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Earlier this month, we left our desks and swivel chairs and headed over to OneWellness Harrogate. November 1st was National Stress Awareness Day, and as with any workplace, we are partial to a little stress. Stress can come in all sorts of forms, from matters we experience at work, to the positions our bodies are in while we sit at a desk all day. This national day is all about promoting the importance of wellbeing, and we wanted to jump onboard.

The Importance of Being Active in the Office

Different Seating Areas in the Zelst Office

Working in a field that involves a lot of sitting behind a computer screen places a lot of stress on our body, which can be really detrimental to our posture. In the long-term, this can lead to all sorts of problems. With our recent and very exciting office move, we had already started to create different seating areas within the new space. We wanted to place an importance on being more mobile around the office. Through beanbags, standing desks, sofas, and more, the Zelst team can now be more active during the day.

In light of this change in working, we wanted to explore even more avenues that would help us to combat workplace stress and improve the wellbeing of the team. Fortunately, we are now neighbours with the lovely team at OneWellness, a centre that combines health, physical fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness into one. Luckily, they were just as excited to help a local business with their wellbeing as we were to be shown the ropes in what we should be doing in the workplace. They offered to sort something out for us on National Stress Awareness Day, and were happy to educate us about posture and provide us with some stress management exercises.

Learning About Posture at the Desk

Learning About Posture

We knew sitting at a desk was bad for our bodies, but we didn’t realise it was 350-percent-more-pressure on-your-back-than-standing bad! After this shocking statistic, we were all ears. Stephen Kirk, the physiotherapist at OneWellness, started us off with some brilliant advice on how we should be positioned at our desk: screens at eye level, elbows bent to 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor, and pokey chin is to be avoided at all costs. Steve created a booklet for each of us, with lots of useful information that we could apply to our workstations back at the Zelst office.

We were quite happy to sit on the comfy sofas in our comfy gym wear and have Steve talk to us, but it was time to get active. It was National Stress Awareness Day afterall. We had the whole centre to ourselves and Simon, head personal trainer at OneWellness, had kindly created a circuit for us. In all honesty, it was slightly intimidating at first! However, Simon made it extremely fun and we laughed through the pain…

Stress Management Exercises

Stress Management Exercises

The guys at OneWellness had stressed the importance of participating in exercise positions and techniques that were the opposite of our usual positions at the desk. This meant stretching our bodies in ways they don’t get to do during a day at work (without looking extremely odd). After a warmup on the bikes and treadmill, we each went to a station in the circuit. Everything from rowing, dumbbell squats, tricep dips, and the plank – we were put through our paces! But it was a refreshing change from a usual Wednesday afternoon.

An hour later and we were all extremely sweaty but feeling energised and refreshed. We could immediately feel the benefits of getting out of the office and doing something active. Doing anything for a prolonged period of time is never good, and so sitting in the same position at a desk is equally as bad.

We’ve learnt just how important it is to combat stress and maintain a healthy wellbeing. Exercise can help with this both physically and mentally, even for all gym-phobics out there! In any workplace, a stress-free team is going to be a happy team, and a happy team is a productive team! We’re definitely going to continue with more stress-relieving activities at work, and we can’t wait to reap the benefits (watch out for our six-packs).