Are you and your office chair spending too much time together?

As self-employed people we spend a lot of time in our home offices, hunched over keyboards, brows furrowed as we stare at the glowing monitors in front of us.  Without the distraction of co-workers, coffee runs, and proper lunch breaks, it’s easy to let the hours speed by, resulting in stiff muscles, poor posture, sore eyes, cranky moods, and tired brains. I have realized how important it is to be intentional about adding activity into my workday.

I’m not known for visiting the gym (understatement!). Not only do I find that it sucks too much time out of a busy schedule, it’s just not my scene. The last time I was in a gym, I spent twenty minutes going awkwardly backwards on the elliptical trainer before someone kindly pointed out my error. To avoid those ninth grade PE post-traumatic flashbacks I avoid the gym and find other ways to stay active when working from home.

  • Take the Stairs – This won’t burn a tonne of calories or turn you into a model of fitness, but it’s great for a super quick re-charge.  When you feel yourself getting tense or frustrated, but you’re short on time, run up and down the stairs a few times and then go back to your problem-solving with fresh eyes.
  • Yoga – I’m no yoga guru.  Not even close.  But I love the mix of strength and serenity that comes from just a few moments of stretching and breathing and mindful movement.  Yoga reduces stress and anxiety, properties which plague the self-employed as we multi-task and manage, often independently.  A few minutes of stretching every hour or two will keep the tension from settling into your neck and shoulders.
  • Wii –  Don’t laugh.  I’m being totally serious here.  Last Christmas Santa delivered a Wii to our home.  I’ll be honest and tell you that it was definitely more for the grown-ups in our family, than the kids.  For a fun break from the computer, I like to go a few rounds with a professional boxer, or hit some balls out of the park.  It elevates the heart-rate, and the mood.  Just don’t get sucked in by your competitive nature or your productivity will suffer!
  • Bootcamp (in the comfort of your home) – While many people enjoy getting up on the wrong side of dawn to do push-ups in the park, I am not among them.  But I recently had a neat find on Pinterest: Bootcamp At Home.  It’s a series of exercises designed to burn calories and build muscle.  It includes jumping jacks, push ups, squats, crunches, and the like.  I’m not going to lie, this will hurt.  But even if you can’t do as many as you’d like, doing your best is better than doing nothing.  A quick Google search will afford you a variety of bootcamp routines you can do on your own when you have time for a short break.
  • Hit the Road – Grab your iPod and hit the open road.  A power walk around the neighbourhood has changed the course of my day (in a good way) on many occasions.  There is nothing better than fresh air, beautiful scenery, favourite tunes, and an elevated heart-rate to reverse the effects of a stressful day and boost creativity.  If I have time, I spend an hour cruising a nearby waterfront route in my neighbourhood.  If I’m pressed for time but just need to get out, a quick 10 minutes around the block is often just as good.

Taking a quick break from work will increase your productivity, boost your mood, and keep the creativity flowing.

What do you do to stay active in your home office?