How To Have An Office Mini Break

The Physiotherapist Says...

Shine Your Light
Posture matters more than where you sit on the office hierarchy when it comes to career success, according to a recent study.* Plus, sitting tall lifts mood. Imagine there's a torch between your breasts, says Anna-Louise Bouvier, a Sydney-based physiotherapist and co-author of The Feel Good Body (HarperCollins, $24.99). Most of the time, it points down, "causing your shoulders to slump. Engage your core and lift your chest so the light shines ahead of you."


Self-Massage Sore Spots
"Get a tennis ball, stand with your back to the wall and place the ball between your back and the wall. Roll your back up, down and around the ball." Got an hour? Turn to the professionals: a trial published in the journal Depression And Anxiety in 2010 found regular massages can reduce feelings of anxiety by 40 per cent.

The Corporate Coach Says...
Switch Off For 90 Seconds
You don't need a yoga class to achieve "relaxed alertness", says Susanne Rix, the founder of Superworking (www.superworking.com). "Turn off the computer or shut your eyes. Breathe with your diaphragm, not your chest, expanding your belly on the inward breath. On the outward breath, draw in your stomach and let go of muscle tension. Do three deep breaths, interspersed with normal breaths,
for 90 seconds. The effect lasts 90 minutes."

Go Green
"Research shows that windows and indoor plants make office workers happier," adds Rix. "Photographs and screensavers of nature will work, too."
Bonus: plants, such as the peace lily, mop up volatile organic compounds: nasty gasses emitted from paint, building materials, furnishings and office equipment.

The IT Geek Says...
Click on your favourites
Don't switch off your computer, urges Nic Healey, editor of PC & Tech Authority magazine. "When everything's gone wrong at work, head over to damnyouautocorrect.com for hilarious iPhone predictive texts – gone wrong."

To shop, click on www.etsy.com and www.thecoolhunter.com.au; and plan a holiday with www.tripadvisor.com. It might make you more productive than colleagues who don't browse the net, according to a 2009 study of 300 workers by the University of Melbourne.

De-Clutter Your Computer
"Download Google Calendar Sync to sync your work Outlook calendar with your private Gmail calendar," suggests Healey. "Is your desktop loaded with shortcuts and documents you don't need? Organise your files into folders," he adds.

The Psychologist Says...
Relive past holidays
"When you can get away, keep a journal, collect postcards, ticket stubs and magazine clippings, and print happy snaps to create a travel 'mood board' for your desk," advises Melbourne-based psychologist Meredith Fuller. Creating a mini "holiday daydream", with the sights, smells and textures, will take you back there when you're stuck in a not-so-exotic office cube.

Make a playlist of tunes that reminds you of your travels
"Our most finely tuned sense is our hearing, so this will elevate your mood. Special music transports us to good memories," she says.

The Dietitian Says...
Fuel your brain
"Combine good fats and carbohydrates," urges Dr Alan Barclay, of the Dietitians Association of Australia. "Since the brain is 60 per cent fat, you need at least three serves of fatty fish per week, so keep a tin of salmon in your drawer. Snack on walnuts; while, they're made of the less useful, shorter-chain omega-3s, your body will convert the nuts’ fatty acids into beneficial, long-chain omega-3s.” Aim for 140 grams of low-GI carbs daily, adds Dr Barclay. Two slices of Bürgen Soy-Lin bread contains around 22g. Low-GI carbs will stabilise blood sugar levels, preventing pesky mood swings.

Get high on protein
Fill up on foods rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which promotes mood-boosting serotonin in the brain. It's best derived from protein sources such as egg, beans and turkey.

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