A healthy working environment plays an important role in ensuring that we have a healthy mental and physical well-being. Often, we tend to neglect our well-being especially when we are tied down by the heavy workload. In order to help, here are some tips on how you can work hard and work smart this 2020.
We all know that most Singaporeans are a part of a workaholic corporate culture.
Recent statistics shown by Ministry of Manpower reveal that each employee in Singapore has worked for a total number of 44.8 hours per week, which is equivalent to working for an estimated 9 hours per day, excluding overtime hours.
With the long and stressful hours in the office, it is important to create the right type of working environment to promote both mental and physical well-being. Here are some tips for you to work hard and work smart this year.
Desk exercises to stretch out those kinks
Due to the sedentary nature of a typical corporate job, it is common for us to experience aches and pains in different parts of our body, such as our neck, shoulder and lower back. In order to allow our body to feel better at the end of the day, is important for us to move around and stay active even at our desks with these simple desk exercises:
1. Neck Stretch
Sit straight on a chair with both of your foot being flat on the floor. Bring your chin towards your chest and draw circles with your head for a couple of times clockwise. Repeat the stretch in an anti-clockwise direction.
Alternatively, you can carry out this stretch by tilting your head to the right, drawing your right ear towards the right shoulder. Intensify the stretch by placing your right hand just above your left ear. Gently apply pressure with your hand on your head and breathe through 6-8 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
This neck stretch helps in relieving tension in your neck and shoulders after staying long hours desk-bound.
2. Seated Cat/Cow Stretch
Sit up straight on a chair and ensure that it has a safe and comfortable distance away from your desk. Keep your feet hip width distance apart and place it firmly on the floor. Rest your hands on your thighs above knees and inhale to lift your ribs and chest, looking to wherever is comfortable. Pull your shoulders back, arching back and exhale to draw chin and chest inwards, rounding your shoulders and back. Work through 8 to 12 breaths.
This stretch promotes spinal mobility and flexibility and allows you to stretch out the front of your torso, chest, shoulders and neck, helping you maintain better posture and curb the unhealthy habit of hunching over your work-desk.
3. Lunge with Side Bend
Stand beside your desk or a stationary chair for support as you keep your feet hip width distance apart, stepping the outside leg back so that your front knee can form a right angle. Inhale as you lift your chest and arm (same side as back leg), keeping your hips and shoulders square to where you are facing. Exhale to lower groin and lean to the side. Take 8 to 10 breaths in pose and repeat on the other side.
As you sit down for long hours, it can cause your leg, thigh and hip muscles to become shorter and tighter, resulting in pain. Thus, by carrying out this hip-opening exercise, it helps in reducing tension and allows you to stretch out your groin, legs, arms and sides.
4. Standing Pigeon
Stand close to your desk, ensuring that you have enough space to move or reach for support when needed. Cross your ankle on top of the opposite thigh, making a figure of 4 with your top leg, keeping your foot flexed. Control the intensity of your stretch by lowering your hips towards the floor and think about pointing your top knee towards the floor.
Include a stretch in your hamstring by tipping forward to come into a half fold (hands laying on the table) or a full forward fold, keeping your knee soft in the standing leg. Take 8 to 10 breaths in pose and slowly exit as you guide your ankle back to the floor. Repeat this exercise on the other side.
This exercise is the perfect outer hip and glutes stretch, providing the best relief for you after a long day at your desk by releasing your lower back tension.
On the other hand, if you prefer doing a seated pigeon sit up straight on a chair and move towards the edge of the seat, allowing your feet to touch the floor entirely. At the same time, keep your hip width distance apart and cross your right ankle on top of your left thigh further down to create a little more space through the hip.
However, be kind to your body and be cautious of how your knee is feeling! Take 8 to 10 breaths in this pose and slowly exit by guiding your ankle back to the floor. Repeat this exercise on the other side.
5. Seated Spinal Twist
Sit up straight on a chair with both of your feet being flat on the floor. Bring your right arm across your body towards the outside of your left thigh and inhale to lengthen the torso. Exhale to twist and hold the pose for 8 to 12 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
This bendy, twisty exercise is especially useful in alleviating an achy back as well as relieving tension on your neck and lower back. What’s more, it promotes digestion too!
Team Bonding Activities
Effective communication is essential in order to achieve success as a team. We all benefit when we work well together and this is when team spirit comes into play.
Go from work to workout and strengthen your team spirit the fun and exciting way when you sign up as a team for The Corporate Games by Fitness First. Support one another through the obstacles to battle for victory against other corporate teams and earn bragging rights.
Healthy Snacks for Work
That hunger pang might hit you right after lunch and it can be difficult to resist the urge to reach for a snack. Why snack less when you can snack it right?
According to Channel News Asia, by replacing low-nutrient snacks at your desk with whole grain crackers, fresh fruits and low-fat yogurt, we are more likely to reach for a healthier snack when hunger strikes. Put aside the potato chips and replace it with something as crunchy yet healthier!
Take A Break When You Need To
Singaporeans tend to feel guilty when they take a break after working for long hours. Does it sounds familiar to you? A new survey published by TODAYonline has also shown that an estimated number of 600 respondents feel stressed at the prospect of doing nothing, while 3 in 10 admitted they simply do not know how to relax.
It is important to know that your mental health matters as much as your physical health. Give this Deep Breathing Practice from Health Hub a try to help you cope with the overwhelming stress you face from work.
1. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just above your belly button.
2. Take a deep breath slowly through your nose for 5 counts, feel your stomach rise.
3. Breathe out slowly for 5 counts, breathe out fully.
4. Repeat until you feel relaxed.
Less Distractions For Better Work Productivity
Last but not least, one effective way to improve on your work productivity is to remove distractions from your working desk. Even simple thing like tidy up your desk matters!
We all have long cables connected to our desktop, mouse and other electronic devices on our desk. Business Insider Singapore reviewed that these long and messy cables on our desk can be distracting as it gets in our way while we work.
Hence, it is recommended that we replace these cables that get in our way or clip them to the side. Alternatively, cord holders, cord clips, binder clips, and Velcro straps are great ways to bind the cables together.
Flush out those poor habits and take time to foster a healthy workplace for yourself today. It will definitely boost your mood and increase your productivity so that you are all fit for work every day.
• Ministry Of Manpower. (2019). Summary Table: Hours Worked. [online] Stats.mom.gov.sg. Available at: https://stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Hours-Worked-Summary-Table.aspx [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020].
• Jolyn Johal, N. (2019). Commentary: Planning to eat at your office desk again? Here’s why you should have a proper meal. [online] CNA. Available at: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/weight-gain-work-no-time-to-eat-hacks-take-away-lunch-11594462?_sm_au_=iVVR5JDPPRWWHQRrNBWNjK7CNLWCF [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020].
• Lauren Ong. (2020). Some Singaporeans feel guilty taking breaks, stressed about doing nothing: Survey. [online] TODAYonline. Available at: https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/study-finds-singaporeans-feel-guilty-taking-breaks-experts-say-even-short-break-can-help?_sm_au_=iVVR5JDPPRWWHQRrNBWNjK7CNLWCF [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020].
• Health Hub. (2019). 7 Easy tips For Better Mental Wellbeing. [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/891/mental-wellbeing [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020].
• Premack, R. (2018). 17 ways to hack your workspace for optimal productivity. [online] Business Insider Singapore. Available at: https://www.businessinsider.sg/desk-workspace-designs-increase-productivity-2018-5/ [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020].