Working Women

Strike that work-life balance

We are all trying to achieve a work-life balance, juggling careers with family, friends and hobbies. But how much balance do you strike between the hours of nine to five?

If eating your lunch at your desk while furiously trying to type up a document between bites is a regular occurrence for you, then perhaps it’s time to break a few bad habits.

Naazneen Khan, wellness manager at Nestlé South Africa, said that changing your routine in a few simple ways can have a hugely beneficial impact on your energy levels at work and your ability to manage stress.

“We’re all guilty of thinking that we cannot afford to take time out of the day to go for a short walk, enjoy a cup of tea in the office garden or enjoy a lunch break away from our desks, but once you realise how much more creative and productive a refreshed mind is, you might think twice about not wanting to leave your workstation,” said Khan.

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Here are some of Khan’s top tips to squeeze in some exercise at the workplace and let your increased serotonin levels absorb some of those little stresses that pop up in your inbox:

* Taking about 10 000 steps a day, about an hour and 40 minutes, is enough to boost your energy and lower your risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease and stroke. Start those 10 000 steps by parking your car further away from the office, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and deliberately using a bathroom on another floor.

* Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. This will strengthen your abs and back and you’ll work on your posture without even trying.

* Set an alarm to go off every hour to remind you to stand up and move around. Even if you just swing your arms or take a deep breath, you’ll feel more alert.

* Deliver documents or messages to co-workers in person rather than by email or phone.

* Walk to the mall for lunch or park your car on the opposite end of the food court. Get a headset for your phone so you can move around while you talk.

Does your company encourage workplace wellness? Here are some suggestions you and your colleagues can make:

* Work with local gyms to provide membership discounts for employees.

* Organise office-wide yoga, Pilates, aerobics and cardio workouts.

* Encourage staff members to participate in weekend charity walks. This will instil a walking culture in your workplace in no time.

* Set up short walks during lunch whenever your deadlines allow for it. Before you know it, you’ll have a few colleagues joining you for a quick power-walking session.

* If your company has a small garden or outdoor area, set up outdoor meetings and brainstorm sessions and enjoy the benefits of fresh air and sunshine.

“Eating a healthy lunch full of the right nutrients goes a long way, and remember that adding short sessions of exercise throughout the day will help you burn more calories and also reduce stress,” added Khan.



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