Staff burnout is a risk to physical health, mental well-being and productivity. Many people in helping professions don’t know how to set aside time in their busy schedule to practice self-care. They may worry taking the time to check in with themselves, their mind and their body will slow their productivity and be a distraction in the workplace.
On the contrary, taking a few minutes out of your day to stretch, move and recharge can boost productivity. How? Check in with Johnny B., The Change Companies©’ fitness coordinator and health coach.
Johnny uses his 20+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry to educate people on how to incorporate movement and self-care into their day. We call these bops – brief opportunities for progress. Bops are just one way of taking care of yourself throughout your day. When you take care of yourself, you’re better able to help others.
Here are some strategies he suggests for small things you can do with just a few moments. You can also follow along with these visually in Johnny’s webinar: “Let’s Move: Micro-practices for Self-care at Work.”
For this exercise, imagine your body like a vessel for oxygen, from the bottom of your belly, through your ribs and spine, all the way up to the top of your chest. This breathing technique helps awaken the body. It’s useful to warm up for a workout or feel energized and renewed throughout your day.
1. Stand or sit in a comfortable, but attentive position.
2. Breathe in normally through your nose, filling that vessel up 70%.
3. For the last 30% of your inhale, inhale sharp and fast.
4. Breathe out slowly, emptying the vessel, imagining squeezing the last of the breath out from your stomach and up your spine.
5. Repeat at least two more times.
Check Your Neck for Mobility
This is helpful in assessing any stiffness, pain and range of motion. You might find it helpful to check your neck before and after mobility exercises to see how they’ve helped, and if you need to do more mobility.
1. Stand up straight, with your arms straight but relaxed at your sides.
2. Look towards your left, as though you’re trying to look over your shoulder. Stop when it becomes tight or uncomfortable. You should not feel any major pain with this.
3. Return your neck and head to look forward.
4. Look towards your right, as though you’re trying to look over your shoulder.
5. Return your neck and head to look forward.
6. Tilt your head to the left, as though you’re trying to press your ear to your shoulder. Again, stop when it becomes tight or uncomfortable. You should not feel any major pain with this.
7. Return your neck and head to look forward.
8. Tilt your head to the right, as though you’re trying to press your ear to your shoulder.
9. Return your neck and head to look forward.
10. Shrug both shoulders up towards your ears.
11. While your shoulders are shrugged, squeeze your shoulder blades together, pulling your shoulders back.
12. Allow your shoulders to “drop” – falling back to their normal position.
13. Repeat this “shrug, squeeze and drop” at least three times.
These exercises will help you maintain mobility and flexibility. It helps prevent joint stiffness and pain. Shoulder flows can be helpful in warming up the body for a workout or to prevent stiffness and injury throughout your day, particularly if you spend long hours sitting at a desk. All of these exercises are done in a standing position.
1. Shoulder spin-up: Start with one arm straight at your side, with your palm facing forward. Make big circles scooping the air in front of you, overhead, and – palm-down now – pulling the air back down behind you. Do one arm at a time, and repeat at least five times on each side.
2. Michael Phelps: Start by standing up straight, with your arms stretched out on either side of you, parallel to the ground. Bring your arms in to touch the opposite shoulder, kind of like you’re giving yourself a hug! Continue doing this, building up speed and momentum. Repeat this at least five times.
3. Scoop the sky: For this exercise, start by standing up straight, with your arms straight out in front of you, palms up, parallel to the floor. Reach your arms above your head, stretching as tall as you can. Scoop the air down in front of you – palms down now – keeping your arms straight. Stretch your arms behind you as far as is comfortable. Repeat at least five times.
4. Pendulum: Begin by standing up straight. Allow your head to tilt forward, bringing your chin as close to your chest as you’re comfortable with. Roll your head gently to one side, as though you’re trying to touch that cheek to your shoulder. Roll your head gently to the other side, like a pendulum. Repeat this at least five times.
These are small movements that can be tailored to your abilities and needs, and be built upon over time.
See how well bops work for you. Maybe this is something you’d like to try to lead with your team. Check out a recent webinar on bops with Johnny – and other past webinars – here, and sign up for an upcoming wellness webinar.
Let us know what sort of things you’d like to see next in our webinars! How can we help you avoid staff burnout? How can we help you and your team stay healthy, focused and refreshed? Let us know here, and we’ll see you next time.