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15 Simple And Quick Office Stretches To Boost Work Efficiency

15 Simple And Quick Office Stretches To Boost Work Efficiency

If you work in an office, the chances are you’re spending a minimum of 8 hours sitting down – that’s 40 hours a week.

I mean, think about it. You might drive to work, sit down at your desk for at least 6 hours at work, drive home, and sit down to watch TV or read a book. Am I right?

And if you think that’s without it’s health risks, you’d be seriously mistaken. So next time you’re feeling a bit fidgety or you’re on your lunch break, try these 15 office stretching exercises. They’re simple, quick AND they’ll give you that energetic boost you need to increase your productivity – it’s a win-win situation!

1. Neck & Shoulders

Office Shoulder Stretch

    Hunching over your desk can strain the cervical spine and stiffen our shoulders. Try reaching your arms behind you, interlocking your fingers and lifting you arms. You should feel this stretch in your chest and shoulders.

    2. ‘Cow’ & ‘Cat’ Pose

    Cow and Cat Yoga Pose

      This is a yoga pose which aligns your spine and helps to improve extension and flexion in your back. Start on all fours (if you can find an empty space) and switch between arching your back like a cat and lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling.

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      3. Back of the Legs

      Office Leg Stretch

        If you don’t sit properly (and let’s be honest a lot of use don’t) you could be reducing the ability for blood to circulate properly, especially in your legs. Remaining seated, extend your legs and reach down towards your toes.

        4. Overhead Stretch

        Office Stretch

          This one should be easy, as it’s a natural stretch that we all do when we’re feeling a bit stiff and tired. Simply raise your arms above your head, interlock your fingers and push away from yourself. Feeling better yet?

          5. Wrist Stretch

          wriststretchdesk

            This one’s for those of you who spend all day typing! Simply stand up and place your wrists on the desk so they face away from you, and apply pressure until you feel the stretch. Hold for a few seconds, and then follow with some wrist circles.

            6. Thighs, Flexibility & Balance

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            xblack_dress_pant_yoga_pants_9.jpg.pagespeed.ic._TZX6z7B9x

              When you spend all day sitting down, you lose a lot of your mobility and balance. Using the desk for support, stand up and raise your leg behind you, grabbing hold of the ankle (or your shin if you cant quite reach). Lift the leg as high as you can keeping your knee bent at a right angle. Hold for a few seconds then repeat on the other leg.

              7. Single Leg Squat

              Single Leg Squat

                Start by standing tall on one leg with your other leg extended out in front of you. Slowly lower yourself into a seated squat position. Repeat and remember to swap sides!

                8. Low Lunges

                Low Lunge

                  You should feel this one in the front of your hip. Start on your knees, then bring one of your legs forward so your knee is at a right angle. Stretch your other leg back with your shin (or knee) on the floor, then lean forwards ever so slightly to feel the stretch (if you don’t already!).

                  9. Stress Ball Squeeze

                  Stress ball squeeze

                    An oldie, but a good way to improve productivity (and bust stress!). It’s also a good way to get movability your hands and forearms.

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                    10. Eagle Arm Twist

                    Office Back Stretches

                      Stay seated and extend your arms in front of you at shoulder level. Cross your right arm over your left, raise your forearms and twist your palms inwards. Hold, and then repeat with your left arm over your right.

                      11. Forward Bend

                      Forward bend

                        Stand several feet behind your chair. Raise both arms overheard and ‘hinge’ forward from your hips, keeping your back straight. Hold on to the back of the chair to keep steady for a few second, then rise back up to stand straight.

                        12. Standing Leg Raises

                        Leg Raise

                          Start by holding onto the back of your chair (be careful if it has wheels!). Lean forward slightly and stick your butt out and hold your tummy in while kicking alternate legs towards the ceiling and lowering back down again with control. This will not only help to strengthen the leg muscles (which waste away when sitting), but also help lengthen the back.

                          13. Seated Hip Stretch

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                          seated hip stretch

                            Sit towards the middle of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place one ankle on the opposite knee and sit tall. Maintaining a straight back, tilt forward at the waist until you feel the stretch.

                            14. Spinal Twist

                            Seated Twist

                              Keeping seated with your knees in line with one another, place your left hand on your right knee and twist your entire upper body to the right, looking behind your shoulder. Hold, then twist back and repeat on the other side. This keeps your spine flexible.

                              15. …Now You’re a Pro Do This!

                              Office Yoga

                                It’s okay, you don’t really have to do this – and quite frankly I don’t even know how that’s humanly possible! It does look impressive though…

                                Featured photo credit: Alisa Matthews via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on November 15, 2019

                                How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                                How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                                Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

                                However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

                                Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

                                Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

                                Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

                                What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

                                To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

                                The Biology

                                Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

                                Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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                                The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

                                A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

                                Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

                                So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

                                Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

                                Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

                                Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

                                Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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                                The Psychology

                                Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

                                Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

                                Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

                                Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

                                What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

                                Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

                                Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

                                1. Identify Your Habits

                                As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

                                2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

                                Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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                                It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

                                3. Apply Logic

                                You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

                                Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

                                4. Choose an Alternative

                                As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

                                Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

                                5. Remove Triggers

                                Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

                                Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

                                6. Visualize Change

                                Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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                                For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

                                7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

                                Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

                                Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

                                Final Thoughts

                                Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

                                Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

                                More About Changing Habits

                                Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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