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Want to Be Happier at Work? Do These 4 Things . . .

Josh Duvauchelle
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Most of us spend eight or more hours every day at work. On top of that, we waste the equivalent of an entire work week every year sitting in traffic on the way to and from the office.
 
All of this time can quickly eat into whatever space we’ve carved out for ourselves for our own health, self-care and wellness. Thankfully, we don’t need to be in an actual yoga studio to bring a yoga-inspired mindset to our office life.
 
These four easy tips can help transform your work day and leave you feeling healthier, happier and more enthusiastic about the time you spend on the job:
 

1. Get unstuck

The typical office worker sits for almost six hours every work day. A sedentary desk habit obviously increases our risks of unhealthy weight gain, but also high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more. We don’t need to take such health threats sitting down!
 
Set a traditional timer, or use an app on a smartphone, to remind yourself to get up and move every 45 minutes. Use that opportunity to take a jaunt around the office cubicles, say hello to a work colleague, or fetch documents at the printer.
 
Any seated yoga pose can also get blood flowing and your heart rate up from the comfort of your office chair without having to roll out a yoga mat. Examples for the upper body include seated spinal twists and forward bends. Lower body poses like chair pigeon can help target your legs and hips.
 
Take it one step further: Do 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups and 2 sun salutations (one at the beginning and one at the end) every hour. That would equal 90 push-ups, 90 sit-ups and 18 sun salutations every day. Do that and you’re guaranteed to be feeling better about yourself in no time.
 

2. Accept the challenge

Many of our great yoga gurus, such as Swami Kriyananda, taught us that every situation is beneficial, including hardships. Yet so much of our modern lifestyle attempts to eliminate every physical challenge possible. Embrace physical challenges to strengthen your inner resolve, as well as burn extra calories to combat a sedentary work life.
 
It might seem inconsequential, but take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Choose a parking stall further from the office door. All these extra steps improve our aerobic endurance, which benefits us in our yoga practice, and also quickly add up to meet the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise we need to stay healthy and fit.
 

 

3. Stay hydrated

Multiple studies have shown that even just a moderate amount of dehydration reduces our flexibility and physical endurance when we’re practicing yoga. In the office, dehydration increases our stress levels, which is never helpful on a busy work day. Staying hydrated can increase our energy and mental clarity, keeps our skin looking its best – especially in dry, climate-controlled offices – and helps us better flush toxins.
 
Aim to drink eight glasses of water a day, although there’s no hard and fast rule that works for every individual. Try to avoid coffee, but if you need a caffeine fix, consider green tea. This herbal beverage doesn’t just energize, but may also boost your metabolism.
 
Add some water to your routine: After you’re done doing your push-ups, sit-ups and sun salutations, make it a habit to drink a glass of water. At work it is easy to fall into a time-warp where hours go by without us checking in with ourselves. Setting a timer and adding water to your routine will help keep your hydrated throughout the day.
 

4. End your work day with meditation

When we’re on the yoga mat, deep breathing helps us feel more aligned with ourselves and with our divine purpose. While our office cubicle may feel less sacred and mindful than our favorite yoga studio, the benefits still ring true during our work week.
 
Researchers have found that yoga and end-of-day meditation combats work-related stress. Studies have also noted that meditation doesn’t just help us better cope with a stressful office; it can also fight workplace fatigue, minimize anxiety and improve our happiness and sleep quality when we get home.
 

In his book How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life, the Dalai Lama offers a helpful suggestion for those of us who feel too busy and need space to slow down.
 
“If you cannot stop worrying over something in the past or what might happen in the future, shift your focus to the inhalation and exhalation of your breath. Or recite this mantra: om mani padme hum. Since the mind cannot concentrate on two things simultaneously, either of these meditations causes the former worry to fade.”
 
Whatever your job, and no matter your coworkers or boss, lessons from the yoga room can keep us grounded in our own self-love and self-care.
 

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Josh Duvauchelle

Josh Duvauchelle is a spirit-conscious health coach and certified personal trainer with a nutrition certificate from Cornell. A commitment to a healthy lifestyle is a tool for spiritual growth, teaching us how to tap into our inner strength to uplift our approach to any challenge, both those inside and outside the gym.

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