The latest in workplace wellness
Use Rest to Enhance Your Work
This is the final post of a three-part series on the principles for achieving well-being and productivity while working on a computer.
Have you ever pulled an all-nighter? Maybe it was in college preparing for a final exam or perhaps it was more recently as you scrambled to finish a last-minute presentation or care for a sick child. The following morning can be brutal as your body struggles to chug along without the energy it needs to function at its best.
Rest is crucial at home and at the office. Movement in the workplace contributes to overall well-being, but it can’t be effective without this vital component. Rest at home may mean a quick power nap or a full eight hours of sleep, but at work, this translates to taking a brief break from your to-do list to recharge. Stepping away from your action items may seem counter-intuitive to productivity, but by taking a short rest, you’re giving your body a chance to recuperate, and that makes all the difference if you expect to move full steam ahead through the remainder of your work day.
A good rest-at-work formula consists of two- to three-minute mini-breaks every 30 minutes. Take a few deep breaths, blink your eyes and shake out your stiff muscles (a sign that your metabolism has slowed down). To rest your computer-weary eyes, practice the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look ahead 20 feet for 20 seconds. Computer screens and mobile devices can cause our eyes to blink less often, making them dry and itchy and our vision blurry. The light emitted from digital devices can also disrupt your sleep cycle, so limit screen time in the evening.
Along with mini-breaks, you’ll need to take longer, 15-minute breaks after two hours. Get away from your desk and try one of these rest-oriented activities:
- A drink of water refreshes your spirit and re-hydrates your body. For an extra lift, add a slice of lemon, berries or cucumber to your water bottle.
- Soak in the fresh air with a relaxing walk in or outside your office building. It only takes a few laps to up your metabolism and increase the flow of oxygen to your brain. Can’t find the time to fit in a walk? Schedule a walking meeting.
- Enjoy a healthy snack to nourish your body. Opt for fruits and veggies full of antioxidants coupled with protein-packed sides like peanut or almond butter. You can also try storing a few Greek yogurts or string cheese in the fridge for a boost of probiotics and calcium.
- Immerse yourself in a good book. Whether reading for pleasure or for professional development, you’ll stimulate your mind in a new way while still getting the short period of rest that you need.
- Plenty of online guides can help you get started with this enlightening and restful activity. Make sure you focus on deep, reinvigorating breathing, and shut your eyes to visually disconnect from the work ahead of you.
- Enroll in a yoga class or select a handful of basic yoga poses to focus on. Many employers offer onsite yoga classes that can teach you the basics and help you unwind. Within a few minutes, you will be able to relax your mind and cope with any stress while gaining energy, improving circulatory health and more.
Life is all about balance. To be your best self at work and at home, you need all three elements of posture, motion and rest woven throughout your day. Taking the time to focus on these foundational pieces will give you the tools to promote well-being and productivity that lasts.