The State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia report surveyed 1,041 employees (a mix of lower management and other employees), it revealed that "one in five Australians (21%) have taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy".
When working in a corporate environment, it's common that once we sit down to work, we do not get off our seats often enough to move and stretch our bodies. We are fully engrossed with the tasks at hand and our eyes are glued to our computer screens. We usually remain in one position for a long time without realising it. Sometimes we even skip toilet or lunch breaks as there is just so much to do but in so little time.
Common physical stress symptoms which office executives suffer from are aches, pains and tense muscles, sore backs, dry and tired eyes, frequent coughs and colds, low energy, agitation, anxiety and most commonly, migraines.
We continue to live with all these discomforts and for the most part, have become immune to them. We also accept that it's part of the daily grind and think nothing more of it. Believe it or not, on average, we sit for 7 hours a day. Prolonged sitting and demanding workloads without short breaks can cause irreparable damage to our health in the long term.
It increases the risks of cardiovascular and chronic diseases, depression and obesity.
It is therefore important for our physical and mental health that we make the effort to move. Stand up, stretch, go for a toilet break, get some coffee and fill up your water container, just move.
Alternatively, push your chair away from the desk, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. A breathing exercise and some simple stretches as shown below would be a constructive way to take a quick breather and relieve the tension in your body.
By investing in your health, you can avoid lining the pockets of doctors and specialists.
Work can be stressful but you should not allow it to overwhelm you and affect your health.
Spinal twist on a chair-releases tightness in the back and torso and gently stretches the chest
Sit on the left side of a chair. Inhale and lengthen the spine gently. Exhale and twist your torso to the left, holding onto the back of the chair, for a spinal twist. Lengthen your spine on each inhale and twist on each exhale for ten breaths. Inhale and release your torso to the front. Repeat on the right.
Locked elbows on a chair-releases tightness in the shoulders
Sit on the front edge of a chair. Bring both arms out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Cross your left arm over your right. Bend your elbows and wrap your right palm around so that it meets your left palm. Elbows drop towards your chest, look at your elbows. Breathe gently for 10 breaths. Release the lock very slowly. Repeat on the other side.
Seated forward bend-release and relax the lower back
Sit at the front edge of your chair. Place your feet wider than your hips. Take few deep breaths to relax. Gently fold forward and go as far as you could without overly stretch your back. Palms either on your shins or on the floor. Exhale and release your head down. Breathe and soften your neck and spine. Relax your back and body. Breathe gently for 10 breaths. Round your spine as you slowly coming back up.