Moving your career and relationships forward, while writing your NYT bestseller, may be really important. However, having a healthy body supporting you is essential. Without a healthy body, the rest falls apart … literally.

Mere minutes of taking care of yourself every day can add hours of productivity to your week. Nice trade-off, isn’t it? Since stress is cumulative—it comes from your body, work, environment, and lifestyle—if you reduce stress in any one area, everything else will function that much better.

Here are 3 Tips for improving health—and thereby increasing productivity—in the New Year:

Vision. When our eyes work most effectively, our brains process information better. Plus, we don’t get tired as quickly. Take a minute a few times a day, while working at your computer, to lightly massage your eyes and focus on something besides your computer screen. For more eye-exercises, look at my March column: The Eyes Have It.

Breathing. Believe it or not, breathing is a skill. And lots of people are really bad at it—myself included. Poor breathing habits can lead to brain fog, dizziness, poor sleep habits, and a host of other conditions. I talk in my February column—Take A Deep Breath—about how you can quickly test for breathing problems. Even if you breathe just fine, take a minute or two a couple times a day to just focus on taking relaxed, full breaths. It is a particularly effective calming-exercise. So, that moment, when you determine your project needs another rewrite, is the perfect time to practice your breathing!

Movement. I’m a big fan of regular exercise, but even if your version of cardio is shopping at the mall, there are reasons why regular movement makes you smarter and more productive. In April—Stand Up & Walk Away—I explain how getting up and walking relaxes the body when it’s stressed out. Recent studies confirm that more movement during the day leads to better sleep at night: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/health/01really.html. And, quality sleep leads to a fresher, more productive you. Plus, studies show high-quality movement is proving to reduce depression and fatigue: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215131328.htm. How you add movement to your day is up to you: retail therapy, juggling, taking the stairs. It doesn’t have to be much and you don’t have to go very far—just 10 minutes a day can make a difference.

Make these three activities a part of your 2010 routine, and I guarantee you’ll feel better and get more done. Remember, the key to making change is to incorporate the 3 P’sPlan, Practice, and Pace. Happy New Year!

Jen

Jen Waak is a Seattle-based movement coach who uses a system that combines eastern philosophy with western medicine to reprogram the nervous system and get people out of pain, moving better, and feeling younger. jen@movefitfun.com.

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