Feel Alive in Five!
Posted by Erica Kulesza / February 4
With holiday breaks long forgotten, late nights and early mornings spent on new client pitches, and Valentine’s Day candy loitering around the office, it can be easy to succumb to the sleepy, sluggishness of winter. However, we all know that when we feel better, we do better: we’re better managers, we’re more creative and we bring positive energy to the space around us.
As a part-time fitness instructor, here are five easy fixes to help you feel more alive, even while you’re clocking serious, stressful hours at the office. It’s time to put your health back on your to-do list, even if you can only squeeze in 10 minutes a day!
Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey once wrote, “Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.” Ten minutes a day can help you sleep better, be in a better mood and boost your brain power.
Try to squeeze it in before the work day starts, before the excuses pile up. Wake up 15 minutes earlier and take a walk. Run up and down the stairs a few times or sneak in squats and push-ups while you’re completing your morning routine.
If that’s impossible, take a 10 minute walk at lunch or before you leave for the day. Put it into your daily calendar. Take the stairs. Walk over to your colleagues’ desks instead of emailing people in the same building. Just move it!
Eat, but eat well. Fuel your body and brain with healthy food so your body isn’t overtaxed trying to process chemicals. Try to avoid packaged goods and have fun adding all the colors of the rainbow into your day through natural food choices. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, a healthy diet is associated with a lower incidence of chronic depression and anxiety disorders than a typical "Western" diet high in sugar, processed foods and alcohol. Step away from the pizza and step towards the bushel of apples.
Brain tissue is 85% water. When we get dehydrated, the level of energy generation in the brain is decreased. DorchesterHealth.org lists depression and chronic fatigue syndrome as two results of dehydration. Crank up the power of your water and immune system by squeezing a fresh lemon into it for a low-calorie, super sipper.
Sleep helps your brain work properly. Studies by The National Institute of Health show that a good night's sleep improves learning and strengthens problem-solving skills: sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative. Resist the urge to watch that last TV show of the night or play that final game of Words with Friends and hop into bed a little earlier…you’ll be better at work for it the next day!
Kenny Rogers’ advice still rings true: “Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” If you’ve been staring at your computer trying to develop a new program to no avail or you find yourself surfing the internet, leave and come back once you’ve gotten some rest, had some water, done a bit of exercise and snacked on an apple. Your colleagues and clients will thank you for it!