It’s no news to anyone reading this that fitness and exercise are directly related to productivity and mental health, but after 2020 changed absolutely everyone’s plans in one way or another and left almost all of us under different levels of increased pressure, it’s important to be reminded of the little things that can make a big difference.
Maybe you lost your job and feel that every moment of your day must be spent applying for new roles. Perhaps the scope of your role has changed, and with the pressure rising you feel you cannot leave your desk. Even if you are one of the lucky ones who have benefited through COVID-19 and your workload has heavily increased, it is still so important to take a break.
30 minutes out of your day, 5 days a week, makes up roughly 6.25% of your working week and the same amount of time, either before or after work is about 1.4% of your week in total. There are countless books, studies, articles etc., available to us outlining the benefits of exercise, routine, healthy eating habits and a regular sleeping pattern, including increased brain function and concentration, more energy and being generally happier. Exercising reduces the risk of disease and depression, and finally, it is the single most effective, yet underutilised, tool for managing stress. All of which contribute to increased productivity.
I was one of the first to ditch my fitness routine for these very reasons, have significantly noticed the negative impact it had on my days at work, and at home. Here are a few simple steps to get back into it and stay into it.
You wouldn’t go to work without taking a shower. You wouldn’t go to a dentist without brushing your teeth. A day doesn’t go by that you don’t have a meal and all the other life administration that happens in between. Schedule it in, when it suits you, for as many or little days as you decide, and make it a mandatory part of your day – just the same as brushing your teeth.
- Go for a short walk at lunchtime
- Ride home instead of catching the bus
- Get up earlier and take your dog for a walk
Creating new habits can be hard. But here’s the thing: it’s better to have a consistent 10-minute routine than a 60-minute commitment you likely won’t get around to. The less disruption to your day, the more likely you will be to build a habit and if necessary, you can increase it from there.
Don’t Make It Harder Than It Has To Be
Exercising doesn’t have to be a chore. If you’re not into HIIT or resistance training or running/ cardio, then don’t do it. Plenty of stats have shown that the mental health benefits associated with exercise come from simply moving your muscles. Go for a swim in the ocean on the weekend, go for a bike ride with the kids or take a yoga class. There are literally hundreds of options. You don’t have to pick one that doesn’t suit you.
We will be able to travel freely again one day. We will be able to visit our loved ones again and we will all be in stable jobs again. In the meantime, hold onto the things that we can do right now and take some time out for yourself.