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With an ongoing pandemic and recent political turmoil, many people have been living in a storm of stress which has negatively impacted their well being. Prolonged stress in human beings directly impacts their health, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, depression, sleep disorders and many others. In order to prevent this happening, experts recommend the following lifestyle habits that can reduce your stress levels:
Meditation: Doing meditation exercises regularly is proven to help lower cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate. A simple meditation requires you to bring your full attention to your breath and inhaling/exhaling through your nose. If you feel your mind starting to wander off, focus back to your breath without judgement.
Exercise breaks: If you work at home and don’t do much movement during the day, regular physical activity is a great way to reduce stress and keep a strong immune system. Engaging in a 30 minute exercise break every day will increase your heart rate and oxygenate your body, boosting your endorphin levels and reducing stress.
Take a nap (or two): Consistent poor sleep is directly related to higher stress levels. If you have trouble sleeping at night, try taking two naps no longer than 30 minutes each to counteract the negative effects of sleep deprivation.
Listen to the music you love: Experts have proven that playing your favorite tune can boost your mood, relax your muscles and release some of the accumulated stress during the day. Music is effective for relaxation and stress management, depending if you put on some classical music or some heavy metal.
What other lifestyle habits can you think of that helps you reduce stress levels in this unique day and age?
The world has changed in many radical ways after the pandemic of 2020 and we are only slowly starting to return to normality, only that this ‘new normal’ will have many differences on how we do things. For instance, the necessity of working remotely during the pandemic has shown many businesses that employees can in fact work from home and still be productive. Bringing more work to our household will become much more common this 2021. For this reason, we have gathered some important tips that can help you increase productivity at home, while keeping space and time for family and private matters.
Set a structure
It is important that you do not mix family life and work constantly; otherwise you will not be fully present in either case. Set a schedule for the hours you are working and when you are off. Turn off your computer when you are done working and mute notifications on your phone so you can be present with your co-inhabitants and loved ones.
Build a good setting
Try to replicate the ergonomics of your workstation in the office. Make sure you get enough fresh air, good lighting and have a proper desk and chair for work. Avoid working from the couch or bed, otherwise you might experience aches throughout your body due to bad postures.
Move and stretch
Working from home means you are mainly stationary as you don’t have to get up as often as in the office for meetings, lunch breaks, conferences and the like. They say sitting is the new smoking because a sedentary life can trigger many health risks. Set rituals for going out for walks, stretch your body every hour and drink plenty of wholesome liquids like plain water, herbal tea or fruit/veggie shakes. These healthy rituals will also help you in keeping focus and avoiding ‘cabin fever’, which is quite common when you do not change the environment for long periods of time.
Save time for you
You also have to make time for the things you love. As a rule of thumb, keep evenings and weekends sacred, completely free of work. Spend time reading, watching the news, playing with your kids or making a long delicious meal in the kitchen. Productivity is not about working hard for long hours, but instead, it is about feeling sharp-minded and energized during the hours you set to work.
Be extra communicative and friendly
Some research says that communication is 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and only 7% is the actual message you are getting across. When we work remotely, we lose much of the richness of human communication. To compensate for this, it is important that you keep a friendly and positive tone in your emails and messages. It is often a good idea to add a little emoji - ☺ - when you say ‘thanks’ or ‘you are welcome’, so the recipient of the message can sense your mood and sincerity.
Quality video conferencing
Here are the top 5 tips for your online meetings:
Sign in 5 minutes early to make sure you have a stable connection and correct links for the conference.
Focus on the lightning of your surroundings; you want to have light shining on your face and no source of light directly behind you.
Mute your mic when you are not talking to avoid disruptive noises.
Do not multitask during the meeting. Keep your phone away and focus on the meeting.
When sharing your screen, turn off any messaging applications and close any sensitive data like your email or confidential work material. Be sure to close any non-work related browser tabs or material you might have open.
the US in banning the use of natural gas in any new buildings. This prohibition will require new constructions to rely on the electric grid instead, and will apply to more than 54,000 homes and 32 million square feet business space that are lined up to be constructed from July 2021 onwards.
This ban will directly reduce the city’s climate impact, as natural gas is the San Francisco’s second-largest source of climate-warming pollution - around 40% of its overall emissions, and in terms of buildings, natural gas use is responsible for 80% of the city’s emissions. People will be able to breathe cleaner air, without the nitrogen oxide pollution from more natural gas machinery.
Besides avoiding building out more gas infrastructure that would increase greenhouse gas emissions in the city, the new all-electric new construction will also save money in terms of upfront costs and by avoiding unnecessary spending on gas pipes. The city could also allow some new mixed-fuel buildings if an all-electric building is physically and technically infeasible, but they hope this will not happen in the majority of cases.
Cities across the State of California are also passing restrictions to limit fossil fuel use, as well as plans to phase out gas-powered vehicles sales by 2035 and improve the electric vehicle infrastructure so they can stay charged and on the move in the highways.
The future's looking bright, and clean, for California. Let’s hope more cities and countries around the world join in!