Healthy Grade-School Hacks for Your Grown-Up Job
Steal these healthy living secrets from schools to make your workplace more productive
In elementary school, you might have spent all your time wishing you could be a grown-up. But now that you are an adult, all the deadlines, budgets, and demands from bosses so unreasonable they make your scary second grade teacher look like Mary Poppins can make you wish you were a kid in school again. And, according to new research, that might be exactly what you need! In fact, schools are trying our several cool programs that make acting like a kid seem like the easier answer to becoming healthier and more productive at your job. Steal these grade-school ideas for your grown-up workplace. (Don't worry, it's not cheating!)
Play Musical Chairs
Tots in Saskatchewan recently all got standing desks as a way to help kids learn and get their wiggles out. And while stand-up desks have been an option for adult workers for a while, relatively few of us take advantage of them-probably because we take all the fun out of them. The kids show it doesn't need to be an all-or-nothing proposition by alternately standing, sitting on a stool, squatting on the floor, or even perching like a flamingo on one leg. (Check out 13 Thoughts You Have When Using a Stand-Up Desk.)
Today's lesson: Don't sit in one spot all day, even grown-ups get the wiggles. Try unconventional seating arrangements like stand-up desks, exercise balls or even treadmill desks.
Doodle at Your Desk
Thanks to programs like Doodle 4 Google, schools are finally realizing what kids have known all along: that scribbling little drawings in the margins of your papers is actually good for you. In the past, doodling was seen as a sign of inattention, but a study from last year found that doodlers actually retain more information than people simply sitting and listening. In addition, the drawers showed more creativity. And the best part is the researchers found this to be true no matter what your age.
Today's lesson: Buy that pack of colored gel pens and go nuts during your next meeting. Although maybe resist writing your first name + the last name of your hot coworker = true love 4eva.
Eat Lunch After Recess
It's the lunch-time dilemma: just because you pack a kid (or an adult) a piece of fruit doesn't mean they'll eat it. But a new study from Brigham Young University found that switching school lunch to after recess upped kids' produce intake by over fifty percent. Since they worked up an appetite and didn't feel rushed through lunch, the children were much more likely to devour their fruits and veggies. (To get you started, 10 Quick and Healthy Brown Bag Lunches.)
Today's lesson: Take a "recess" by taking a walk or doing a short workout before you sit down for lunch.
Take a Pet Break
Can we keep it? Students in Helena, Alabama, recently surprised their teachers when they brought in a box of abandoned puppies they'd found. Then, fulfilling the dream of every fourth-grade girl ever, the school allowed the kids to adopt the dogs. This was a particularly smart move, as studies have found that students in a classroom with a class pet had better attendance and better grades than those without an animal. A similar study in adults found that those that worked in an office that allowed dogs had higher productivity and lower stress levels.
Today's lesson: You can try campaigning for a furry friend for the office but unless you work for a vet chances are that won't go far. Instead, adopt a pet of your own and make sure that when you get home you make time for a dedicated snuggle break.
Daydream When You're Bored
Were you always the kid "off in la-la land"? If so, that might be to your advantage, say the authors of a new study published in the current edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers found that kids who checked out and daydreamed while doing monotonous or repetitive tasks not only reported less boredom but did better on the tasks than their peers who were told to focus. They say that daydreaming provides a "mental escape."
Today's lesson: Rather than forcing yourself to focus while you catch up on data entry or count supplies, allow your brain to wander. (And try these 10 Easy Ways to Get Smarter-Stat.)