If Neanderthals knew leaving the cave to go to work hunting the woolly mammoth so long ago would someday evolve to humans sitting in one place to work for eight hours each day, they might have just said, “Screw it.”
Their work lives were based on moving to survive. Ours in the modern age, well, they are not. Some of us must sit for hours on end to complete tasks. We lose energy. We get bored, almost painfully so at times. Our body can also develop real aches and pains from the inactivity.
We don’t have to accept that fate. Let’s look at what we can do to energize, decrease pain and kick boredom in the shins.
The key to feeling energetic during long sedentary periods is to get your blood flowing. Here are some quick ways you can make that happen:
- Walk around the building during your break.
- Do some basic stretching for your neck, legs and shoulders.
- Drink lots of water. You’ll feel sluggish if you’re dehydrated. Fun bonus: You have to get up to pee more often when you’re hydrated. That walk to the restroom also gets your blood pumping!
- Dance break. I’m not kidding. Both exercise and music produce endorphins that battle stress. Go to the parking lot. Cue up your dance jam, unleash the K-Pop star within and have at it.
Alleviate physical pain
The key to avoiding physical pain in the office needs to be addressed holistically. Keeping your body in proper shape to handle the long periods of sitting (this doesn’t sound like a difficult task but you know how painful it can be if you’re forced into it) goes beyond the office. A lot of it has to do with correcting your posture.
Start by correcting your sitting posture. You’ll have to be more mindful of this during work and make sure you do mental checks to evaluate if you’re slouching. You’ll want to keep your ears in line with your shoulders, uncross your legs, and pull back your shoulder blades. Consider using a lumbar pillow to support the small of your back.
Next, think about your walking posture. Stand tall and straight. No leaning forward or back. Look forward. Chin parallel to the ground. Take long strides. Maintaining proper posture while you’re standing and moving around will help make correct sitting posture feel more natural to you.
Finally, fix your sleeping posture. If you don’t know how important it is to sleep with your spine aligned, you probably have felt it. If your spine isn’t straight during slumber, you’ll wake up sore or in pain. Now, you can’t really do mental checks throughout the night to improve your posture, so it’s important that you have a supportive mattress designed to do the work for you. Look deep into reviews to find a bed that rates high in spinal alignment and you’ll be able to say goodbye to the mornings of waking up with aches and pains.
Stave off boredom
We all share the experience of being bored. Everyone faces that at some point in life. In fact, most scientists would say boredom signals us to get moving, to get thinking and to start acting.
The key to avoiding boredom at work is to jump start your brain with a different activity. Any variety will break up the monotony.
To start, decorate your workspace with items that make you laugh or that you can pick up and play with without taking you off task.
Another great strategy is to always be the go-getter. Be the person who volunteers to handle a task off the beaten path: watering the office plants, walking the office emotional support animal, or training newcomers on company culture.
Whenever you find yourself in a moment of boredom, find a way to break up the day. Keep a to-do list with random tasks for the day, the week, or the month that don’t have an urgent need for being done but will be a productive use of your time. If you’re at loose ends, tackle one, e.g. organizing your desktop files.
You can also make the day fun with spontaneity. Look across the room at a conversation someone else is having. Create a dialogue for it. Make it as funny or as crazy as you want. No one is reading your mind. It’ll act as a both a creative and entertaining brain break. It’ll get the synapses firing again.
Life is full of pain. Whether it’s of the body or the mind, we know pain is telling us something is wrong. Even at work, pain is a signal to change something. Keep that in mind the next time you’re feel uncomfortable or in pain at work.