5 Tips for Wellbeing at Work for International Yoga Day
Looking after yourself at work is key, whether you are working from home or in the office our wellbeing, desk posture and routine aren’t always the first things we think of on a daily basis.
In celebration of International Yoga Day, Alyssa, our Marketing Manager at PPS who is a fully qualified yoga teacher outside of her role has shared 5 wellbeing tips that you can easily apply to your every day, effectively.
Firstly, a few tips that you’ve probably heard before but this is your reminder to put them into action to support your day-to-day wellbeing.
1. Drink Water
It’s the oldest trick in the book but hydration is key. From improving mood and concentration to helping you sleep better, water is a vital ingredient with so many benefits. We often forget to drink or know we don’t drink enough water and so there are many ways to remind yourself to have a regular slurp of the good stuff, including a
2. Desk Setup
The place you sit to work for nearly 2,000 hours a year, so it is integral your setup is the best it can be. Just like plumping your pillows and finding the right mattress to sleep on, your chair, desk and screen setup all need refining. In most offices, traditionally it is part of your HR or People & Culture to run audits on your desk setup. Even with a move to remote working, they should be able to guide and assist you with adjusting your workspace to be right for you. This includes screen height to fit eye line and chair height, so ask them for advice and guidance.
3. Take breaks
It may seem like a challenge when we are in the midst of a busy day but taking breaks away from your desk is so great for your mindset and wellbeing. Perhaps taking a walk or just stepping away from your computer to give your eyes a break, legs a stretch and realign your spine.
4. Make your environment the best it can be
Environment plays a powerful influence on our mindset. For example, working in natural light and having access to fresh air is better for your wellbeing but also your health. Adding in sensory benefits where you can, can also boost your mood such as plants and maybe an essential oil diffuser where possible.
5. Movement & Desk Yoga
Now for the fun bit, yoga! Desk yoga is a simple yet effective way to move your body and work on your mobility to support your wellbeing whilst at work. All of these stretches can be done whilst sitting in your desk chair and no fancy equipment is needed. Each stretch should be held for around 8 seconds, or longer if feels good to do so but ensure your feet are in a neutral position, touching the floor with no legs crossed or footrest.
Head down neck & chin lifts
First drop your chin to your chest, then interlace your fingers and place hands behind your head, dropping your elbows down. Be mindful that you aren’t pulling your head down but merely using the weight of your arms to elongate the stretch. If this is too much, just remove your hands and keep your head where it is. Next, keep your fingers interlaced behind your head, lift your chin and open your elbows, looking upwards. You should feel a gentle stretch in your shoulders and down the front of your neck from your chin. Try to breathe normally and let your shoulders relax away from your ears.
Side to side neck
Releasing the interlace of your fingers, dropping your arms naturally by your sides. Drop your right ear towards your right shoulder, feeling the stretch down the left side of your neck. To intensify you can take your right hand over the top of your head, again not pulling down but using the weight of your arm to elongate the stretch. Release the hand, lifting the head to a neutral position before repeating on the other side.
Side to side body
Start by dropping your right arm, letting it hang naturally, ideally not leaning on anything but you can use this arm to support you if you need. Lift your left arm straight to the side, then start to lean over to your right, feeling the long stretch down the left side of your body. Try to not let the left shoulder collapse down or forwards, keeping a long posture. Repeat on the other side.
Moving forwards to the edge of your seat to allow extra room and that your feet are firmly on the floor. Start by actively twisting, engaging your abdominal muscles, the sensation of drawing your belly button to your spin and twisting towards your right. From here, you can take your right hand and place it either behind you on your set or on the backrest, allowing the head and neck to move to where feels comfortable. To return, allow the head to neutralise first, unravelling the spine back to centre and facing forwards. Repeat on the other side, ensuring that your breathing is steady and normal throughout. Engaging the core and actively twisting first ensures you aren’t dumping weight and tension into the lower back.
Back Arch & Round
Remaining further forwards on your seat, swim your arms behind you and interlace your fingers behind your back. If this is too tight on your shoulders, perhaps think of using a belt, tie or piece of clothing between your hands to allow for extra space. Send your shoulders backwards and your chest forwards, breathing normally as your stretch into your shoulders and front body, allowing your head to lift if that feels comfortable.
Return your spine to neutral, releasing the interlace, swim your arms in front of you, re-interlacing your fingers, with your palms facing you. Scoop your stomach and front body as your press your hands away from you, rounding your back. Again, allowing the head to move where feels natural, maybe dropping the chin.
These desk yoga stretches are perfect for little and often or part of your daily routine. Just remember to never push through any pain and to practice safely, always being mindful of your body and surroundings. Start small and gentle, working your way up to more intense iterations of these stretches.
We hope you enjoy applying these easy and accessible tools and tips to your everyday.