November 11, 2011
Don’t drag: How to avoid a personal energy crisis at work
/ Minneapolis Star Tribune
Energy slumps go hand-in-hand with desk jobs. Here are some simple movement and nutrition steps that can help you stay focused and keep the yawns at bay.
Start with an assessment of your day. Notice the time and what you’ve been doing when you have the most energy. It may be certain times of day, after you’ve had a particular thing to eat or drink, or after a certain task.
Also notice when you slump, focusing on the same items. Take an even broader look to determine the effect of activities outside of work -- for example, exercise, stress and sleep. Try keeping an “energy diary” so that you can more easily identify patterns.
Evaluate what you’re not doing. Look at your diet and whether you’re moving around during the day to identify gaps you could address. Include whether you take breaks when you can and how you use them.
Consider the opportunities you have (15-minute breaks every morning and afternoon) as well as the constraints (limited space and privacy) so that you plan energizer options that are feasible. Also look at inner constraints you may be imposing, such as fear of reactions from co-workers or simple inertia -- change does take some effort and determination.
There are many ways to get energized at work, even if you have a fairly constrained job.
Getting some movement is a great option. During breaks, make a point of stretching, walking or doing some simple exercises to fire up. You can find workplace exercise ideas online. While working, try standing for a while. If that works for you, you may want to explore standing workstations, which have health and energy benefits and are available in some corporate environments.
Go inward and focus with breathing exercises. Finding some inner stillness provides a fresh burst of energy, and may help you build your stamina and resistance to stress. These can be short and simple -- just a few deep breaths -- or could be more extensive during a break or outside of work.
Drink plenty of water. If you typically drink a lot of coffee or soft drinks, start substituting water, and try a fresh glass of cool water if your energy level is sagging. Likewise, eat foods that will stabilize your energy. Pack them with you or know what works for you at the cafeteria. Keep snacks on hand so that you don’t have to default to a candy machine.
Outside of work, move toward or maintain a balanced life, or at least carve out pockets of time for yourself if your life is very busy. Even half an hour each day with no demands can help. If needed, explore ways to develop a deeper sense of meaning, including spiritual practice and community engagement.
Finally, build in some fun, both inside and outside of work. Find people you like; find things to laugh about. Build up your energy boosters and drop the energy drains -- it will help maintain your day-to-day zest at work.
Sitting tall: Stretch both arms over your head and reach for the sky. After 10 seconds, extend the right hand higher, then the left.
Neck relaxer: Let your head loll over so that your right ear nearly touches your right shoulder. Using your hand, gently press your head a little lower. Hold for 10 seconds. Relax, and then repeat on the other side.
Posturing: Sit facing forward, then turn your head to the left and your torso to the right, and hold a few seconds. Repeat 15 times, alternating sides.
Shrug it off: Sitting up straight, try to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold, and then relax.
- career profile (164)
- cool jobs (68)
- education and training (61)
- entry level (70)
- etiquette (107)
- events (71)
- featured (416)
- finding your passion (96)
- health care (74)
- interviewing (88)
- job fairs (61)
- management (89)
- market trends (92)
- networking (274)
- resumes (102)
- salary (85)
- social media (91)
- technology (113)
- unemployment (55)
- work/life balance (91)