It’s a situation that most of us are probably all too familiar with – you sit down to start the day, and before you know it, you look over at the clock and realize you’ve been glued to your desk for the last several hours. Suddenly, you feel the effects of remaining stagnant and busy so long: eyes sore from the computer screen, legs beginning to fall asleep, brain becoming a little dull. How did that happen? Where did the time go? The sad truth is that it can be too easy to get so wrapped up in the day-to-day that we forget to set aside a little time to look after our mental and physical well-being.
All it takes is five minutes. Just once an hour, stand up and push your chair away. Get your eyes away from the glare of the screen to let them rest and give your head a break from the strain – it will thank you for the reprieve. Stretch your legs and shake out the muscles to get some blood flow back. Even if all you can manage at the moment is to walk to the other side of the office to refresh your coffee cup, what matters is that you take some time to get up and move.
Just as easy to look after is one’s mental health. Sadly, this is an often neglected area of focus, treated as more of an afterthought despite its importance. But there are numerous small ways to keep mental health and happiness in check. Something as simple as taking time to speak with coworkers about hobbies and more mundane, everyday things while up for a stretch can provide a welcome short-term mental vacation – and I’m sure they would welcome the conversation and the chance for a brief reprieve just as much. Another good strategy is to take advantage of meal breaks to escape the desk for longer periods of time. This is a great way to take in a change of atmosphere in the middle of the day (especially with spring waiting right around the corner!), helping our minds to recharge and refresh.
Personalizing one’s workspace can have surprising benefits as well. It’s no secret that there are few things more mentally draining than being surrounded by monotone gray walls for hours on end, day after day. Putting your personal touch on your workspace – whether it be photos of friends and family, decorative accessories, or even a small collection of fun and unique desk toys brightens things up and truly makes the space your own. Your brain will recognize the difference, and will thank you for it.
It’s little habits and small details like this which add up in a big way to creative a personal, positive environment for oneself.