Guest Post By Le Le Mac
I’m often labeled by others as the quiet, reserved, shy and introverted woman who is probably afraid to show her personality because she cares so much about what other people think. However, would a shy, introverted person get up every half an hour and do squats in front of colleagues in a professional space? Apparently so.
I started a new contract job a year ago at a small film production house, an office with under 10 employees, and conveniently, this was when I started to MOVE, which is essentially taking exercise breaks throughout my day at work. I previously worked in typical open-concept corporate environments, where taking coffee or smoke breaks was the norm for stress management, but MOVE-ing wasn’t. So, my self-consciousness about me being able to MOVE in a work environment stiffened my mindset and hindered me from doing anything outside the norm.
When I started this new job, I found it a great opportunity to practice moving outside my comfort zone.
When I first started doing MOVE, I felt I had to explain myself: the program and why I was doing it to my colleagues and to the whole lot of new interns coming in and out of the office. At first, when I got up unexpectedly to do my MOVEs, I got a lot of giggles and perhaps got perceived as the healthy/fitness conscious/quirky woman. I may have been seen as arrogant as well because whenever some of my co-workers would go out for a smoke, I would take that cue and get up to do a MOVE-ment instead. Wow, how annoying, right? At the end of the day, and at the end of this blog entry, I hope to convey that I cannot control how others perceive me, and I can only guess about what they think of me. The only thing in this situation that I can control is my health and what I can do that is best for my physical and mental health at work.
If my back aches because I’ve been sitting for too long, I get up to do some Mountain Bends and Warrior Poses. If I’m feeling stressed out and overwhelmed at work, I take a break for myself and do a Mindful Minute. Also, while I am doing a MOVE break, I am taking care of myself first and regarding others’ needs secondarily. Why? Because I recognize that my body and mind is what I own, what I’m attached to, and is what is essentially me. Other peoples’ perceptions, opinions and remarks do not define me.
So the next time you feel afraid of getting up to do a MOVE when others are sitting, just think about yourself and yourself only because, like what L’Oreal says, you are worth it.
By the way, it became the office norm for me to get up periodically to do my MOVEs, even during meetings and during conversations about how our weekends went. It also became the norm for others in the office to follow me and to do some MOVEs themselves.
As others pick up a cup of coffee or a cigarette to get through the day, I pick up a resistance band instead. I accepted that this is my norm, and chances are, others accept that as my norm as well.