I’ve now been in my new job for two months. I’m loving it – I’m finding the office environment stimulating and energising in a way that made me realise working from home was possibly becoming slightly lonely and depleting, and knowing that I’m being paid for my time has really soothed my anxiety about working hours vs income. But, wowzers, the first few weeks were a huge culture shock in realising how little people MOVE in an office environment. It’s built into accepted normal culture to sit on our bums a bit too much for my liking. More worrying still, after two months my body is more used to it and feeling less like a caged bird, so this means I have to work harder to keep up my physical and mental energising routine. Modern adults spend as much as 70% of our time sitting. 70%! Sitting too much is as bad for you as smoking, folks. So, this is what’s in my energising office toolkit:
MOVE every 45-60 minutes. I know this sounds like quite a lot. But humans were not designed to sit. We were designed to run, climb, reach, jump, hang, hop, crawl, shimmy – we were NOT designed to sit on our bums for hours on end. No wonder so much of the population suffers from back pain and neck strain! And no wonder you feel shattered and depleted, your tissue and blood supply has been sat on, literally. Sitting at a desk without moving is a bit like leaving your bike outside your house unused for years on end without oiling its chain or tending to its tyres, and then being surprised when it gets a puncture as soon as you try to fire it up. I go to the loos and do some yoga moves: a downward dog against the wall (which is one of my exercises in my forthcoming book Postnatal Pilates), some spinal twists, some goddess poses if I’m feeling particularly tired (hello, 4pm slump!). And some Pilates: roll downs and side reaches. I can do this surrepticiously reaching for a book or squatting down to look at something on a low shelf. I also do a lot of Pilates at my desk, I was a bit shy at first that people might think I was a weirdo but now I’m unashamedly tending to my body before it starts grumbling at me. And you know what: it not only boosts my circulation and helps my body avoid aches and pains: it also makes me feel more energised and alive, and boosts my creativity. The key is to MOVE MORE whatever it is that you do, build up a lot of movement snacks throughout the day.
My posture when sitting: I always sit upright on my sit bones – I know, I can’t help it, I’m a Pilates teacher, good posture is kind of built into my psyche. I feel SO WEIRD if I slump in my seat. But I’ve realised that the average person slumps because it’s comfortable, that’s how desk chairs are designed, and, well, why not? It’s (marginally) better for your back, that’s why not. It helps your circulation and muscle balance if you – in sitting which is already not great for you so please move around a bit more rather than sit for hours on end – at least sit with better awareness of your body and posture. And while you’re at it: do your pelvic floor exercises regularly as you might as well, given that you’re a captive audience already sitting there with good postural balance.
Drink water. Hydrate hydrate hydrate. I’ve been guilty of drinking too much tea…perhaps the novelty of drinking a hot cup of tea has made me giddy. Please drink water, you wonderfully creative pot plant you. Dehydration is linked to brain fog and your lack of inspiration or indecisiveness could be helped with a wander around the office and a large glass of water.
Scent for wellbeing. I’ve always been such a fan of scent for uplift and revival. I’ve got a veritable smorgasbord of products within reach on my desk, and my faves are the Neom Organics Energy Burst Fragrance which I spritz on and it immediately makes me feel uplifted and energised