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10 Ways To Enjoy Summer Even When You’re In The Office

10 Ways To Enjoy Summer Even When You’re In The Office

“I remember counting days down ’til the year could be done / So I could scatter all my notebooks on the prep school lawn / And disappear again into a summer’s bliss…” –  from the song “Loose Leaves” by Bright Eyes

Okay, so you’re not a kid anymore. The months of June, July, and August no longer mean complete freedom. If anything, summer is even more depressing because you would much rather be outside enjoying the gorgeous weather than stuck inside an office with sub-par air conditioning. Just because you’ll never again enjoy summer the way you did when you were a kid, doesn’t mean you can’t make the best of it. Changing up your routine in even the slightest way can do wonders for your psyche.

If you’re stuck at work throughout the summer, but still want to make the best of it — you can. Here are some easy ways you can enjoy yourself more.

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1. Drink fruit-infused water

Okay, so you can’t drink margaritas at 10AM like you did in college anymore, but you probably shouldn’t even if you could. Enhance your plain old water throughout the summer by combining different fruits (and some vegetables) to create a flavorful drink that will keep you hydrated and healthy all day. Fill a fruit infuser with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and even cucumbers. Next up, fill it with water, and enjoy a summer-themed drink full of natural sugars that won’t leave you hitting the wall at two in the afternoon.

2. Make a summer playlist

You might not be 18 anymore, but hearing “Doin’ Time” by Sublime on a beautiful summer day will certainly make you feel like you are. I don’t mean you should turn the office into a rave or house party, but there’s nothing wrong with switching off the elevator music and turning on some Bob Marley during the dog days of summer. Check out Pandora or Spotify for some summer-themed playlists to put on while you’re getting through the mountain of paperwork on your desk.

3. Redecorate your workspace

Everyone can use a change in scenery every once in a while. If you’re tethered to your desk from 9-5, at least give yourself the pleasure of redecorating it a bit to fit the theme of summer. Get a small Zen garden, put pictures up of last year’s family vacation, and hang a map with possible destinations for this summer pinned. If you can’t be outside to enjoy the season, then bring the season to you.

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4. Brighten up your workspace

Don’t just redecorate your cubicle — make it brighter! Keep windows and blinds open to let some natural light in. If you’re not lucky enough to be close to a window, you can always bring in an extra lamp or two to make your office space not so dark and depressing. You’d be surprised how your mood can improve with an increase in lighting.

5. Take advantage of casual Fridays

If you want to feel like your still one of the boys of summer, you have to dress the part. Just like redecorating your workplace can have an effect on your mood, so can redecorating yourself. Wear light and looser-fitting clothing. Lighter-colored clothing will certainly make you feel as if you’re walking down the boardwalk (or at least like you’ll be heading there after 5:00 rolls around). As long as your dress code allows it, take your summer outfit to the extreme.

6. Pack summer foods for lunch

Some foods just taste better in the summer. Ditch the usual Chinese leftovers and spend some time the night before preparing a lunch that won’t bog you down for the rest of the day. Eating barbecue chicken, sweet corn, and a summer salad for lunch will certainly put you in a summer mood. So many fruits and vegetables are in season throughout the summer, so be sure to take advantage of them.

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7. Eat outside

Don’t just change your diet; change your eating habits altogether. Enjoying the summer sun on your half-hour lunch break will give you a bit of a reprieve from your dreary office environment. Spending time outside also has health benefits, from the fresh air to the vitamins your skin absorbs from the sun. Just try not to get any of that barbecue sauce on your nice new shirt.

8. Come in early and get your work done

We all know the days are much longer in the summer. That doesn’t necessarily mean we take advantage of these extra hours of sunlight. Start waking up a bit earlier, and get to the office before anyone else does. You’ll have some quiet time to get your priorities in order, and get a head start on your workload. Getting started earlier might even allow you to clock out early so you can get some extra daylight to enjoy in the evening.

9. Switch up your commute or routine

Doing things the same way, day in and day out is the most effective way to end up in a rut. The summer is no time to be stuck in a rut. If you start waking up earlier, you may have time to bike or walk to work, or at least explore the area around the office a bit more than you had before. You could also eat breakfast at a different diner or deli. Try taking a different route home than you usually do. Summer is a great time for change. Don’t stay stagnant during what should be the most active months of the year.

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10. Leave work at work

In today’s modern world, our 9-5 jobs tend to control our lives. Your boss can call you whenever he needs you. Emails pile up and will cause your phone to beep all night. Do something about it. When you’re not at work, turn your phone and computer off. Don’t answer emails, no matter how pressing they may seem. You might be stuck in an office for 40 hours a week throughout the best time of the year, but that still leaves you about 100 waking hours each week to enjoy yourself like you did when you were a kid.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm6.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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