These days, we’re being told that sitting is the new smoking; stress, too – whether mental or physical – can lead to an unhealthy life. And we all know what the consequences of bad habits can be.
Dr James Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic says, “any extended sitting – in a car, at a computer or in front of a screen – can be harmful”. So, we thought we’d explore some healthier alternatives to the traditional ham or box of chocolates as office Christmas gifts, and perhaps inspire others to start on the right path for a stress-free 2023.
Apple Watch – stand goal
There is no amount of exercise that can combat the adverse effects from prolonged sitting. Roles that are traditionally desk-bound include programmers, administrators, engineers, and designers. And it’s not just the desk they’re sitting at. Those of us who sit at a desk will typically also sit on the bus, train or tram to and from work, and sit in front of the TV in the evening as well. It all adds up.
Even though Apple Watch has a variety of functions, there’s one feature in particular that can break your sitting routine. Using haptics – a tiny tap on your wrist – Apple Watch encourages you to stand for one minute out of every hour you sit. You can use this reminder feature up to 12 hours a day. (If it wasn’t for using this feature, I’d find myself tapping away at the keyboard, staring at the screen, for hours on end, getting dry eyes, stiff joints, and other aches and pains.)
You may think this is an expensive item to give as a gift, but if your team members have been achieving big goals, it could be the very thing that shows just how much you appreciate what they do. At the very least, it would make a nice present for yourself!
Handheld massage guns, otherwise known as percussion therapy devices, were all the rage one or two Christmases back, but being late to the game, I only bought myself one very recently. I now understand their popularity. It’s a fantastic device for warm-up, recovery, and pain relief. The device delivers percussive massage, a continuous tapping that oscillates 40 times per second and reaches 16mm into the muscle. Therabody claims the device works by increasing circulation to the muscles and blocking pain signals to the brain.
A Theragun may not be something you want to buy for everyone on the team, but it could easily be something you gift to the office, or keep in company vehicles, for your staff to use when they need to. Therabody recommends starting the day with a two-minute massage and ending the day with another two minutes.
Any computer user who has ever had discomfort from a pinched nerve in the shoulder or pain radiating out from the shoulder blade, may know that this is caused by repetitive movements by using a traditional mouse. Micro clicking movements with the arm rotating back and forth over a long period of time can cause severe pain over a long period of time.
I had a moment one year when I thought I would have to give up my job because of the level of pain I was experiencing from using a mouse. I was distraught. One of our programmers introduced me to RollerMouse Red from Contour Design and I am forever grateful. Instead of using your right or left hand to roll the mouse and click with your pointer finger, the mouse sits horizontally in front of your keyboard as a roller bar, and you click using your thumbs. Although it’s expensive, this one device eliminated my pain and gave me my career back. It’s worth every penny. Your team will thank you for it!
As part of the technology startup world, I get to meet some incredible founders and have the pleasure of trying their products. One of is the FocusBand from FrequencyTech. (I understand they’ll be going through a name change soon, so be advised.) FocusBand is a head band with sensors that measures your brainwave frequency. It tells you, via an app, which state your brain is in – whether you’re distracted, in creative mode, or in a state of flow – and helps you develop the state you want to be in within minutes. Ideally, you use the device once a day (not for the whole day) to train yourself on improving focus.
Again, this is a superb Christmas gift for the whole team to help them develop their focus and get more enjoyment from their work, so they’re happier and more productive team. Use the “Request a Demo” form to learn more about this product.
Sip and Paint – or Paint and Sip
This year, the Way We Do team got together in person to enjoy a Paint and Sip class to celebrate the end of the year and acknowledge all their great work. The one we went to was called “Pinot & Picasso” (though you don’t actually have to be Picasso, as the class was for all levels).
The instructor shows a finished painting on the wall, then guides you how to re-create it, step-by-step (yes, it’s a process flow!) We started with a completely blank canvas, and the instructor guided us from start to finish. Yes, we sipped as we painted, and we were all very proud of what we were able to create (see the results below). It’s a shame I didn’t bring the limoncello though. It would have topped the afternoon off quite nicely!
The Way We Do team with our lemony creations. (L to R: xxx, Dan, Jonah, xxx, Chinenye, xxx, and me!)
Wellness apps: Headspace
Another great office Christmas gift idea for your team is an annual subscription for a wellness app. One app that’s both cool credible is Headspace. Headspace’s content focuses on meditation, help falling asleep, exercises to strengthen your mental and physical wellbeing, training and music to boost your ability to focus, and inspiring morning stories to start your day. Notably, the app offers subscription options for businesses. Ask the Headspace team about getting a demo.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Most importantly, take some time for yourself to enjoy all the good things about Christmas. We look forward to sharing another happy, productive year with you in 2023.