Let’s face it, your workday looks a lot different than it used to. And while working from home can be great, it can also prove very hard on our mental and physical wellbeing. We’re working for longer periods of time and the workday feels less defined. We’re sitting for long stretches of time and often the furthest we walk on our break is to the kitchen. Maybe you even eat lunch at your desk, putting you right back into that same chair, staring at a screen, perhaps with less than ideal posture while you’re at it. There are countless articles available explaining the risks of a sedentary lifestyle: cardiovascular disease, sluggish digestion, cancer, depression and anxiety, just to name a few. There are plenty of resources available that argue sitting is bad for you — I even found a few “sitting is the new smoking” takes.
Your body will adapt to the stresses you give it, so it’s not really sitting that’s to blame. The body responds to force — when we add variety to our day, our body learns to do more, in more situations. By sitting all day, we eventually reinforce bad habits in the body. Perhaps leading to the risks above but it also causes us to feel less healthy.
Does your back hurt? Do your legs or hips feel tight? How about your neck and shoulders? Does your mind feel cloudy? Do you feel overwhelmed? I could go on and on and I’m sure you could too. Luckily, there is a simple (I won’t say easy) solution to breaking bad habits — building good habits! An excellent one you can add to your day is a yoga break. Stand up, leave your work zone, move your body, breathe, clear your head and decompress. All of these things can and will greatly improve your quality of life day to day and over a lifetime as the benefits add up!
Now, does the word “yoga” make you want to stop reading? If so, hold tight! If not, maybe you are already in the habit of using yoga as your movement tool, or aspire to, and that’s great. Consider creating a practice space that’ll draw you to your mat. Do you love your mat? That could help. Leave it unrolled so you are more drawn to it. Add a notebook to write down your thoughts or a book of mindfulness quotes. Remember, any amount of time on your mat is great. There’s no need to feel you can’t practice yoga because you don’t have an hour to take that Zoom class. Start with 10 minutes!
Okay, say yoga isn’t your thing. Can we call it movement? Stretching? Postures? Sure! Call it anything you want and focus more on the benefits you’ll experience, such as:
• Improved strength, balance, flexibility and mobility
• Relief from neck, shoulder and back pain
• Better heart health
• Increased energy, focus and memory function
• Relief from stress and anxiety
You can start with: “What do I need today?” And then take time to move in a way that directly serves you in that moment. Another component of physical practice is breathing. Taking time to lengthen your breath (on exhales especially) has tremendous benefits. It reduces stress by calming your nervous system, increases alertness and mindfulness, reduces hypertension and can even boost immunity. Commit to taking a break! Move and breathe — you’ll love the way you feel.
Here are a few movements to get your started:
Visit one of these Staples stores to shop our selection of yoga props and mats to get you started!
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