What People are talking about physical wellbeing in the workplace?
'I've been experiencing some back and neck pain recently. I think it might be due to my chair or desk setup. Could we look into getting some ergonomic office furniture or have a professional assess our workspace?'
'I've read that sitting for long periods can be really bad for our health. Maybe we could consider offering standing desks or encouraging breaks to walk around and stretch? What do you think?'
'I've noticed that the air quality in the office isn’t great, and it sometimes makes it hard to breathe. Can we explore options to improve ventilation or bring in some air purifiers?'
'After staring at my computer screen all day, my eyes have been really strained. Could we consider screen filters or better lighting to reduce glare and eye discomfort?'
So what happened?
Your struggles find resonance in millions of workers across the globe today. So, be assured that you're not alone. The root of physical issues in the workplace often lies in the structural and cultural norms. In our drive for efficiency and productivity, employee well-being can sometimes be sidelined. Work environments are frequently optimized for space and resources, not always for human comfort and health. The long hours spent at desks or in front of computers foster a sedentary lifestyle, leading to various physical issues. The pressure to perform can also lead us to neglect our own needs, like taking breaks or stretching. It’s a systemic issue, requiring a shift in how we value employee well-being. Your health is integral to your performance and quality of life. You have the right to seek a healthier, more comfortable work environment. Your well-being matters immensely.
What can we do about it?
One powerful approach to address this issue is by listening to your body. Our bodies have a unique language; they communicate when they're in distress or when they need rest and care. Paying attention to these signals can be a crucial first step in enhancing your physical well-being.
The benefits of this practice are profound. It not only aids in immediate relief but also contributes to long-term health improvements. It fosters self-awareness, empowering you to take proactive steps to adjust your work habits and environment before minor discomforts escalate into serious issues. Listening to your body cultivates a harmonious balance between your work and health, promoting enhanced productivity, creativity, and overall well-being.
Incorporate small, yet significant, pauses into your day to assess how you’re feeling. Here are some body secrets and practical ways to practice this:
- Body Scan Meditation:
Secret: Dedicate a few minutes to focus on different parts of your body. Notice sensations, discomfort, or relaxation. This awareness can unveil underlying issues.
Action: Start from your toes, moving upwards, paying close attention to how each section feels.
- Journaling Physical Sensations:
Secret: Documenting your physical sensations can reveal patterns and triggers, offering insights into needed adjustments.
Action: Note any discomfort, tension, or relaxation at different times and situations throughout the workday.
- Intuitive Movement:
Secret: Your body often craves specific movements to release tension or energy.
Action: Pay attention to these urges. If you feel the need to stretch, walk, or change positions, honor that.
- Nutritional Intuition:
Secret: Your body’s cravings and aversions can signal nutritional needs or deficiencies.
Action: Observe how different foods affect your energy, mood, and physical comfort.
- Emotional Awareness:
Secret: Emotions are closely tied to physical sensations. Recognizing this link can uncover stressors affecting your physical well-being.
Action: When feeling physical discomfort, explore your emotional state to identify and address correlated emotional stress.
Remember, your health is an invaluable asset, and nurturing it daily is not just a personal gain but also an organizational advantage. You’re valued, and your well-being is a priority.
Can I read more about it somewhere?
One highly recommended book on the topic of tuning into and understanding your body's signals for overall well-being is 'The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma' by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
This book isn't specifically about the workplace but offers deep insights into how the body responds to stress and trauma and provides valuable information on how to listen to and interpret these signals. The author, a renowned trauma expert, explores innovative treatments and methods to heal, making it a valuable resource for anyone looking to understand and improve their physical and mental well-being.
1. Physical Manifestation of Stress and Trauma:
- The body stores stress and trauma, leading to physical symptoms. Listening to and addressing these symptoms is crucial for healing and overall well-being.
2. Body-Based Healing Approaches:
- Beyond traditional therapies, body-based practices like yoga and mindfulness can be highly effective in tuning into the body’s signals, processing, and releasing stored trauma.
3. Physical Awareness for Emotional Regulation:
- Developing an awareness of the body’s responses and sensations is key to managing emotions, stress, and trauma, leading to improved mental and physical health.
I don't get it.. Tell me more
You may face physical discomfort at work due to factors like prolonged sitting, inadequate workspace ergonomics, and workplace stress. In simple terms, the office environment and work pressures can sometimes make us ignore our body's signals of discomfort or stress. It's essential to pay attention to these signals to improve our well-being.
Ask yourself these key questions regularly:
- Am I comfortable in my chair and at my desk, or do I feel strain and discomfort?
- Do I take short breaks to stretch and move around to alleviate stiffness?
- How is my posture throughout the day, and can it be improved?
- Am I managing my eye strain effectively with regular breaks from the screen?
- How do I feel physically at the end of the workday, and what can I change to feel better?
These questions can guide you to make necessary adjustments for a healthier work experience.
Here’s what an ideal physically healthy work life looks like:
In an ideal physically healthy work life, you start your day feeling refreshed, having had a good night’s sleep. You have a balanced breakfast, fueling your body and mind for the day ahead. Your commute to work is stress-free, perhaps you walk or cycle, enjoying the fresh air and the gentle, awakening exercise.
Your workspace is ergonomically designed, with a comfortable chair and desk at the right height. You’ve personalized your space with plants and natural light, creating an environment that feels both productive and nurturing. Every hour, you take a short break to stretch or walk around, keeping your body active and your mind clear. Your eyes rest from the screen, following the 20-20-20 rule, reducing eye strain.
You listen to your body’s signals. If there’s discomfort, you adjust your posture or take a moment to relax. Lunch is a balanced meal, and you give yourself time to savor it, stepping away from your desk to change the scenery and recharge.
You feel energized and focused throughout the day, managing tasks efficiently. Stress is manageable, as you’ve mastered the art of taking deep breaths and short breaks to realign. After work, there’s time for relaxation and hobbies. You feel a harmonious balance between your professional and personal life, and your body feels strong, agile, and well-cared-for.