With the arrival of summer, we’re greeted with longer days, warmer temperatures, and a vibrant atmosphere – but that can cause feelings of frustration and of missing out if you are spending hours at your desk/in front of a screen. In this blog post, we’ll explore some ways help you make the most of the season and enhance your wellbeing by taking a balanced approach to exercise, diet and lifestyle choices while continuing to manage your workload.
Encourage your desk workers to boost wellbeing in Summer around these themes:
Table of Contents
1. Switch up your schedule
In summer we tend to wake up earlier and our sleep patterns become more aligned with the natural light/dark cycle. We have more hours in the day and often more energy to enjoy them. Getting up earlier can help to create a feeling of getting ahead of the game and of being more in control of your to do list as the day progresses. Early waking provides the perfect opportunity to spend some time on focussed work, personal goals, exercise, self-care, or stepping outside to connect with nature. And if you are getting some work in earlier you may have more flexibility to take a bit of time out at lunchtime, school pickup time or early evening. Shifting your routine and prioritising your need to get outside each day to enjoy the season makes time at the desk feel easier.
Try this: tailor your perfect morning routine to start the day positively – make this so appealing that it gives you the motivation to go to bed early and to forego that extra hour of TV or socialising.
2. Stay Active and Embrace the Outdoors
Many of us can’t wait to get outside in Summer and feel a surge of motivation to get moving. Whether it’s walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, or outdoor yoga, the key is to find activities that you enjoy and that enable you to appreciate the natural abundance of the season – and maybe a chance to socialise too. Summer is the perfect time to reset your physical activity habits and to boost your energy levels, improve cardiovascular health, and enhance overall well-being. If you can, plan say 30 minutes of outdoor activity into your schedule each day – treat this as a firm appointment and don’t be diverted by less than optimal weather, just make sure you are prepared for all eventualities with light layers of clothing, including waterproofs, sun protection cream, hats and shades.
Try this: walk or jog outside without a fitness tracker. Enjoy the sights, sounds and scents of nature and breathe in the fresh air. Take as long as you like and vary your pace as the mood takes you.
We need to be particularly aware of hydration when temperatures are higher. Most of us will carry a water bottle while exercising, but it’s equally important while at the desk, as dehydration has been shown to impair cognitive performance.
Try this: If you find it dull drinking plain water, bring a taste of summer to your desk by adding slices of lemon, lime or cucumber, or cooling herbs such as mint. Or make a pot of your favourite tea, pour into a jug and cool it in the fridge then drink over ice diluted with sparkling water.
4. Eat seasonally
Summer offers an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables and makes us naturally drawn to healthier eating and to hydrating foods, such as leafy greens, cucumbers, berries, tomatoes and watermelon. Meals consistent with a Mediterranean diet can provide perfect summer fare, emphasising fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, fish and seafood, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds. Making an effort to plan a healthy lunch is a mindful act of self care which can provide balance during a busy day.
Try this: buy local seasonal fruit and vegetables as much as you can then plan Mediterranean style meals around these – think salads, tapas, mezze, Buddha bowls or pasta with vegetables and pulses as the main event and fish, lean meat or dairy on the side if you like, and assemble meals intuitively with ingredients that you love rather than following recipes.
5. Embrace the Power of Yoga
Yoga can help you to embrace the joy and energy of the season and to find some coolness and calm for balance. YoPO includes multiple resources to enable you to have mini yoga breaks throughout the day to counter the effects of being static at work.
Try to include:
Some gentle backbends – these help to counteract the effects of slouching and sitting for extended periods and can create a sense of expansiveness and openness, allowing you to embrace the warmth and energy of the season.
Balances, outside if possible, to promote stability, focus, and a connection with nature. Try tree pose in particular for a sense of rootedness and strength, raising your arms to celebrate the joy of the season.
Gentle inversions to promote relaxation, release tension, and to help cool the body and bring a sense of calmness and rejuvenation. Try wide legs up the wall pose – the mild hamstring stretch enhances the sense of relaxation and release.
Relaxing breathing practices to balance your energy levels
Try this: Rather than aiming for a long session, sprinkle a little yoga into your day when you have a few minutes. Morning – easy movements and stretches can help to get you feeling motivated for the day Morning motivation, during the day, stretching out areas of the body that have been static and raising the energy with gentle movement can lift your spirits and help you to maintain focus – see Lunchtime refresher, Five minute workout or Move outside, and in the evening, yoga can help you to cool down and relax Cool and calm.
Or for a more comprehensive look at how you can integrate yoga into your working day, try our course, Yoga Bites for Desk Workers
How can Employers help?
Flexibility is of course the key, a subject top of most employee wellbeing programmes. Particularly in Summer, employees may resent having to come into the office if they can equally well perform their role at home, and will value the opportunity to work flexibly during the day. Where employees do need to be in the office there will be heightened awareness of how your office space impacts employee well-being – particularly thinking about prevalence of natural light, fresh air and the ability to move around. A focus on flexibility should allow your employees to make their own choices about their wellbeing priorities and how they can organise their days to support these.
Summer presents the opportunity and often the motivation to embrace a healthier lifestyle and to make the most of all that the season offers, even if you are spending much of the season at work. Whether you go away or not, there are plenty of opportunities to bring the joys of Summer into your daily life and to move towards Autumn in vibrant form.
Helen Withers, Director, YoPO Wellbeing Limited
If you would like any further information on this update or to request access to YoPO’s bank of wellbeing resources for desk workers, please contact email@example.com.
Here are some additional resources that may be helpful: