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Get Your Body Out of “Work Posture”

Whether you’re sitting behind a desk or standing as you stare at a computer screen, it’s important to take a physical break. Take a walk, sit, or close your eyes for a moment. Do anything that’s the opposite of your “work posture.” Rachel Jonat, author of THE JOY OF DOING NOTHING, shares how physical change can give you a boost of energy.

Changing your posture while you do nothing also improves your work performance. Get up from being hunched over your desk for hours and take a brisk walk while clearing your mind, or simply move from a standing position to a seated one to spark a new energy and focus when you return to work. If possible, use physical movement to differentiate your do-nothing time from your work time. Whatever position your work keeps you in—standing, sitting, walking—do the opposite when you take time to do nothing. This physical change will give you a boost of energy when you return to work. Researchers from Baylor University found that employees who took physical breaks earlier—before a number of hours of work had elapsed—had fewer complaints of eyestrain, headaches, and lower back pain than employees who waited longer to take a break. Employees who took morning breaks also reported having more energy, better concentration, and more motivation to return to work.

Want to make a physical break a part of your workday? Here are three ways to implement a do-nothing physical break:

  • Light: Stretch! Do a few simple neck, back, and hip flexor stretches on your first break of the day to get your body out of “work posture” and to get the blood flowing.
  • Medium: Take the stairs during a morning break. Leave your phone at your desk and walk up, and then down, one or two flights of stairs.
  • Deep: Use an early break for daily push-ups. Add one push-up each day until you reach your goal, be it ten or one hundred.

Sharpen your focus through breath.

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