This is a guest post from my friend Stephane Tessier from TiredButWhy.com.
For my work (in France), I've had to go to numerous customers and I can testify that professional spaces are often too standard. Without even noticing, it can have a negative impact on each one's wellness.
The desks are all the same. The people dress the same way. But specially, the behaviors are standardized. One compares to the others, and tries not to draw attention or to seem too different. Of course, that is not the case for all companies. Especially, small ones tend to be more relaxed.
In this article, I will encourage you to go against the conventions in order to preserve your physical and mental health. Don't be afraid of the looks of other people.
Easy to say, but technically, what does that mean exactly? Let's get into examples.
A fruit salad in the morning in the office?
When it's allowed, I sometimes do fruit salads in the office. I have under my desk (or on it, or wherever) some apples, oranges, bananas, sometimes kiwis, oatmeal, grated coconut... I also have my knife with me, my spoon and my bowl. And there we go, I cut my fruits every morning and I prepare an amazing fruit salad.
I hesitated a bit before doing it, because it may not look very pro. But since I get the job done... What happened next? Actually, it brings attention, but in a good way. It adds a topic to talk about, that is not related to work. Some hesitate to copy, others just think it's funny. Absolutely no complaints.
Besides, I save a lot of time in the morning and I associate a delightful moment to my work (I associate positive thoughts to my job). It's a win!
For lunch, it's the same, I make up my own salad
It is nothing I did every day. But when I could, I often composed my own salads for lunch. That implies doing groceries, but it's a win on at least two points: cheaper and healthier (I buy organic, non-processed, and I'm sure there are no additives). When there is a lunch room available, it's a great alternative.
I might have had some people joking around at first, but never in a mean way. People wonder if I am on a diet or something. Once again, it opens discussion upon fascinating topics or stories. I just tell them that not only I like to eat healthy, but I also just like the taste. Some might feel guilty, some might follow...
In any case, behaving differently stimulates the exchanges and gives you more personality! People like to see your character traits. That just makes you more human and therefore accessible and friendly.
What about a nap?
I could try taking naps at work. Rarely more than 20 minutes. Don't go snore for 2 hours! Quite often, there is that moment when nobody talks around you. It usually means that someone is trying to discretely take a picture of you with his phone. It's rarely the smartest guy around... Just ignore that. Short nap is now known as a productivity asset and no one will laugh about his picture, or maybe a few jealous ones that don't dare taking some rest while they crave for it.
Some people, because of the pressure, will go and sleep on the toilets seats so that nobody sees them. Don't be one of them! Start the movement and make napping a normal thing. If you hide, you maintain an emotion of feeling ashamed of what you do. We live in a crazy moment where every body is tired, but every body pretends otherwise.
What about meditation?
Meditations meets napping where both are going to rest the brain. Meditation is more powerful than napping, but still a bit less known. Even if today many people meditate daily, still many people are ready to make fun of you.
What may happen if you dare meditating in your office? This will obviously depend on your colleagues and their mindset, but here is a possible scenario: you meditate and someone makes fun of you. Then statistically someone will naturally take your defense. Eventually, the fact that you had support will prevent any future joke about it, and you will be able to meditate in peace.
Once again, dare being the first! You need a buttload of courage to meditate at work, and your colleagues now it. You send a strong message here: "I don't really care about what you may think of me".
If possible, be or pretend to be energetic after your moment of rest, in order to show other peoples all the benefices that you get from it.
Spending the whole day behind a screen will fatigue the eyes for sure. In order to fix eyes dryness and tiredness, I often need to do eye exercises. And I can only advise you to do the same if don't already. Once again, it will make people wonder. Just tell them! "I have dry eyes and I need to do that to relieve them". They will surely understand.
If your eyes are tired too often and you don't know what exercises to do, I suggest some nice eye exercises for tired eyes on my blog.
Working standing up
Working standing up has become a big trend. The problem, on one side, is that you need to find a place where you can actually do that right. On the other side, staying up all day long is not recommended for the back. So you need to alternate between sitting and standing positions.
If your office allows it, the best is to get one of those standing desks, that can easily switch from standing to sitting position. Another option could be, if you have a laptop, to change table and use for instance the one from the coffee corner when it's quiet. As for me, I just added some cardboard boxes to make both my laptop and my extra screen high enough. It's the solution of the poor, but it works perfectly find, as far as you make sure the height is the right one for you.
Switching position will make you more dynamic (physically and intellectually), what others will surely notice. You will once again open a debate, so get ready to tell them how you like new experiments and the benefits that you should get from that one.
Still, be careful not to isolate yourself
Whatever you decide doing, tell it or show it. Do not hide, because people will find your behavior weird. If you do it in front of them, they will more easily dare asking questions.
The other way around, if nobody ask any question, do not feel like you have to justify yourself with everlasting monologues. You will then look like someone trying to impose its ideas upon others. Keep it to a dialogue.
By daring adopting your own behavior, you affirm yourself as an individual in front of the others. You will also trigger curiosity from your colleagues. This might open a debate. Maybe some will want to copy you. Anyhow, you dare bringing some of your personality into an over standardized office place.
You don't need to do exactly what I said in this article. I just gave here some exemples of my own. Do whatever feels good and natural for you. Take care of yourself. You could maybe start slowly by just bringing a nice plant to your desk? And don't forget to have fun.
90% of the people that will read that article may not change anything to their life. Dare being part of the 10% that act!