I was recently listening to a podcast with Tim Ferriss and Andrew Huberman where they chuckled about the fact that the best way to drive yourself crazy is to try and scientifically prove something in the nutrition world. It’s true because nutrition can be SO nuanced and what often works for one person, doesn’t for another. Plus, it’s difficult to control variables in nutrition science – hence why it can feel so confusing.
There are some basics that are not confusing and require no debate at all, many of which are the foundations of our workplace wellness programs and have an incredible result on how employees feel, engage, and show up day to day.
Wellness should absolutely not feel confusing, daunting or overwhelming. In fact, it should feel basic and simple, and we know that our uncomplicated, light-hearted approach to well-being is one of the reasons we receive such high engagement and results in our workplace wellness programs.
Even just mild dehydration (1-2% loss) can impair cognitive function and focus. When you’re dehydrated, you may experience difficulty concentrating, have a reduced attention span, and feel mentally foggy. Not to mention that the thirst sensation can be mistaken for hunger. In our Eating For Energy lunch and learn, we educate participants on starting the day off with water and then drinking ~2L of water per day. We love the reports that come in weeks and months afterward of how water is now an office priority!
This one sounds so simple, and yet it’s easy to go through the day without getting fresh air outside, especially if you have a desk job. We often challenge our program participants to get 15-20 minutes outside; even better if it’s before 10am, as this helps regulate your circadian rhythm because exposure to fresh air during the day can lead to better sleep at night.
Spending time in nature or open spaces with fresh air has been linked to improved mood and reduced stress levels. Fresh air can help promote relaxation and alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression.
We all know we should exercise, but it’s a matter of actually doing it. A gentle dose of motivation and rewards is how we have 98% of surveyed participants report they were more active during our wellness challenges. One of the best pieces of movement advice I have is to do something you love doing. When I was doing bootcamp classes (which I really didn’t like much), I was making every excuse in the world not to go to the class. Once I switched to running and yoga (which I love), exercise felt more doable.
Everyone has stressors in their lives; the science shows that those who focus and relish in the positive aspects of their lives can rewire their brains to a more positivity bias. One of the simplest ways to do this, which requires nothing but a pen and paper is a gratitude practice. I’m always reminded of the power of this exercise when participants rate it as one of the most impactful daily exercises they did in our program for their mental health.