Pursuing a life of serenity

by Brooke Penny

In the Catalyst office you will find a bunch of hard working individuals, from developers to designers. From those who spend copious amounts of time behind their computer screens coding software, to those who are in client meetings for the bulk of their day.

It is important, especially in the fast paced world we live in, to remember to take care of number one - yourself. In order to perform at our best, we need to rejuvenate, regroup and allow our bodies and our minds to rest from time to time. Here are five things you can incorporate into your lifestyle and reap the rewards of feeling more energised, more focused and less stressed.

Put down technology: Seems like an odd suggestion, given we are an IT company, right? However, there are negative consequences of spending too much time on our phones, tablets and computers. During working hours and when meeting tight and important deadlines, it may not be possible to remove yourself from the world of technology. But when you get home from work, kick your shoes off and take some time for yourself, allow yourself some time where you are not on your phone or crafting an email. Connect with those who are surrounding you, be it your partner or kids or a group of friends who you are enjoying a drink with in the pub after a long working week.

Inside the walls of Catalyst, there are social events that encourage people to step away from their desks on occasion – our weekly Friday afternoon social gathering is an event that many look forward to. We have board games and packs of playing cards at hand for a post work day games night. Even in a technologically fast paced world, the newspaper is right by the coffee machine. We encourage staff to make a coffee and take a seat on the couch to read over the latest daily news.

Release endorphins with exercise: “Take care of your body, it is the only place you have to live in”. Living busy lives, we often easily find excuses as to why we can't fit in exercise. It is unlikely you will be able to hit the gym for hours a day, but how about going for a 20 minute brisk walk around the block in your lunch break? How about getting off the bus a stop or two early and walking the remainder of your travel? How about signing up to a sports team? If you struggle to fit these suggestions in then make it the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning. Bring your alarm time forward by just 20 minutes. You can fit in some squats, press ups, sit ups, crunches and a plank – bonus, it will cost your nothing other than a little less sleep. Exercise releases endorphins, helps clear the mind, enhance your focus and is a great stress reducer.

Whether you are into solo sports or team sports, at Catalyst we offer both. We have a weekly yoga class and a soccer team, amongst other options. We encourage our staff to be active and keep fit. It is not uncommon to have a developer heading up the lift on a bicycle. We are always keen to hear about employees adventures when it comes to sporting achievements. Plus, living in the capital, all you need to do is step out the office and you are only a short stroll away from the Wellington waterfront. We all know the saying, “you cant beat Wellington on a good day”. It is free, it is beautiful and it is a great place for a lunch time power walk.

Stack the zzz's and get a good nights sleep: If you want to boost your productivity, don't skimp on sleep. Sleep is involved in the healing and repairing of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is also linked to the increase of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure and lots of other “badies”. Without enough sleep, your brain cannot function at 100%. That's why when you are tired you do silly things like putting the milk in the pantry! While you sleep, your mind and body recover from the days hard work (be it mentally and/or physically). Did you know the sleep you get before midnight is more restful and rejuvenating than the hours you sleep between midnight and 7am?

At Catalyst, we understand that sometimes life gets in the way of a good nights sleep. In the Catalyst office we have a dedicated “nap room”. We believe it is more productive to take a twenty minute power nap if feeling jaded, rather than sitting at your desk, trying to concentrate while feeling sleepy. Of course, coffee helps too – and at Catalyst, we run on a lot of coffee!

Get to know mother nature a little better: You don’t need to go to a remote beach or climb to the top of a mountain to get the effects of nature. The closest park or coastal walk will do just fine. Get amongst the sun rays, breath in the fresh crisp New Zealand air and allow the rugged wilderness to lift your mood and energy levels. Incorporate an outdoor activity each Sunday. If it is raining or cold, rug and up and continue as planned.

There isn’t an “I” in team but there is a “ME”: Be it at work or at home, we are often pulled in many different directions as we are part of a team of people or family unit. Make it your mission to do something completely for yourself each week; be it reading a book, soaking in the spa, doing some gardening or enjoying a game of rugby with your mates each Saturday. You can only be the best you, when you have allowed yourself time to rejuvenate.

Matt Mullenweg once said, “In the morning, I have aspirations. One of my goals is to avoid looking at the computer or checking my e-mail for at least an hour after I wake up”. Why don't you give that a go?

man holding silver ball