Workspace Wellness

Boost Your Mental and Physical Health Working Remotely

If there’s a silver lining to the past year, it’s the ability for most of us to work from the comfort of our own home. No commute, no business attire and no noisy coworkers! However, working remotely can come with unique challenges when it comes to mental and physical wellness: burnout, loneliness and uncomfortable working conditions. Here are some workplace wellness tips for the home to help keep you happy, healthy and productive1

Establish a Daily Routine
It is so important to keep the ritual of your regular morning routine as if you were still leaving the house to go to work. Set your alarm for your regular waking time, shower and dress, make your breakfast and coffee, etc. Consider scheduling in a few minutes of meditation every morning before you sign into work. It’s a great way to start your day with a clear and focused mind! You can find many free guided meditations online or through your mobile app.   

Create a Designated Office Space
Not everyone has the luxury of a private office space to work in. If possible, avoid working on your bed or couch. Aside from the back pain you’ll experience, it will be difficult to get into “working mode” in these spaces. Experts highly encourage you to find a dedicated space in your home with natural light, enough space for all your materials and an excellent desk chair! Did you know the average worker sits for approximately 10 hours a day?* Therefore, it’s extremely important to invest in a durable chair with a supportive back.

A separate working space also lets you disconnect at the end of the day. If your office is also the place where you sleep and watch television every night it will be difficult to differentiate work from relaxation.  

Take a Break

Set limits on how long you sit and stare at your computer screen. You need breaks to stretch your body, eat your meals and decompress. Schedule at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Take a stroll around your neighborhood, do an online workout video or try some yoga moves. 

Remember, just because you are at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a coffee or a lunch break. Avoid eating in front of your computer as much as possible. If needed, schedule your lunch breaks at a certain time every day, so your coworkers know that you are not reachable during that time.

Stay Social
Make it a point to stay connected and bond with your coworkers through Zoom lunches or virtual team Happy Hours. Send your best friend a text or give your mom a call – chances are she would love to hear from you! Smile and wave to people you see on your walks when strolling through your neighborhood on a break. We are social beings and we need to maintain that human connection!

Structure a Beginning and End to Your Day
Working from home makes it very easy to stay connected until the late hours of the day. To maintain mental wellness, it is important to set limits and end your work days as you normally would in a traditional office setting. Keep track of your hours to make sure you aren’t constantly working overtime. 

Work smart with workspace wellness to help maintain your active wellness.

1https://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/article/promote-wellness-work

*WashingtonPost.com

Turmeric: Hot Topic of the Year!

If you like yellow curry, you’ve probably tasted turmeric. It’s commonly found in Indian, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese, Thai and other Asian cuisines, because it’s the primary spice in curry. In food and manufacturing, turmeric essential oil is used in perfumes and cosmetics, and its resin is used as a flavor enhancer and color component in foods. Its bright yellow color has been a source of natural dyes for centuries, and its root is widely used to make medicine. That’s just for starters.

What all the talk centers around is the more than 600 purported health benefits. Since 1900 B.C. (the time of Ayurveda) turmeric in various forms (sliced, ground, powdered, tinctured, etc.) has been used to address a wide range of conditions. It’s touted to help the skin, pulmonary and gastrointestinal systems as well as the joints. It’s been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer activities.1

What is of particular interest to us is that turmeric is known to protect the brain in a variety of ways, because it is “a potent antioxidant that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier.” 2 Some specific brain boosting abilities are attributed to the natural chemical in turmeric called curcumin.

  • It is believed to improve memory and concentration by increasing blood flow and neurotransmitter formation.3
  • It increases the production of serotonin and dopamine, two of the brain chemicals that produce a feeling of contentment or happiness.4
  • It helps increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).5 BDNF is a protein that stimulates brain cell production.
  • The omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA is a major building block of the brain. Its deficiency is believed to be the cause of various neurological disorders. Curcumin enhances DHA synthesis and increases its levels in the brain.6

Although curcumin is known as an active component, the entire root or the whole turmeric plant serves a variety of purposes. For example, there is turmerone, a beneficial compound found in turmeric root. Studies and research have been conducted to show how turmerone stimulates the production of new neurons which can be useful for degenerative brain diseases, traumatic brain injury and stroke.7 Research in these areas with relation to the use of stem cells in the treatment of certain neurological conditions is fairly new, but scientists are making headway with the effects of turmerone on brain disorders.8

Turmeric (root) is the third ingredient in the organic fermented brain support blend that makes up the NikkenWellness Clarity formula.

1 Aggarwal BB, Sundaram C, Malani N, Ichikawa H., Curcumin: the Indian solid gold, Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:1-75. (PubMed ID 17569205) 

2 Orlando RA, Gonzales AM, Royer RE, Deck LM, Vander Jagt DL, A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization. 2012, PLoS ONE 7(3): e31869. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031869

3 Awad, AS, Cerebrovasc Dis., J Stroke, 2011 Nov 20(6):541-8. Epub 2010 Aug 17.

4 Kulkarni, S.K., Bhutani, M.K. & Bishnoi, M., Antidepressant activity of curcumin: involvement of serotonin and dopamine system, Psychopharmacology (2008) 201:435.

5 Ying Su, Baoshan Ku, Lu Tie, Haiyan Yao, Wengao Jiang, Xing Ma, Xuejun Li, Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB, Brain Research Vol. 1122, Issue 1, 2006, pages 56 -64.

6 Wu, A, Noble, EE, Tyagi, E, Ying, Z, Zhuang, Y, Gomez-Pinilla, F, Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders, Biochim Biophys Acta, 2015 May: 1852(5): 951-61. Epub 2014 Dec 27.

7 Hucklenbroich, J. etal, Aromatic-turmerone induces neural stem cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo, Stem Cell Res Ther. 2014; 5(4):100.

8 Sun Young Park, Mei Ling Jin, Young Hun Kim, YoungHee Kim, San Joon Lee, Anti-inflammatory effects of aromatic-turmerone through blocking of NF-kB , JNK, and p38 MAPK signaling pathways in amyloid β-stimulated microglia, Intl Immunopharmacology, Vol 14, Issue 1, September 2012, Pages 13-20.