We’re in the midst of planning Moonsail North’s summer staff retreat, and our team feels strongly that we need to pay as much attention to setting the stage for creativity as we do to what topic areas to cover. We made sure that the space we chose has an inspiring view — a river path — and we have built an afternoon walk into the schedule to keep us going. Our planning check-list also includes ensuring that the drinks and snacks we have on hand will be delicious and healthy — although there will be plenty of guilty-pleasure snacks to enjoy!
But none of us have to wait for a retreat to find ways to incorporate creativity-spurring habits. Here are a few that work for our team.
Give water a plot twist
It is natural to feel dizzy, tired or moody when we aren’t nourishing our bodies with enough water — which means we’re not drawing the best out of ourselves if we’re going through the day dehydrated. It is recommended that women consume 11 cups of water a day and that men consume about 15 cups. As our team headed to lunch together earlier this week, we traded ideas about how to creatively flavor water with fruit and veggies, especially if you’re not naturally inclined to drink that much water a day.
Eyeing a client’s water bottle filled with fruit slices and chia seeds recently inspired Rose to change up her daily water routine — she said she had seen water at day spas with infusions, but had never considered it for everyday bottles. She came to work this week with slices of lime and leaves of fresh mint in her bottle, but she forgot the one must-have on my list: Cukes. My friend, a dietitian, turned me on years ago to the refreshing qualities of cucumber. There’s just something about adding a few cucumber slices to give it a crisp feel. The best part? It’s fast and easy, and won’t eat into your day.
Spice up your hydration game with superfoods
For those of you who fall into the category of “I like water but I’d rather reach for a caffeinated or other flavored drink,” no need to worry — there are plenty of other ways to spice up your hydration game. A number of the fruits and vegetables you pass by in the produce section are packed with water. There are five superfoods that happen to be over 90 percent water: watermelon, cucumber, celery, lettuce and strawberries. Slice ’em or dice ’em and throw them in a tupperware container to take with you to work or to simply have on hand at home.
Pro tip: If you cut up your fruits and veggies immediately after grocery shopping, you are more likely to reach for them when you are craving a snack as opposed to reaching for a bag of chips.
Hang out with a new crowd at the gym
So maybe water really just doesn’t do it for you. Fat-free or skim milk is a great post-workout recovery drink. Research has shown milk (especially chocolate milk) to be more effective after a workout than reaching for a sports drink.
Pro tip: DIY smoothies and coconut water are also excellent options to sip on throughout your day.
Train for your next 5K on your lunch break (or not)
In addition to staying hydrated, feeding our creativity and managing stress levels can be challenge some days. Those who are stuck at a desk sometimes feel walking or fitting activity into their lives is nearly impossible. I am not here to say that you should be training for a marathon on your lunch break or squeezing in a hour of exercise every day, but I will tell you that there are a few simple ways you can incorporate movement in your day.
A recent study by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports proves the benefits of a lunch-hour walk. The walk does not have to be for a lengthy period of time — dedicating 25 minutes to walking on your lunch hour will fuel your creativity, decrease the amount of stress or anxiety you feel and boost your mood.
Give your Fitbit a workout
If you are unable to step away from your desk at lunch, I suggest making physical activity part of your daily work commute. Living close to work allows you to walk or ride a bike to your destination. Even if you drive to work you could make an effort to park your car far away from work, which will ensure a brisk walk into the office every morning. Once your are at work, take the stairs; who knows how long the elevator is going to take to reach your floor anyways, right?
Pro tip: Combat the afternoon slump by asking a coworker to step out of the office with you for a quick walk.
Summer’s here and this is a great time to drink up, get outdoors, and turn up the dial on your creativity.