Posts Tagged ‘corporatewellness’

Improving Brain Health At The Workplace

Brain HealthYou’ve heard that sitting is the new smoking: bad for our hearts, lungs, and a leading cause of obesity. A new study from UCLA suggests that too much sitting is also bad for our brains, and that sedentary behavior is linked to changes in parts of the brain that are critical for memory. Sorry, what was I saying? I work from a computer all day, and as much as I want to move more, it’s really challenging. But if sitting is going to literally thin my brain, I’m READY TO MAKE SOME CHANGES!

  1. Commit, then get aggressive. Set a timer to move every 20 to 25 minutes—this is about your brain, people! —but make it an annoying, non-negotiable sound if you need to. I had to change my phone alarm to a screaming noise from the normal “ding sound” but the sound sends a firm message, “No, seriously, get up!”
  2. Up your liquid game plan. One, choose a smaller cup/mug/water bottle so you have to get up more often for refills. Two, aim for a lot of hydration. (Your skin is going to look great!) All the inevitable trips to the loo are reason to move, but bonus points for choosing a bathroom as far away as possible. Another bonus: throw in five triceps dips before you sit back down.
  3. Stand and pace for phone calls. Whether you are on hold with the pharmacy or chit-chatting with your sister, make sure you are vertical and moving. Office workers: get a headset if you need to, and if you have a door, do lunges or use small hand weights if you’re stuck on an epic call.
  4. Seek out pleasurable destinations. Is there a nice dog park nearby where you’d enjoy taking your pet, instead of around the block? How about treating yourself to a stroll to a coffee shop in the afternoon? Is there a shady bench where you can enjoy your lunch? Not only will you move more, but you might find your life becoming more pleasant, too.
  5. Make your to-do list work for you. Every time you check a task off, let that be a reminder you need to make like James Brown and get on up. Do some squats or a victory lap around the office or your home. Onward to the next task!

~ Courtesy of Spirituality & Health Magazine

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Skipping Lunch Is Bad for You and Worse for Business

Did you skip lunch last week—either by gobbling down something at your desk or forgoing food altogether? The odds are good that you did.

A 2012 workplace survey by Right Management found just one in five employees take actual lunch breaks. That’s a problem because both the lunch and the break are good for you.

Skipping lunch is bad for your mind, bad for your body, and bad for your workplace productivity.

Can’t Leave Their Desks

The good news is that most workers do eat something in the middle of the day. According to the Right Management survey, in addition to the one fifth of North Americans who take a lunch break, another two-fifths eat some food at their desks.

The bad news is that almost 40 percent of workers and managers eat some kind of lunch “only from time to time” or “seldom, if ever.”

Michael Haid, a vice president for the management firm, called this “yet another warning sign of the relentless stress experienced by workers.”

If we’re being honest, it’s worse than that.

The decline of the lunch hour is a sign of poor leadership. Organizational policies and team culture pressure workers and leaders alike to embrace busywork and distraction—and hurt their own long-term productivity in the process.

The Lunch Hour Dividend

A lunch hour is good because we need food if we are going to be energetic and sharp. Plus, we need a change of scenery if we are going to be creative. We might treat it like an interruption standing in our way, but there are at least two key reasons lunch is critical for peak performance throughout the day:

  1. Energy. We need fuel in the tank. Otherwise, our bodies and brains will punish us with distractions. Not only will we experience hunger pangs and thoughts of food, but we’ll also experience drowsiness, fuzziness, and fatigue.So it’s good to make sure that we eat something healthy in the middle of the day. It’s also beneficial if we get away to do that, which takes me to the second reason.
  2. Creativity. Taking lunch to your desk might seem like a good idea, but it’s actually detrimental. “Creativity and innovation happen when people change their environment, and especially when they expose themselves to nature-like environments,” Kimberly Elsbach, an expert in workplace psychology at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.

    She argues that “staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to the creative process. It’s also detrimental to doing the rumination that’s needed for ideas to percolate and gestate and allow a person to arrive at an ‘aha!’ moment.”

Miss this and you’re missing out on what I call the Lunch Hour Dividend. You’re sacrificing breakthrough moments that could take your organizations to the next level for the unbroken monotony of calls and meetings and emails. That’s a bad trade.

Lunch by Example

Leaders have to be intentional about turning this around. Let it be known that you want people to take their lunch breaks and set the example. Your team will eventually follow.

Here’s my challenge to you if you regularly skip your lunch break. Today, get away from your desk. Eat something with friends or colleagues or on a bench outside. Then go for a walk in a field or a park.

It will help you get clarity about the first half of your day and give you energy and insight to maximize the rest.

~ Courtesy of M.H.

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