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Healthy Eating Boosts Your Productivity!

Feeling sluggish by mid-afternoon? If you find yourself relying on lots of coffee during the day to keep you going, you aren’t alone. In fact, like most people who work on the fly or self-chained to our desks, eating can easily take a back seat. A healthy breakfast and lunch make a big impact on how our bodies and especially brains function and respond. 

Think of your body as a high-performance engine. Engines need fuel to function, and when you supply the engine with top-tier fuel, you’ll receive better overall performance. When your body needs fuel, the healthier the food choice, the more reliable energy you’ll feel. Like a car that converts gas into movement, your body converts food to energy that feeds your muscles, organs, and especially your brain.

The Brain Connection

Experts have proven that food directly connects to cognitive function and performance. Poor food choices are known to bring on the classic mid-afternoon crash. The crash can happen earlier for those who rush out the door in the morning without something healthy and sustaining to eat. 

While we’ve all heard that taking regular breaks, stretching muscles, and getting enough sleep contribute to better health and sustained energy, healthy eating is a huge part of the picture. Our bodies require a daily dose of proteins, minerals, fiber, healthy carbohydrates, and vitamins to stay in optimum condition, feeding our brains and keeping us more alert, energetic, imaginative, and able to solve more complex problems.

How Food Works

Our body converts almost everything we eat into glucose, which our brain needs to sustain energy. Not replenishing glucose leads to feeling unfocused with a compromised attention span. That’s why it’s harder to concentrate on an empty stomach. 

Certain foods release their glucose more quickly, like bread, pasta, and cereal, which leads to the classic burst and slump. High-fat meals like hamburgers may contain protein but cause our digestive systems to work harder, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and leading to fatigue.

Tips For Eating Healthier

Balancing ore meals by mixing fresh, unprocessed foods into your daily diet can help combat the side effects of fast food, such as trading carbohydrates for more protein-rich foods. Here are some tips to keep you eating a healthier diet while working:

1.Keep a stash of natural and unprocessed snacks handy, in your desk or bag, such as nuts, granola, and especially fruits and vegetables. Studies indicate that people who consume more fruits and vegetables are happier, more creative, and engaged, as they help the body to produce dopamine and antioxidants. 

2. Decide what you are eating before you get hungry so that you don’t make flash decisions that lead to convenient but unhealthy choices.

3. Cut down on caffeine intake and drink more water to avoid dehydration, headaches, irritability, and insomnia. 

4. Take advantage of the kitchen and lounge facilities available at your workplace, such as Shift Workspaces, to store your food and take a break.

The bottom line is, don’t ignore your body when it tells you it’s hungry. Appease hunger with healthier food choices that will feed your brain and lead to better work performance and productivity.

Best Ways to Exercise in Nature

With the winter weather starting to break, there will be more opportunities for getting outside and enjoying the warmer temperatures. The cold months spent mostly indoors can lead to weight gain, boredom, and even depression for many of us. Now is the time to begin the shift to exercising in the fresh air, a time of rejuvenation, clearing our heads, and preparing for the promise of spring.

Those working from home or within a community workspace like Shift Workspaces may have more autonomy with their schedule and excellent amenities. Yet, many neglect the needs of their bodies and mental health. Regular exercise gets the muscles moving and is good for maintaining heart and mental health, staving off chronic diseases, lowering high blood pressure, and burning calories.

What’s Your Favorite Outdoor Exercise?

When you find a physical activity that you enjoy and combine it with nature, it can be a win-win situation, encouraging you to be more consistent and motivated. Explore the nature trails in your area to find the best surfaces and surroundings for your chosen activity, and first, make sure that you have the proper shoes and gear as necessary.

Diehard enthusiasts take advantage of the winter months and get their exercise with outside sports like skiing and skating, while for others, a brisk walk on safe surfaces is gentler to the joints while still providing health benefits. Early spring offers more opportunities for enjoying the great outdoors while giving your body a workout.

1.     Walking

Current guidelines recommend thirty minutes for a brisk daily walk, with the target of five days per week. Walking is easiest on the joints and helps to build up bone health and cardiovascular endurance. Keep in mind that the longer you walk, you burn more calories. All that’s required is a good pair of athletic shoes.  

2.     Hiking

Hiking uses a lot more leg muscle due to more varied terrain and provides a wonderful outlet for relaxing in nature while enjoying cardiovascular benefits. Research to find the best hiking trails suited to your level of ability. More preparation is needed, from equipping yourself with the correct footwear to a supply of water, bug repellant, and layered clothing.

3.     Jogging or Running

Either jogging or running is excellent for improving stamina, burning calories, and strengthening your heart and lungs. Although a great way to lose weight and strengthen your core, there can be a downside. Muscles take longer to adapt to the demands of running, and jogging can be jarring on the joints, so start off slowly and build up your resistance. Good quality running shoes and a sports bra for women are highly recommended.

4.     Cycling

With a comfortable, adequately sized bicycle, cycling can be exhilarating. Great for the quadriceps, cycling combines the added health benefits with more expansive scenery. Some even ride their bikes to work. There is a more significant initial investment, and basic bike repair knowledge is strongly recommended. It is advisable to seek out a reputable bicycle store to fit your machine, helmet, and gloves properly.

5.     Water Sports

The warmer weather invites water activities, from the pleasure of lake or ocean swimming to more costly water sports like kayaking, canoeing, and water skiing.

Whatever your choice, being out in nature is a great way place to get some exercise, even if you are performing annual spring chores or taking a short break from work. Not only are there excellent physical health benefits, but we also can explore our local landscapes while experiencing the uplifting effects of sunshine, warmer breezes, and the sounds and scents of nature reawakening.

Introducing Shift Workspace’s Brand-New HR & Healthcare Services

Shift Workspaces members can now save up to 50% on healthcare, payroll, and workers’ compensation. We’ve partnered with TriNet because we understand that in order for a business to be successful, it needs to take great care of its people and because we strongly believe that everyone should have access to big company benefit options.

For a few years now, TriNet has been helping thousands of flexible workspace members by providing top of the line HR solutions to companies of all sizes. Shift Workspaces members can now take advantage of TriNet’s tailored HR solutions.

Each business has unique needs, so it should only be natural for their HR packages to be unique as well. This new program can support your company’s needs, whether you need a team of professional HR experts or people to help you tackle administrative tasks like payroll, taxes, and HR compliance.

The best part? As a Shift Workspaces member, you can save up to 50% on healthcare costs and medical, vision, disability, dental, life, and flexible spending account benefits to all persons in the company.

Getting Started

It’s easy and it’s quick. Just follow these 3 steps:

1.  Make Contact

Drop the TriNet team a note with your name, email, and phone number. They will get back to you within 24 hours.

2.  Start talking

Once a TriNet representative contacts you, you will have the opportunity to ask about healthcare plans, workers’ compensation, payroll regulations, and the benefits they offer.

3.  Review your options

Based on what you ask and share with your TriNet representative, they will provide you with tailored plans and pricing. Then it’s up to you.

That’s it! If you have any questions or would like any additional information, click here.

 

5 Benefits of Eating Healthy

People often think of healthy eating as dieting. This is not true. Eating healthy is not just about losing weight, it’s about feeling better both physically and mentally.

Eating healthy is about balance and making sure that your body is getting the necessary nutrients it needs to function properly. Healthy eating habits require that people eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fats, proteins, and starches. Keep in mind that healthy eating requires that you’re mindful of what you eat and drink, but also how you prepare it. For best results, individuals should avoid fried or processed foods, as well as foods high in added sugars and salts.

 

Top 5 Benefits of Healthy Eating

1.Weight Loss
One of the main reasons people eat a healthy diet is to maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight. A healthy weight has a plethora of benefits on its own, but we won’t get into that here.

2.Heart Health
Even if you’re young, you should think about your heart health, especially considering that as many as 92.1 million people in the U.S. have some type of cardiovascular disease. Healthy eating habits can improve your heart health and common prevent heart diseases.

3.Strong bones and teeth
If you pay close attention, you might notice that a lot of elderly individuals use dentures in order to eat and talk properly. A healthy diet can help individuals make sure they have strong teeth and bones now and, in the future, thus preventing teeth decay and osteoporosis.

4.Better mood and energy levels
You are what you eat.” If you eat a healthy, balanced diet, you will feel better and more energized. Furthermore, if you eat property, then it means your body is getting all of the nutrients it needs to function properly, which will improve your energy levels. Avoid sugary foods and drinks to prevent sugar highs and crashes.

5.Improved memory and brain health
Eating healthy increases blood flow to the brain, which help prevent brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and cognitive decline.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge yourself every now and then. You have to learn to listen to your body and provide it with what it needs. The occasional pizza, chocolate, or soda is OK as long as you are mindful of what you eat on a day to day basis. At Shift Workspaces, we care about our members’ wellbeing, which is why we encourage healthy eating by providing healthy snacks every day.

4 Tips to Setting Powerful Personal and Professional Goals

Goal setting is a powerful tool. Setting goals allows you to focus on the important stuff, both personally and professionally, and it provides you with a clear path to follow in order to become the person you want to be. Goal setting allows individuals to grow and further themselves, but more importantly it helps people visualize how far they’ve come, and it can keep them motivated to keep going.

There’s a certain art to setting the right goals. Here are 5 tips to get you started on setting the right goals.

Evaluate and reflect

Before you decide on anything, make sure you have thought deeply about what you want to achieve, by when do you want to achieve it, and by what means. Take some time to evaluate and reflect on your current situation; think about what you like and don’t like. Think about what things you have control over, which of those would you like to change and why.

This reflection exercise will help you start setting goals with a clear vision and intention.

Set goals that motivate you

If you’re setting a goal for yourself, make sure it motivates you. If it’s not an important and valuable goal, you will have a hard time achieving it and taking the necessary steps towards it. Whichever goal you set has to play an important role in the larger picture.

What things are important in your life? Make sure your goals align with that in order to stay motivated and keep working towards your goals. Not all goals are created equal, but they all require time and commitment; if you’re not motivated by them, you won’t give them the time of day nor the put in the necessary effort required to reach them.

Think SMART

Experts say that in order for a goal to be effective and powerful it needs to be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.

Be specific so you know which steps you need to take. It needs to be measurable for you to be able to evaluate the degree of your success. Attainable means it has to be a realistic goal; there’s no use in setting high goals that aren’t necessarily achievable… this will only lead to demotivation and frustration. It has to be relevant with the direction you want to give your personal and/or professional life. And it has to be time bound, you need to set a deadline to encourage you to work on it constantly and prevent you from putting things off.

Create an action plan

Once you know what you want to achieve and where you want to go, it’s time that you prioritize goals and create an action plan. Think of which goals you need to work on first, which ones are the most time sensitive, and which ones will be an important stepping stone towards the rest. When creating an action plan, determine how you will hold yourself accountable, include deadlines, and the tools/resources you will need to reach each one of your goals. Write down individual steps and make sure you give yourself a reward for small achievements; it’ll keep you going and motivated.

Pro tip: if you work from home and are having a hard time setting or reaching your professional goals, come visit us! The right environment can help you get in the right state of mind.

Myths and What You Should Know about Organic Food

Organic food is in. Yet, organic food is not necessarily all it’s cut out to be.

Let’s start with the basics. What does organic mean? The Oxford English Dictionary defines organic as “(of food, farming methods) produced or practiced without using artificial chemicals.” In the US, for a food to be labeled as organic it must be grown without using synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers.

Yet, there are 20 chemicals which are approved by the US Organic Standards when it comes to farming and producing organic foods. These chemicals found in organic and non-organic food aren’t bad for humans–at least not all of them. The World Health Organization (WHO) has noted that the pesticides authorized in international food trade are not damaging to humans on a genetic level.

Furthermore, even though organic food is hyped up to be healthier and better for the environment, this isn’t really the case. Nutrition wise, organic and non-organic food all provide the same amount of nutrients (granted that the food is fresh). As for the environment, organic food requires more acreage to produce than its “normal” counterpart; so, it could potentially lead to the destruction of undeveloped land.

Still, there are several advantages to consuming organic foods–even if they are pricier (which is not always the case). Here are a few benefits of organic food:

– Organic food tends to be fresher given that it doesn’t contain pesticides or chemicals that are often used to give food an extended shelf life.
– Organically raised animals aren’t given antibiotics or hormones and they are given more space to move around and access the outdoors, which helps them in keeping them healthy.
– Some organically-grown products can be more nutritious. This is the case of meat and milk, which have about 50% more omega-3 fatty acids.
– Some people argue that organic food tastes better.
– Buying locally-grown organic foods can help the local economy.

Not all foods are created equal and not all foods are worth buying organic. According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that analyzes the results of government pesticide testing in the U.S., some conventionally grown foods require low levels of pesticides and chemicals that there’s not much difference in buying conventionally grown vs organic.

If you’re in doubt, here’s a quick list on items that the organization does recommend buying organic:

– Apples
– Sweet Bell Peppers
– Cucumbers
– Celery
– Potatoes
– Grapes
– Cherry Tomatoes
– Kale/Collard Greens
– Summer Squash
– Nectarines (imported)
– Peaches
– Spinach
– Strawberries
– Hot Peppers

At Shift, we do our best to support the local economy, which is why sometimes you’ll find locally-grown organic snacks in our locations.

How to Make the Best Decisions for Your Life

We’re at the end of the year, which means its time to start thinking about new year’s resolutions. But before you set your resolutions on paper, take a moment to think about how you’ve been making life decisions recently and reflect on whether you are happy with your decision-making process. The thing is, there’s always room to improve the way we make choices and the start of a new year seems like the perfect time to think about how you can make better life decisions.

As with many things in life, this is easier said than done, but it’s something that can be done and accomplished. It takes time, effort, and awareness, and there are no promises you will get it right all the time, but you will be getting it right more times. Here’s how you can work towards making better life decisions.

Be honest with yourself.

Do you really want this or that, or do you only think you want it? When you are making important choices, it’s essential that you know where you stand, that you are aware about what you really want, and that you are honest with yourself about those wishes. Being conscious of what you want and of your current situation will help you in looking at things the way they are before making any life-changing decisions.

Think with your head, not your heart.

When making big decisions, it’s vital that you are in the right emotional state. Being too happy, too excited, too sad, too stressed, too tired, or too anything will hinder you from looking at things the right way. Make sure you give yourself some time to think things through and run them by your head, if they make sense, then ask your heart (and follow your gut). Life decisions can’t be a matter of “just because”; if you can’t find a worthy reason for doing something, then don’t.

Forgive and trust yourself.

You will screw up. Everyone will; no one is perfect. Learn to forgive yourself and more importantly trust yourself. You have to trust that you are making the right decisions for yourself, that you have your own best interest at heart. It’s natural that you second-guess yourself, but don’t let that stop you from making decisions.

Ask for advice but trust your instincts.
Talking to someone always helps in putting things in perspective. Getting someone else’s opinion or advice will probably lead you to think about and consider things and aspects you hadn’t previously thought of. Asking for advice doesn’t mean you always have to follow it. Be open to listening to differing thoughts and opinions, take more time to think your decision through, and trust your gut–even if this sometimes means going against what people say. You can ask family members, friends, or even your workspace community.

 

Organize and Focus to Reduce Your Stress and Anxiety

The modern world is an always alert one; we are over-connected and over stimulated, and it’s increasingly harder to just “power off”. Life itself is full of stress, and when we take the above into consideration, life just seems to get more stressful, at all times.

Stress isn’t something that affects your brain only, it creates a full-body response that significantly alters the way we feel, think, and act. Luckily there are some things we can do to reduce our stress and feelings of anxiety. And before you ask, no, it doesn’t necessarily involve yoga or meditation–though these are actually two helpful practices.

Reducing stress in an environment that’s full of stimuli requires mindfulness. Mindfulness is the “quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.”

It helps fight stress because it encourages individuals to be aware of their current situation without adding the worry that often times comes with thinking about the future.

Mindfulness Tips and Techniques

Breathe. Breathing comes naturally to us, yet when you consciously think about your breathing and you optimize it and take deep breaths you will feel how your body instantly relaxes. You can practice mindful breathing each morning, before you go to bed, or throughout the day, especially when dealing with circumstances that create a stressful environment.

Set priorities. Mindfulness is about being aware of what we are doing and how. While multitasking seems to be what everyone does and the rule of thumb while working, consider a different approach. Prioritize tasks and work on them accordingly.

Organize your time. Once you’ve prioritized your tasks, allot a specific time for each of them–it doesn’t need to be exact to the minute–but do try to figure out how much time it should take you to get certain things done. Focusing on only one task at a time will help reduce stress and will also increase your productivity and quality of work.

Reduce caffeine intake. If you’re a coffee person, think about opting for tea; especially if you tend to drink several cups of coffee a day. Coffee is a stimulant and it won’t help you relax and take things one at a time. If you’re feeling stressed, consider relaxing teas; this will help you center down and focus, as well as sleep better at night.

Make sure you are “powering off”. You know how when a tech-device isn’t working technicians always ask if you’ve turned it off and on again? Well, the same applies to humans, we sometimes need to power off and tune out. Make sure you are sleeping at night, that you are giving yourself some “me time”, and that you are eating well. This will help you feel your best, and keep in mind that it’s when we feel our best that we perform our best.

Feeling stressed during the day while you’re working? Our meditation rooms are perfect to take a break, take a deep breath, and relax.

 

Can Meditating make You more Productive at Work?

In recent months, wellness has taken the center stage in conversations about the work and the workplace. This has come as a result of people and companies realizing that a person’s wellbeing can have a great impact in their professional lives. Simply stated, to perform our best, we need to feel our best, both physically and mentally.

There are various ways in which our lifestyle can improve our professional lives. One particular practice that has caught the attention of various professionals is meditation. According to the American Psychological Association, meditation helps reduce rumination, reduce stress, boost our memory, help us focus, increase our cognitive flexibility, and decrease our emotional reactivity.

Meditation can help people deal with different types of situations and scenarios. Moreover, because meditation reduces our stress levels and increases our ability to concentrate, it can help us be more productive and efficient with our energy and attention as people who meditate are less likely to get distracted or flustered by complicated situations. Increased clarity is also beneficial as it can help us when it comes to decision-making.

The benefits go beyond those experienced by our own selves; if we are calm, focused, and feeling overall well, it translates into our actions and interactions with others. Meditating can also help us be more productive simply by improving our communication skills. If our mind is clutter free, so will our actions and messages; which can lead to less confusion and can help people and teams accomplish goals.

Another key way in which meditation can help us be more productive is simply by teaching us how to listen to and understand what our body is trying to tell us. This means that we will know what our body needs, and we will be more likely to understand why. This can translate into better physical and mental health, which in turn can reduce sick days and absenteeism.

Are you in the mood to meditate yet? Check out the meditation rooms available to Shift members!

Why Shift Workspaces is Working to Become B-Corp Certified

Shift is passionate about building communities that enhance the health, peace of mind and the quality of life of our members, employees and neighbors. We value kindness and respect in our relationships and know that our own happiness and wellbeing is intertwined with others. We work to strengthen our local communities with the hope that they might begin to resemble the world in which we want to live. We are mindful of our environmental footprint and have committed to replace more resources than we consume as a company.

Since we opened our first Shift community in 2012, we’ve strived to be a business that is socially and environmentally responsible. When we first heard about the B Corp movement a few years ago, we knew that it was a natural extension of the mission we had already started. Becoming a certified B Corporation will take our relationship with sustainability and fair business to the next level.

Certified B Corporations, or B-Corps for short, are social enterprises certified by the nonprofit organization B Lab. B Lab certified companies based on how they create value for non-shareholding stakeholders; these include employees, customers, the local community, vendors, and environment.

Becoming B Certified is a long, rigorous process; one that can take months or years. We have devoted tremendous resources towards certification and we are thrilled to be joining a community that exists to use business as a force for good in our community and the world.

We will focus on five main principles as a BCORP: customer, vendor and employee happiness, volunteer hours, water conservation, electrical conservation, and maintaining a zero carbon footprint.

B Corporations are important today more than ever because they are setting a new standard on how business should be done. It’s no longer about who can do, produce, or operate more, instead it’s about who can do, produce, and operate better. We believe that our efforts to become a BCORP certified company demonstrate our commitment to our local community, our employees, the environment and our members and we hope that it inspires you to do the same.