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Healthy Living Habits, Part 2

Here at The Yeomen we believe that healthy employees are happy employees. As a team, we do a lot to promote healthy living habits even though we are all thousands of miles apart.

Yep, we all work remotely. A huge benefit to telecommuting is the freedom to make healthy living choices like scheduling longer breaks to go for walks or choosing to stock healthier snacks. Our work, however, requires us to be in front of computer screens all day.

One of many ways we promote healthy lifestyle habits is through our internal blog. Once a week we publish a post that dives into healthy lifestyle research. It’s important as a telecommuter to create healthy habits and a healthy work environment as it can be easy to fall into an inactive, unhealthy lifestyle.

Our team has written dozens of great articles on healthy lifestyle habits that we compile and share on our external blog from time to time. In the first series, we looked at standing up, healthy snacking, and eyestrain. This series we’ll explore the benefits of yoga and napping.

Workplace stress management: The benefits of Yoga And Meditation

IMG_3038With more and more companies incorporating yoga and meditation classes during or after the regular work schedule, it seems that these two ancient eastern practices have become an integral part of increasing performance and well being in the workplace.

The echo of the benefits of yoga and meditation has even reached the United Arab Emirates via its most well known and bigger host of foreign invested capital, the city of Abu Dhabi. Apparently the popularity of yoga classes among several top international companies in Abu Dhabi has pushed a local government department to also provide yoga sessions for its staff.

Besides the positive effects on stress level and mental well being, there are significantly high possibilities to help with common physical issues that affect sedentary workers. According to Italian yoga instructor Livia Anzaldo, the founder of Yoga Retreats in Abu Dhabi,

Classes usually start with breathing exercises, for grounding, so they can get their minds off work and focus on their bodies. After a stretching warm up we do the yoga focusing on joints and spines. Yoga reduces stress, and people experience a better night’s sleep. They can wake up in the morning with a lot more energy, which makes a difference to their performance at work.

According to a study by Ohio State University, “Twenty minutes per day of guided workplace meditation and yoga combined with six weekly group sessions can lower feelings of stress by more than 10 percent and improve sleep quality in sedentary office employees.”

Maryanna Klatt, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of clinical allied medicine at Ohio State found that thanks to this regular practice, “Mindful attention awareness increased by about 9.7 percent and perceived stress decreased by about 11 percent among the group that experienced the intervention.” The participants also reported that it took them less time to fall asleep,and they had fewer sleep disturbances.

Here at The Yeomen we have embraced the value of yoga and meditation. Jim, our CEO has enlisted a yoga instructor to instruct a virtual yoga session for employees as well as a video that can be used any time they need a moment of zen.

The Science of Napping

The numbers seem to unequivocally tell us that lack of sleep and consequent drowsiness are a threat to our safety, well being, and work productivity.

Ever wonder why they take siestas in European countries? This may not be the reason, but there is well documented research that shows a drop in production and an increase in accidents caused by sleepiness in the afternoon.

This New York Times article tells it like it is:

“Our bodies regularly tell us to take a break, but we often override these signals and instead stoke ourselves up with caffeine, sugar and our own emergency reserves — the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol.”

While we can’t add hours to the day, we can measurably increase our energy. Physicists understand energy as the capacity to do work. Like time, energy is finite; but unlike time, it is renewable. Taking more time off is counterintuitive for most of us but the science proves it is effective.

The best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less.

“A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.”

We shouldn’t think of napping as something that is a privilege, remote work and work flexibility allows you to dedicate more than a moment during your work hours to take frequent breaks or small naps and restore energy. A chance that all us should definitely take advantage of.

The science proves it: Do yoga. Take naps.

 

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