels well-regulated, but it actually makes a person feel happier! Of course, it’s not easy to remember to bring fresh fruit with you to the office, so you might want to suggest to your HR department that they look into ORCHARD At The OFFICE, a local company dedicated exclusively to office fruit delivery for the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. It makes sense from a company standpoint, as healthy employees are more productive, which makes a tangible impact on the bottom line. And you get to enjoy your favorite fruits in the break room!
A brief, positive expenditure of energy does wonders for the endorphin level. There are, of course, thousands of exercise routines that can be performed quickly and without the need for equipment and/or fluorescent sweatgear. Here’s just one that can be done in five minutes or less:
- Marching in place. 60 seconds will accelerate the heart rate without causing the average person to break out into an inconvenient sweat.
- Calf-raises. With your back straight, stand on tiptoe for 1-2 seconds, then lower your ankles again. 20-30 of these will take about 60 seconds, and it’ll increase your capacity to endure stilettos if that’s your fashion inclination.
- Wall sits. The Cooper Clinic of Dallas reminds us this is an example of an isometric exercise, meaning we don’t move once we’re in position. You rest your back against the wall, and slide slowly down until your knees are at a 90° angle. Hold this position 20 seconds if you’re a beginner, anywhere from 30-60 seconds if you’re more confident in your abilities.
A simple practice that’s worked for thousands of years. Don’t think of it as an effort to eliminate all conscious thought from your mind, as this is impractical and would make you an ambulatory hazard. It’s more a reminder not to sweat the small stuff; to elevate perspective and reframe your day. Here’s a simple, secularized variation of walking meditation that you can step outside and do in just a few minutes:
- As you begin walking, take notice of any sense object: any sight, sound, smell or feeling that leaps out at you. It could, for instance, be the sound of a car’s engine revving.
- Walk while taking your mind through the process of how that sense object came to be. Our automobile engine was borne of raw materials, mined from the earth, then shaped into a multitude of individual parts to be assembled into a vehicle, then transported, distributed, and sold, eventually to its current owner.
- Consider your connection to the sense object. To the earth that provided the raw materials, the process of assembly, distribution, and consumption. The number of people working to a common purpose, each with their own unique vested interest in a positive outcome.
- Now, as you complete your walk and return to your own job, you can reflect on how what you do fills a role in society as well. How many people are positively impacted to some degree by the work we do daily? With this outlook, we can all take pride in our daily work and imbue the seemingly mundane tasks with some semblance of meaning.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
Taken individually, these suggestions won’t revolutionize your life. But they’re all components of creating a healthy lifestyle – enjoying each moment in the knowledge you are living well! If you’ve already got a nutrition plan and a fitness plan, these actions are supplemental. If, however, you’re looking for a way to begin to take steps down the path of wellness, these suggestions provide a convenient way to get started. Live well, Dallas!