Don't Just DO something, STAND THERE!
It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true.
Stopping for a moment helps us be more productive.
By taking a breath (or 8), touching in with ourselves, moving our bodies, or just plain sitting still and doing nothing, we allow our mind and body to recalibrate. We refocus and come back to our work with renewed vigor. Our brain is better able to make connections and work at full capacity. (There’s even science to prove this!)
When we forget to take breaks, we are more likely to:
- Make mistakes
- Get foggy headed and not do our best thinking
- Get distracted and spend our time thinking about other things
- Lose interest in our work and slow down
- Spend more time doing less work
So what can you do to refresh? Here’s 7 ideas that take 5 minutes or less:
- Walk around the room for a minute or two. Make sure to swing your arms so you get a good alternate cross-brain action going. Meaning as your right foot goes forward your left arm is also going forward, and then the reverse with the left foot/right hand. After you have walked a bit, march in place and place your left hand on your right knee and your right hand on your left knee as you do. Do this for 30 seconds or so. Doing alternate cross-crawl movements reconnects the hemispheres of your brain and leads to faster, better thinking.
- Sit quietly and take 10 intentional breaths. Breathe in vitality, breathe out everything you don’t need. Let your breaths be slow and purposeful. Place your attention on your breath as it is going in and out. If you want, you can continue this for 3-5 minutes. Set a timer on your phone if you are worried about the time.
- Get up and move for 30 seconds to a minute and then drink a glass of water.
- Stand up with your feet hip width apart. Reach your arms up towards the sky as you are breathing in. Breathe out as you let your arms gently fall towards the ground, letting your head and body gently follow your hands towards the ground until you are doing a forward bend. (Bend only as far as is comfortable for you--this is a gentle forward action.) Shake or swing your arms a little when you reach the bottom. Raise your body and arms slowly until you are standing again. Repeat 5 times. Imagine when you are stretching as high as you possibly can when you are going up and then as you gently fall forward you release all tension as you become a rag doll. This combination of stretching and then releasing will help the tension drain out of your muscles. If you can do this outside, even better.
- Stand with your feet hip distance apart, knees slightly bent. Place your arms down at your sides and gently begin to shake your whole body up and down. This is a gentle wiggle, not a rough shake. Allow your hands to shake too. Do this for 3-5 minutes and allow your body to release all it’s stuck energy. You might find this more tiring than you imagine it will be. If you get tired after a couple of minutes that may be enough for you.
- Walk away from your desk and go for a short 5 minute walk (set a timer, if you need to). Go outside and breathe some fresh air.
- If you only have a minute and you have a window that looks out on a tree, stop what you are doing. Place your feet firmly on the ground below you. Look at the tree. Feel the tree’s connection to the earth, to the sky. Continue to gaze at the tree and breath in while connecting to the earth through your feet, breath out and connect to the sky. Repeat until your minute is up. Send your thanks to the tree. (Obviously, you can do this longer if you have more time.)
None of these exercises are hard, or take very long to do, but they each have the power to reboot your productivity. Try one and let us know what you think!
Most of these suggestions are self-explanatory. Here is a short (3 minute) audio to walk you through a simple grounding, clearing, and rebooting breathing exercise.