Friday, May 25, 2018

10,000 steps a day

Walking 10,000 steps a day has become a popular fitness goal thanks to wearable devices. Research has shown that the more steps you take in a day, the better it is for your overall physical and mental wellbeing. Movement gets your blood flowing, improves muscle tone, reduces stress and burns calories, so why is it so hard to find the time to go for a walk? Here are easy ways to put more activity into your work day:  
  • Walk at least part of the way to work. Consider extending your walk by getting off the bus one stop early or parking further away. 
  • Change position at your workstation every 15-30 minutes. A simple, frequent change in body position (e.g., stand up if you are sitting) is actually more effective than taking a walk. It's how many times a day you change position that makes the difference.
  • Take 'mini' stretch breaks every hour. Take five minutes to stretch out your neck, back, chest, arms and legs to help reduce muscle strain and increase your energy. I have included a stretch tips sheet below with some quick and easy exercises.
  • Put things out of reach. Organize your work space so you have to move in order to reach files, the telephone or other office equipment.
  • Pretend it's the 90's! Walk down the hall to talk to a co-worker in person instead of instant messaging or sending an email.
  • Stand during meetings or conference calls. Aside from getting you out of your chair, standing can also help make discussions more focused, and increase meeting efficiency!
  • Walk during your lunch break. After you eat, take a short walk and enjoy a change of scenery to get the blood flowing and to break up your day.
  • Do your own coffee run. Go out and get your coffee or tea instead of letting someone else pick one up for you.
  • Take the stairs at least once a day. Taking the stairs at the same time each day will make it a natural part of your routine.
  • Turn waiting time into moving time. Take a stroll or do some stretches when waiting for the copier, microwave, or for a meeting room to vacate.
  • Start an office fitness challenge. Get your co-workers involved and make it a challenge to track your steps and see who can walk the most in a day. It's easier to be active when you have a motivating network.
  • Time it and/or track it. Use alarms on your computer, phone or activity tracker to remind you to move, stretch or take a short walk. Using an activity tracker can also help you assess how much you are actually moving.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Increase your personal resilience

Change and stress are inevitable, but they are not always bad things. Small doses actually support our health and stimulate our lives. It's when tensions start to weigh us down that we need to reduce the pressure. Strong personal resilience can make the difference between handling challenges effectively and losing your cool. While some people are naturally resilient, most of us have to work at it! Here are some ways to build your resilience:
  • Think positively. Remind yourself of your strengths and achievements. Visualize what you want to accomplish, and believe that good things will happen in your life.
  • Develop a strong social network. Having caring and supportive people around you allows you to share feelings, release stress, receive positive feedback and think of possible solutions to problems.
  • Learn from situations. Use the events around you as opportunities to develop new knowledge or problem-solving skills. More often than not, you may learn something about yourself, and you'll see how you can positively influence future circumstances.
  • Don't blow things out of proportion. Don't treat everything like a catastrophe. You can't change stressful events, but you can change how you interpret and respond to them. Look beyond the present, and stay focused on achieving the best possible outcomes.
  • Take action. While there may not be a fast or simple solution, you can usually take small steps to make a problem better or less stressful. Sit back, brainstorm possible actions, set realistic goals, and then take the first step. Ask yourself, "What's one thing I can do today that moves me in the right direction?"
  • Accept what you cannot change. Certain goals may not be attainable. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on the things that you can alter.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. While easier said than done, you should try and let go of things that don't really matter in the long run. This way you'll have more time to focus on the things that do matter. Let go of minor disagreements that really don't matter to improve your stress and your quality of life!
  • Take good care of yourself. Focus on exercising regularly, eating healthy and doing activities you enjoy. The goal is to keep your mind and body in top shape to deal with life's challenges.
  • Seek quiet moments. When you feel tense, go to a peaceful space and take deep, slow breaths - even five minutes can help you relax.
  • Slow down and learn to say no. Don't schedule every minute of every day. Take time for breaks and appreciate the good things in your life. Respectfully say 'no' to activities that are optional or take away from your priorities.
  • Know when to ask for professional help. Common signs of too much stress include irritability, loss of concentration, anxious thoughts, frequent headaches, insomnia and indigestion. If pressures become overwhelming, talk to your physician or call CIBC's Employee & Family Assistance Program (see sidebar) for support.