By Jeni Ross, Administrative Professional
The concept of wellness has been a very hot topic of discussion lately. Not just within our workplace at Number TEN but expanding through workplaces and homes globally given the current situation. If wellness was not something that you incorporated into your routine prior to social distancing and isolation life, it is most certainly something that you have likely begun to incorporate now during this global pandemic.
Even before we began living this “new normal,” wellness was something that Number TEN took very seriously, housing a committee of individuals who were committed to bringing health and wellness into the workplace on a regular basis. Every month, the Wellness Committee would meet to collectively brainstorm new ideas of ways in which the office could invite a little bit of self-care into their day. This included events such as “Massage day,” where a registered massage therapist was hired for the day to provide 15 minutes of therapeutic massage for any staff who were interested, hosting a presentation on wrist-health over a lunch-hour, and a day devoted to random acts of kindness done in secret, just to brighten someone’s day. These monthly events are incredibly helpful for staff morale, but that is not all we do at Number TEN. We also make sure that movement itself is incorporated into our environment with a street hockey team, a baseball team, and some staff even take advantage of our basement gym as often as they can. Number TEN also hosts weekly yoga classes that are instructed by me to offer movement, meditation, and relaxation during what are usually very busy workweeks.
During this pandemic, with most of the staff working from home, we have had to find new ways to incorporate health and wellness into our days. When you think about how much movement we normally have in our office daily, it has truly been reduced significantly while we transitioned to working from home. While working at the office, many of us commuted to and from work by Winnipeg Transit, cycling, or walking (or for the adventurous – running!). While working from home, we are likely just commuting from our bed to our workstation.
There are also many little trips we take within the office, such as trips up and down the stairs of our third floor office, walking over to a colleague’s desk to ask a question, and especially the frequent trips to retrieve between 1 and 10 cups of coffee (some of us REALLY like our coffee). When you factor in the reduction of these trips, you really do notice how little movement we have at home in comparison to an office environment.
While working from home, it can be easy to let an entire day pass without getting up and incorporating some movement. What is worse is that some of us do not have desks at home to work from and are utilizing spaces that are likely not ergonomically correct for our bodies, such as dining room tables or couches and coffee tables. Therefore, it is extra crucial that we make time for movement. We must be actively mindful of allowing ourselves the opportunity to get up once an hour to stretch and move around a little bit to maintain our physical and mental health.
One way that I have ensured movement during my workday is by continuing my yoga practice at home while yoga studios are closed, and I can no longer guide Number TEN friends in the office. As someone who commutes by bus, one bonus of working from home for me is the time shaved off from my commute to allow me extra time for a home practice in my day. While I’ve been working from home, I’ve been devoting my lunch-hour to a one hour practice, and once my work day is over, I add another practice after to allow my body to recover from sitting at my round dining room table all day. Our bodies are not meant to sit in a chair, essentially bending our bodies in half, and because of this, we tend to be very tight in the hips. Not to mention the fact that most of us have a hard time sitting up completely straight and demonstrating good posture. Yoga is a beneficial way to help correct those issues, as well as many more. I find this is not only necessary for my physical health, but I find the meditation aspects of yoga beneficial for my mental health as well, allowing me to take time for myself and focus on my breathing and my connection to my own body.
If yoga is not your jam, there are plenty of other ways you can incorporate wellness into your workday. Maybe this is your chance to spend more time outside with your dog as it gets warmer out. Maybe you have been wanting to take up jogging outside but have been deterred by the weather. It is finally spring – now’s your chance to try! Perhaps you take a few moments each hour to water plants or check on your garden. This is also a great time to try a new class – possibly a dance class, barre, or Zumba. There are tons of options of free online classes at our fingertips right now that we can try over our lunch-hour to invite a little more wellness into our day, and feel just as at home in our bodies as we ever have been. It is important to keep in mind, however, that if we feel overwhelmed by the circumstances of this global pandemic, and your version of self-care is to rest, that is okay too. Most importantly, we need to listen to our bodies and not force ourselves to do anything that will overwhelm us in this time.
Jeni is an administrative professional at Number TEN Architectural Group