3 easy ways to get more sun during the workday
Here's how to harness the sunlight, even if you're sitting in an office all day.
We're mid-way through summer, but if you work full-time, you may not be feeling the season's full benefits.
Spending 40+ hours a week in a seasonless office under fluorescent lighting and frigid A/C can leave even the most indoorsy of us feeling restless, like we're missing out on all the sunshine until the weekend.
Exposure to daylight is a known mood-booster and plays an important role in regulating our circadian rhythm, or our sleep-wake cycle, and the earlier sunrises and later sunsets of summer mean there's more sunshine to go around. But many workers feel sun-deprived: One report from The Workforce Institute and Kronos Incorporated found that as many as 39 percent of people with full-time jobs admit to having taken a "sick" day to instead enjoy the summer weather.
A day job doesn't have to be devoid of daylight. Try mixing up your workday with these Thrive Microsteps for beating the summer slump and boosting your mood and performance through Labor Day.
Schedule a walking meeting, or take a call outdoors
You don't have to set your busy workload aside to enjoy a change of scenery. Instead of booking a conference room per usual for an upcoming meeting, or a phone booth for a call, take it outside. Pick a short, quiet path for a walking meeting or a phone call. Your colleagues will appreciate the break from routine, and you may find that simply stepping out of our usual environment takes your conversations in new and exciting directions. When you return to your desk you'll feel refreshed and ready to focus.
Take a lunchtime stroll, even if you brown-bagged your meal
Lunch is an ideal time to head out to grab a bite or a midday coffee or tea, but you don't need to have a destination in mind — or even spend any money — to take advantage of this natural pause point in the workday. Even if you brought your lunch to the office or had an on-site team meal, pop outside for a short walk, or join some co-workers on their food run. Just 20-30 minutes outside, even in a city setting, has been found to lower our levels of cortisol, known as the stress hormone, according to one recent study from the University of Michigan in Frontiers in Psychology.
Work near a window for creative inspiration
If you have a lot on your plate and can't step away from your desk, "Try shifting the orientation of your desk to face the window, so you can look at nature," Nevin Harper, Ph.D., professor at the University of Victoria and co-author of Nature-Based Therapy, suggests to Thrive. This simple seating change can increase your daylight exposure without even setting foot outside the office. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that employees who sat in proximity to a window were more physically active and slept longer, and reported higher quality sleep overall than those whose workstations were far from windows or in windowless offices.
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Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
- "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.
- Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
- The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
- Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
As tempting as it may be to run away from emotionally-difficult situations, it's important we confront them head-on.
- Impossible-sounding things are possible in hospitals — however, there are times when we hit dead ends. In these moments, it's important to not run away, but to confront what's happening head-on.
- For a lot of us, one of the ways to give meaning to terrible moments is to see what you can learn from them.
- Sometimes certain information can "flood" us in ways that aren't helpful, and it's important to figure out what types of data you are able to take in — process — at certain times.