Define corporation: “a large company or group of companies authorised to act as a single entity”

We all know the corporate feel. Suits, white walls, stuffy meeting rooms, boards of the expressionless, and not much in the way of light-hearted humanity. It can be a soul-crushing worklife, but one that many of us must engage in for at least a short while until things work out for us. So let’s say that at the moment where you’re at in life means you can’t afford to be picky. You’ve got bills to pay and mouths to feed. I get it. This job isn’t inspiring or active in the way that you’d like it to be, but it’s what has to be done, for the moment at least. How can you make it through without feeling like your head is either going to explode or shut down at any moment? There are ways! I’m telling you, there are ways.

First we’ve got to look at how desk-based corporate work affects our health. It’s not rocket science: the answer is badly.

More and more of the jobs available to us in developed nations are sedentary. They are jobs involving sitting at a computer. If we add in using a car to get to and from these jobs, we’re talking about the majority of our waking hours spent on our asses without actually using our bodies. That’s a pretty morbid (literally) thought, isn’t it? How do you go about killing yourself slowly but surely? You engage in a lifetime pursuit of slouching in the same position every day, likely also consuming some heavily-processed food at your desk. You wonder why you’re putting on weight. You wonder why you’re so miserable. Your skin doesn’t have a glow to it anymore. You look dull, tired and damn right down.

Part of the human evolutionary process is to make things easier for ourselves. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. But this backfires immensely when it comes to the corporate agenda. You see, no matter how hard we (I say “we” meaning the powers that be) try to monopolize this world with dull, pointless corporations, we have to realise that humans will never be able to act like robots and be consistently happy. No matter how much they want it, we’re meant for so much more. We need movement and creativity and freedom in our lives to maintain true happiness and success.

So, with that being said, here are 4 ways to engage in the corporate world short-term without losing all of your mind, body and soul:

  1. Commute in the most active way possible. You may well live a ridiculous distance away from your place of work and need a car. If so, unless you fancy moving closer then there’s not much you can do for this one. But to those driving when you could instead be walking or cycling, now is the time to make the switch. An active commute does so much for your health – both physically and mentally. A study found that those who cycled to work were 40% less stressed than drivers. The opportunity to commute in this way gives you time to relax and work any stress off prior to beginning your day. Likewise, at the end of a busy day. It can also be a great time to listen to podcasts and enrich that brain of yours. (Hello, Hello Internet)
  2. Make a conscious decision to take a lunch break. I know what it’s like. As soon as one of your colleagues takes a working lunch at his or her desk, suddenly the standards are upped. Everyone feels that in order to prove themselves, they too must work through their lunch. Newsflash, though: you aren’t being paid for that break! Therefore, do yourself a favour and take it. Change the scenery and get some fresh air. Take a short walk if you can manage it. This is a great way to hit refresh and be mentally prepared to kick ass during the second part of the day.
  3. Keep inspirational material visible. Whether this is a calendar with all the exciting things coming up or a photo of where you’ve saving to go on vacation, remind yourself of why you work to live – not live to work. This will save you during your mid-afternoon slump.
  4. Be nice to your co-workers, because you might need them one day. Depending on where you work, there might be a bit of a competitive streak that runs through the company. But there’s no ‘i’ in team, after all, and all that ‘my way or the highway‘ attitude gets you is loathing and isolation. Plus, in the distant future when you’re doing your own thing, you might just need to call on one of your colleagues from the past. Remember that karma isn’t afraid to come round and bite you in the ass. Therefore, be nice and it will go a long way in your success.

Have you managed to kick ass at corporate thing? What got you through?

Photo via Unsplash

 

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October is right around the corner, and with it comes darker evenings and the calling for coats and scarves.

I get excited about all this initially. The weather turns and the leaves take on that familiar crispiness. The windows are steamed up in the morning. The trees in the park delight the eyes with their array of gold and red shades. There is the anticipation of all the holidays coming up in the season. Autumn.

But for someone like myself who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), there is a flipside to all the gorgeousness of fall. It tends to crop up in November when there’s been a week of constant rain. It then settles in for the long haul, not removing itself until Spring.

So what to do about it all? How does on conquer SAD? This is a list for myself, primarily, as I prepare for the winter ahead, but I also hope this can help you. Perhaps you’re a SAD sufferer looking for tips. Perhaps you don’t even know what SAD is, but are wondering why you feel so miserable every winter. I’m here to talk you through it.

The NHS describes SAD as a depression brought about by the change in seasons. It is caused predominantly by a decrease in daylight and subsequent increase in melatonin production (the hormone that makes you feel sleepy). As with any depression, the effects can vary enormously from one person to the next. The most common symptoms include low mood, loss of interest in hobbies and a social life, cravings for carb-heavy foods and general feeling of lethargy.

I blame the severity of my SAD on the fact that I grew up in hot places.  Perhaps that’s the case. Perhaps it’s because mental illness runs in the family. I’m not really sure that it matters. How I deal with it is what makes all the difference.

How to Deal

  1. Realise that it’s an actual thing. It’s actually really relieving to give your brain a reason for why it’s feeling so low. Reassure yourself that it’s because you’ve got less daylight and your circadian rhythms are a little off. Don’t feel guilty for feeling the way you do.
  2. Get as much time outside as you can. I know, it’s cold and probably raining, but force yourself outside as much as possible. If you have a 9-5 office job that means you leave the house in the dark and return in the dark, take a lunch break outside if you can. Even if it’s overcast, being out in natural daylight will help tremendously. And on your days off, be out in nature and force yourself to notice what’s around you and beautiful in it’s own wintery way.
  3. Eat a balanced diet. I know the temptation to binge on junk food is there when you’re feeling low, but this will only ever make you feel worse. Get loads of fresh veggies in your body and keep your sugar intake low.
  4. Try a SAD lamp! I’m a huge fan of these, having owned one myself. The idea is that you turn it on as you’re getting up and ready in the morning to simulate rising with the sun (even if it’s painfully dark outside). Your seratonin production (the hormone that makes you feel awake) is boosted and you are on track to feeling more energised.
  5. Keep busy. I know, it’s the hardest thing to find motivation when you are feeling low, but keeping dates in your diary for doing the activities that you enjoy and seeing your friends and family will always warm your mood. Force yourself out the first few times and it’ll get easier.
  6. Have things to look forward to. This is the most important one for me. If I don’t have anything exciting on the horizon, my mood plummets like there really is no tomorrow. Having a trip planned will see you through the winter. I’m generally pretty miserable in November and January-February, so this year I’ve got a trip away planned in November and likewise will soon be booking one in for February. Having something to look forward to can push you through those darkest days and remind you that there is something exciting to live for.
  7. Know that without the really short days and endless overcast skies, we would not have such long summer nights. With yin, there is yang and so balance must be maintained.

 

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