There is no denying that remote work is gaining popularity by the minute.
A recent survey of business leaders at the Global Leadership Summit in London found that 34% said that more than half of their company's full-time workforce would be working remotely by 2020. 25% said more than three-quarters would not work in a traditional office by 2020.
The benefits of remote work are clear. It lowers overhead costs for companies, has incredibly positive effects on our environment by shrinking our carbon footprint, and allows workers location independence and scheduling flexibility. These last two are very appealing to employees all over the globe.
With location independence and scheduling flexibility though comes a LOT of self responsibility. And I'm not talking about being responsible and getting your work done. I'm talking about being responsible and taking care of yourself.
Because let's be real, how productive can we actually be if our eyes are exhausted from staring at the computer screen and our butt is so asleep we have to pinch it to see if it's still there?
So, if the demand for remote work opportunities is increasing and companies are meeting the demand, how can we be sure to keep ourselves happy, healthy and thriving?
The location independence of remote work gives us the ability to literally work from anywhere, and the scheduling flexibility means you can work anytime. A common downfall for remote workers is to slip into the habit of forgetting to unplug, step away from the computer, and reconnect to self, others and the planet.
So, how can we be sure we are keeping in work-life harmony and not just becoming extensions of our computers?
We hopefully won't turn into zombies.....
...so what are some of the signs that we need to get up and move our bodies?!
1. Find yourself feeling tired? Lethargic? Sluggish?
This is a sign of congested energy within the body. When energy doesn't have a chance to move and flow through our bodies, it can get stuck in places we don't want it to be, making our bodies feel heavy and slow.
Some simple stretching can do wonders for clearing this congestion. At a coffee shop and not a lot of room to move? Try Rachel Brathen's aka Yoga Girl's "Office Yoga." These are quick and simple stretches you can do right from your chair.
To prevent this from happening though, start creating a regular exercise schedule for yourself. After all, now that you are a remote worker, you have quite a bit more control over how you build your schedule around what works best for you.
And exercise does not have to mean a 2-hour session at the gym powerlifting and running on a treadmill. Even a brisk walk around the block will do wonders. Research shows that regular, low-intensity exercise can help boost your energy levels.
"If your body encounters muscle cramping or fatigue, due to stress and low energy levels, a burst of activity could help banish the drowsiness, loosen tight muscles, and promote motivation to power through the day," says health coach Isadora Baum, CHC.
This takes us right into another sign to get up and move...
2. Does your lower or mid-back have aches and pains? Headaches, neck pain or tightness in your shoulders? Muscle soreness or cramps? Just overall body pain?
Then you definitely need to get up and MOVE!
“Lower back pain is often caused by poor posture, which is caused by having a weak core, which is caused by — you guessed it — lack of physical activity,” says certified personal trainer Jeff Miller.
A review published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that any type of exercise, whether it be core strengthening, aerobic exercise, or flexibility, and stretching, can help reduce the risk of lower back pain by 25 to 40 percent.
The muscle cramps, tightness and headaches can also be due to an overabundance of free radicals in the body. A balance of free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function. Too many free radicals can add stress to the body and mind, causing tension, cramping and pain.
One of the easiest fixes for these pains is a practice called "earthing" or "grounding." When we are balanced or "grounded," we are able to properly absorb free electrons from the Earth into our body. These free electrons are some of the most potent antioxidants, keeping our immune systems strong, allowing us to be vibrant and fluid on a daily basis.
Check out some of the other great health benefits of earthing here!
3. Is the document on the screen just remaining blank? Is that bright white screen just glaring back at you?
You have found yourself at a creative standstill. You can't seem to get unstuck from one idea and move on to or create a new one. Each idea you do seem to run with seems to take twice as long to complete. There is a lack of focus and efficiency surrounding you that you can't seem to rid yourself of.
Well, continuing to search the internet or read some articles to find inspiration may not cut it. So, what will?
You guessed it. MOVE!
There's a wonderful practice I discovered through my Pranic Healing and Arhatic Yoga work known as Super Brain Yoga. It's easy, fun, and really gets the brain muscle moving and balanced. Check out the video below, and try it yourself!
4. Having trouble sleeping? Find yourself staying up all night "working," only to discover that not much is actually getting done and you aren't getting rest?
Believe it or not, along with many of the above tips, movement and exercise will actually help you sleep better.
New research indicates that aerobic exercise may be the best prescription to battle chronic insomnia.
“People who exercise fall asleep faster and sleep better than people who do not exercise,” says certified personal trainer Jeff Miller.
Studies show that people who exercise for 30 to 40 minutes four times a week show improved sleep quality and feel more rested the following day.
So, don't go try and take a nap until after you've tried some of the tips shared here and moved around a bit!
5. Are you moody? Sad, angry, maybe even depressed? Find yourself hungry all the time too?
This constant hunger and unexpected mood swings could be a direct result of lack of movement.
"Exercise has been proven to be highly effective in combating low-level depression and even helpful as a complementary method in treating sever cases," says certified personal trainer and wellness coach Amanda L. Dale, M.Ed., M.A.. "If you're feeling sad, angry, or fearful, and you just don't know why, lack of exercise could be the answer."
"A tired, sluggish body can actually produce more of the hormone ghrelin (the "hunger hormone") and cause you to eat more throughout the day in response," says Dale. "Exercise is one of the only proven, natural appetite suppressants, and people who exercise regularly report fewer feelings of hunger and a more regulated eating pattern."
We hope this helps! We want to be sure all remote workers remain happy and healthy in work, play and rest. And don't forget, just because you are a remote worker, doesn't mean you are alone. Reach out to your team, other remote workers in your area, and ask for a "pick me up" if you need to! Let's not forget that we are on this Earth to connect and co-create!
What are some tell-tale signs for YOU that you need to get up and move?! What do you enjoy doing when your body and mind need a little reboot? Share in the comments below!
Rebel + Connect creates custom retreats for remote teams. A Colorado based company owned and operated by Charlie Birch, Rachel McGehee, and Summer Weirich, we operate remotely and service clients from all over the globe. Join us as we create cultures of meaning and celebrate human connections in a digital world!
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