How to bring wellness into your workspace
The main star of any office is the desk and chair combo. However, as I have continued down my wellness journey I have found those two tools limiting. Part of my wellness journey has been undoing the effects of sitting in the same position for too long. Most of my corporate hours have been spent in a chair, legs at a 90 degree angle, day in and out. So, naturally I wanted to avoid static postures in my workspace while still having everything I needed to be productive. I needed to bring wellness into the office.
Even though my business is wellness there are still administrative tasks both professionally and personally that require an office space. Over the last couple of years I have started changing how I work while in the office. I now try to find creative ways to move more while working. Through this journey I have collected some tools that have helped me to do just that and I wanted to share them with you!
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Massage Ball: I love to keep a massage or lacrosse ball in my office so I can roll out my feet. Rolling out the feet not only helps with soreness but also energizes the feet by providing information to proprioceptors (sensors in the body). These sensors help feed information to the brain on body position and movement. When we wear "normal" shoes, these sensors are turned off and our feet start to sleep on the job which can affect stability and balance. Rolling out the feet also helps to relieve tension in places other than the feet such as the calfs, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Check out a great roll out routine here. You can purchase your own here: https://amzn.to/3JSqKzg
Half Dome: A more recent addition to my office is the half dome. The half dome is a helpful tool for stretching out the calves as well working ankle dorsiflexion (toes up towards the shin). Think walking uphill or stepping on something on the ground such as a rock or even a crack. When heels are worn often (even our tennis shoes have a heel) our ankle spends a lot of time in plantar flexion (toes pointed down). Keeping our feet constantly in this position reduces the sensitivity and mobility, increasing risk of injury from something as simple as variations in ground topography. It's also fun to sit on if you want to bring your work to the ground. Find it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/44qBUn5 P.S. A rolled up towel can also be used.
Minimalist Shoes: Minimalist shoes check four main boxes; foot shaped (like real foot shaped), flexible, zero drop - no heel, and ground feel - you can feel the ground. Minimalist shoes let your feet be feet! As I mentioned before when our feet are constantly put in normal shoes they "turn off" and receive less information to then be transported to the brain and interpreted into movement. The minimalist shoes that I started with are Whitin. You can find them here. They are a great starter shoe at a great price. When transitioning to minimalist footwear start slow. Spending more time barefoot is the first step. Then slowing begin to add the minimalist shoes into the mix. Shop Whitin shoes here: https://amzn.to/3XUJeF5
Toe Separators: Again with the shoes! Normal shoes are not foot shaped. I think we can all agree on that. They squish the toes together reducing movement which then weakens them. It also shifts the toes and can create pain, bunions, flat feet, and more. These toe separators are a great start to undo the effects of your shoes. They help to stretch and create natural space between the toes. You can put them on while you watch TV or you can wear them while you work or do chores around the house. Again, start small here maybe 10 minutes at time or less. Spending more time barefoot will natural give the toes more space but adding some time with this tool will speed up the process. As with any physical activity listen to your body and adjust as needed. I like the Naboso pair and you can check them out here: https://amzn.to/44CMUgX
Pillows / Bolsters: Take your work to the floor! Spending time on the floor rather than in a chair means you are going to move more rather than be glued in one position. Adding movement is the goal here. By taking your work to the floor you can sit in all different shapes varying your position often. If you are not used to floor sitting or find it difficult add pillows, bolsters, or blankets to make it more accessible. The more time you spend sitting on the floor the less tools you'll need and the more shapes you'll be able to create.
Foam Roller: Foam rollers are great to ease muscle tension and the texture helps to improve circulation. The gentle and gradual pressure from foam rolling loosens the fascia relieving muscle tension helping you to better tap into body mobility and flexibility. Find one on Amazon at https://amzn.to/44mBn5J!
Adjustable Desk: I love having an adjustable desk! While not necessary it is a convenient tool to help vary the way you work. You can position the desk to the height you need whether you are sitting or standing. While you are standing you can use any of the tools above all while working. You can shift weight, positions, and move more all while having the freedom to sit or stand. I love this desk style with the cubby drawers because it helps me stay organized, check it out here: https://amzn.to/3pRVEAS
I hope that this starter list of tools will help you bring more movement into your workspace while still staying productive. Movement and simply being aware of what is happening in your body can boost mood, reduce stress and anxiety, as well as reduce aches and pains that disrupt the work day.
I have linked to all the products shown that I have personally used. Purchasing all of these tools are not necessary, get creative with what you have around the house!