So it may (or may not) have been on your radar, but last Friday was ‘wellbeing at work day’.
Most of us spend more time at work than at any other place. For this reason, it’s so important that we not only feel satisfied and fulfilled by the jobs we do, but that we can also take time out each day to stretch, move, re-set and fuel ourselves properly, to ensure that we are as productive as possible and that we can continue to work at a sustainable level.
The wellbeing committee at my office have been pretty proactive of late, raising awareness about the importance of health and happiness in the workplace, offing free massage and rieki sessions, still-life drawing classes, smoothies, recipes et cetera.
In the Victoria area more widely, Friday saw a variety free classes and events, including a lunchtime yoga session, which one of my colleagues suggested we attend. Four of us went along, ready for an hour of yoga in the piazza not far from Victoria station.
We left in good time to be sure to get a mat, however when we arrived it became apparent that this wouldn’t be the problem we’d anticipated, since we were the only ones there! Luckily a few more people trickled in as the start time approached and by midday there were a good few rows of us.
The class was more Pilates-meets-aerobics than yoga per se, and only lasted about 35 minutes, rather than the hour that was billed. Still, it was free and we did do some good mobility exercises, which could be done to counteract the ‘desk slouch’, focusing on posture and engaging the core muscles – all valuable to maintain symmetry and balance in your body.
It was fun, but we were slightly disappointed having geared up for an hour of yoga, so we resolved to head to the park for a further 20 minutes of yoga together before heading back to the office.
We all practice different kinds of yoga and have different strengths and weaknesses. It was good to workshop some poses with people directing you, offering tips and assistance. It was as a result of this ‘workshop’ that, after months of trying, some advice from Sandra saw me finally get my crow position! (I found when I lowered my head further but kept my gaze forward I found my balance).
As it was, although the yoga class wasn’t exactly what we’d anticipated we did all go back to the office feeling so much better, having been out in the fresh air and sunshine.
What this session demonstrated to me is that you don’t necessarily need to power round an 8k route in your lunch break to come back feeling refreshed. Just getting out, moving, laughing and doing a few sun salutations with some friends can also help to set you up for an afternoon at your desk.
Wellbeing at work definitely shouldn’t be the preserve of a special day; you should always find time to re-balance in the office. Just taking time to stretch out your limbs, get some fresh air, get up to refill your waterbottle and throw a bit of perspective on a project can make all the difference.
Like everyone, I tend to start early, work late and eat my lunch at my desk on most days, but I really find just taking ten minutes to get some natural light and computer-free time not only improves my mood significantly, but also improves my performance and makes me a better person to work with.