Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
Getting fit with your dog means more than running on a treadmill or jogging around the neighborhood, it also means taking time to chill out. In upstate New York, where I am, chilling out meant something different as the wind chills dipped to double digit negative numbers. What “getting fit with my pet and chilling out” means to me is that in my constantly-rushing-around-being-online world I need to step back, close the office door, turn the smart phone off and lie on the couch with Henrietta at my side and Calico Lucy on my chest and just soak up the relaxation they offer by their gentle presence. I will be the first to admit that Henrietta is a high strung, jumping around, barking a lot creature but when she relaxes, she truly knows how to bring it! Calico Lucy, by her very cat nature knows how to nap and relax.
We blog frequently about amping up productivity, making the most of our blogging hours, blogging several times a week and keeping up with social media. We, here at BlogPaws, also realize that when you’re doing all of this computer work, you’re not getting up and moving around. I have to say that being a breast cancer survivor gives you a new perspective and outlook on life and you learn to recognize your body’s signals and you know when it’s time to put up the “Closed” sign for the day.
If you don’t take a break (I get up at the top of every hour and do at least some physical exercise whether it’s laundry, taking Hen to do “outs” or jumping jacks — something to get the heart pumping) your health in addition to your productivity will suffer.
Getting fit with your pets means giving your mind a chance to relax, unwind and simply turn off for a while. Do you truly want to play on your computer or smart phone when you have a lapful of adoring pet? I doubt it! Here are my top tips for taking a mental vacation — even if it’s only for an few minutes every hour or an entire Sunday if you plan it right!
- Take a breath. Do you notice that when you’re stressed you take shallow breaths? You do; and when you do it amps up your blood pressure and makes you less productive. Stop and take a deep breath. This increases the oxygen in your blood and helps your circulation. Close your eyes and breathe in deeply five times. “Proper” breathing methods for this are to inhale deeply through your nose and exhale out your mouth. Deep breathing will focus your thoughts, help clear brain fog and make you better able to take on the next task.
- Listen to your body. When I get stressed I notice my shoulders creep up to my ears and I am all hunched over. I have to take conscious steps to relax my shoulders. I find that a heated corn or barley bag draped across them keeps me from hunching up (the extra weight helps). Stop and flex your fingers and your arms a few times an hour, especially if you’ve been frantically typing away. Do shoulder rolls to loosen the kinks. Close your eyes and do head rolls to help yourself relax and re-focus.
- Get up and move around. Because I listen to the radio all day I notice that at the top of every hour the talk show hosts stop talking and a news break is introduced. During that three to five minute news break I get away from my desk, do jumping jacks, or squats or fast walk around the house (Henrietta loves that!) do the laundry… something, anything to get off of my posterior!
- Take a mental mini-vacation. If your workspace is cluttered, this won’t work so take some time to clear your desk! Choose a photo or a collectible item that you love and take a mini vacation by looking at the item or photo and simply relax. Put a tiny fish tank on your desk and watch the fish swim around. You don’t have to go far to find something to inspire and relax you if you plan it right.
- Smile and laugh. Yep, even if you’re stressed, chances are you can find something to smile or laugh about. Watch this dog bootie wearing video and I dare you not to laugh. Even if, like me, you work from home you can probably find a reason to laugh. If you have pets, there is no reason you can’t find a reason to smile! Smiling and laughing are proven stress reducers.
You don’t have to take hours out of your workday to employ any of these techniques and many of them can be done whether you work from home or in an office. Taking a mental break will definitely inspire and motivate your creativity so you can get back to that blogging, social media, and making cute videos of your pets!
What do you do when you know you need to be blogging, but also know you need to relax?