Active Pauses at work. What is it and who benefits from it?
During nine hours a day, the vast majority of the western civilization sits on a chair, in front of a computer, and doesn’t not move from it unless it is to go to the bathroom or eat an unhealthy snack.
Many others, spend their working time standing up, doing constructions, maintenance and probably leaving their home at sunrise and coming back when is already dark.
Maybe you are the one that cooks, cleans and looks after the family and the house. Or maybe you are the one that comes back home sad and stressed after seeing one of your patience not making it.
Doesn’t matter what your profession is, doesn’t matter if at the end of the day is your head, or your feet that hurts. You are hurt and you most likely need an escape, a moment for yourself to ease this discomfort.
It is unhuman to think and believe that we don’t need a pause, and also pretentious. No one is able to keep its concentration, attention and effectiveness in any of the task that we do for more than a couple of hours straight, tops. Especially now days, with all the distractions that come from the continuous beeping of the phone, with the million things that we decide, or are forced, to schedule in our agenda to achieve during a limited amount of time, the stress and the feeling of failure creates a huge weight on our shoulders to endure.
Why do we do this to ourselves, and others? To me, the answer is obvious; the pressure that the society, your boss, your coworkers, your husband, your wife, your kids, your extended family, the media puts on you every moment of your life is the reason why your brain is always on the alarm mode where you either fly or fight, constantly. And It makes you sick, tired, injured and sleepless.
When you can finally cut five minutes for yourself, what do you usually do? Let me guess…. Do you open an application on your phone, making sure that you have not missed any important post from someone that you don’t even know, or do you light a cigarette, or a joint, or maybe you eat a chocolate bar or a bag of chips? And don’t forget to drink plenty of coffee, make sure that you keep moving on the high that your day is requiring you. There is nothing wrong with it if you really feel a positive benefits from all the above things, but let’s be real and objective. Don’t mistake the real meaning of a break where you pause your brain and look after your body, with actions that accumulate more tiredness, fatigue and stress.
Have you ever stopped for a second to think about the consequences that each decision that you make has on the efficiency of your day, on a professional and personal and health level?
I personally never did, until recently.
When I used to work with competition horses, there were days were I would work nonstop 15, 18 hours a day. I remember that, just like me, many of my colleagues would have the same kind of day where the only actual break was 30 minutes at the cafeteria to either enjoy a quiet breakfast or lunch, but with always the phone on the table.
The rest of the day was spent on my feet, or on a horse; in those never ending days, the only comfort were my coca cola, my cigarettes, my chocolate bars and chips and random messages and phone calls that were keeping myself from feeling the loneliness of a job that was so high demanding, stressing and nomadic.
Few years have gone by since I quit that life, but it was not until a few weeks ago that I realized how important and needed is to have active and healthy pauses during working hours.
I was at the insurance office in Quepos, my new home town in Costa Rica, to renew my policy when I asked the lady that helped me with my paper work how often she would get up from her chair during her working shift. Her answer was twice. Once during her coffee break, and the other one for lunch. Maybe, and only if it was really, really needed, once more to go to the toilette. I was astonished. And worried. I started to think about all the people that work in a bank, in public offices, or Private Corporation that have the same faith. It just seemed very unfair to me, and I’ve also began to understand the reason of the inefficiency of many of them, but also their bad moods and unfriendly looks.
Try to put yourself in their shoes, unless you are already wearing them. It is just simply unhuman, just like it is if you were working any other job that puts you under any sort of stress, weather it is physical or mental.
This was the starting point for me to develop and finally create a plan of active pauses at work that would include stretching exercises, the implementation of concentration and meditation methods that practice a couple of times a day, for 5 or ten minutes each break, would dramatically improve the wellbeing of the employees and its efficiency at work.
Innsaei Costa Rica Yoga and Wellness proudly creates tailor-made programs that suits the needs of different typology of companies and their work force, to ensure that both interests are met in the most efficient, productive and healthy possible way.
A healthy workforce is the real richness of a company. The sooner we get this point, the better it’ll be for all of us.