According to a recent survey from Bayer, 98 per cent of Australians consider self-care to be important for their health, but at the same time two-thirds see lack of motivation (23 per cent), money (16 per cent) and time (14 per cent) as major barriers that stop them practicing it regularly. So, how can we include self-care in our everyday life despite all these obstacles? Here, two experts provide a perfect, excuse-proof plan.
Lucinda Hancock, CEO at Nutrition Australia:
1. Keep hydrated
Keep a water bottle at your desk and remind yourself to drink regularly. Tiredness is a sign of dehydration so drinking water regularly will keep you refreshed and alert. Turn it into a game – it will help you achieve your goals: treat yourself to something you don't normally get if you manage to accomplish a whole week with drinking eight glasses of water a day.
2. Be a smart snacker
Keeping healthy snacks in your draw will ensure that you are well fueled for the day and will stop you from being tempted to purchase unhealthy snacks. Plan out your snacks just like you would your meals and try avoiding sugary treats, you might end up consuming enough kilojoules to constitute a meal. Instead, opt for unsalted nuts, wholegrain crackers, tuna & bean snack packs, sultanas, fresh fruit and plain popcorn.
3. Lunch away from your desk
Give your eyes a well-deserved rest and your mind a break and eat your lunch away from your desk. Fresh air and a quick break can do wonders for your thinking, creativity and can help you to clear your mind and relax. Take this opportunity to work on your relationships with your colleagues and chat about life outside of the office.
4. Squeeze a workout in your day
Take advantage of a few minutes here and there to squeeze physical activity in – stand up every time you make or receive a phone call and or engage your team, walk instead of email and go for a quick stroll at 3pm to get some fresh air and avoid the afternoon slump. It will help you avoid health issues that come from sitting down all day, such as stiffness and sore muscles.
5. Decorate your space
Declutter your desk space as clean space helps when it comes to productivity. To many items, mess and old files can boost your stress levels and distract you from your ‘To Do’ list. Treat yourself a real plant for the office - in addition to bringing a friendly touch to your desk, it can help clean the air can and increase focus and productivity – allowing you to accomplish more with less stress.
Michael Cunico, fitness guru:
6. Swap your heels for flats
The more comfortable your outfit is the more likely you are to be active. Minimise ‘heel wearing’ time and keep comfy flats under your desk. High heels worn daily can play havoc with the movement capability of your ankle and will potentially lead to lower leg restrictions.
7. Take deep breaths
Ten deep breaths draw more oxygen into lungs, which in turn delivers more oxygen to every cell in your body, including your heart and brain. Every few hours try this breathing exercise: inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four and wait for a count of four.
8. Think about your shoulders
Often, we unconsciously raise our shoulders up without even noticing, gradually creating tension. Take five minutes to relax your whole body - from your toes, all the way up to your shoulders. Squeeze each muscle group for the count of five and then release.
9. Get yourself a foam roller
Foam rolling helps with tightness caused by sitting by increasing blood flow and flexibility. Get yourself a long foam roller near your desk and commit to lying along it three times per day, placing the roller along your spine and opening your palms up to the ceiling to open up your chest.
10. Don’t forget about stretching!
Try standing up every 30 minutes (you can set the alarm on your phone) to stretch out your chest and extend your spine to reverse the hunched position of sitting. This will help reduce back and neck pain as well as boosting your energy levels. You can also use this opportunity to drink a glass a water too.