Posts in productivity
Write it Down
 
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Are you already thinking of tomorrow today? Is your mind in a fog, your memory playing tricks on you, and you just can't seem to keep up with your endless mentally stored lists of “to do’s”? We all get overwhelmed and caught up trying to juggle and prioritize work with everyday related tasks and activities. Interestingly enough, making the traditional “to do list” has been scientifically proven to have more benefits for productivity and a sense of achievement than you may initially think.

Your brain loves lists!

Looking at the psychology behind “list making” is an interesting prospect in terms of productivity, behaviors and patterns when attempting to organize busy schedules and accomplish tasks. So, what’s the deal with list making anyway? We know people love writing down and crossing off listed tasks, but why? Is It that it provides us with a sense of satisfaction with the act of physically crossing things out? Or the feeling relief knowing you have completed a task and are achieving your set goals in a timely manner?

Truth be told, we can create a sense of order and stability to our everyday lives by learning to write and follow a properly prepared to do or check list. “Let me put that on my list” or “ I can cross that off my list” are the most common phrases heard not only related to work but also in everyday tasks and activities. Whether its making a grocery list, a business meeting list, or a simple list of daily activities, having it written down has been proven to create a healthy mindset and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

While lists are designed to make your life easier, making them allows easier retaining of information and ability to break down large tasks into smaller ones for higher chance of achieving them. You can also learn a lot from list making that doesn't have to do with tasks on the list at all. Headspace provides an understanding of the effects that list making has on patterns and behaviors, including how to properly prepare a properly prioritized, efficient, and achievable to do list to avoid the backfire of it seeming overwhelming and creating more stress and anxiety.

Once you have gotten the hang of making your perfectly crafted to do list, you’ll have the pleasure of enjoying some of the most common benefits that writing a list can achieve:

  • Your chaotic state will be overruled by a calmness

  • Your focus will be clear

  • Yes, you will actually get things done! Productivity is now your best friend

  • Tasks will be accomplished with confidence and drive

  • That brain fog will vanish and thoughts will be organised

  • And most importantly, you’ll say goodbye to stress and anxiety

Need a little kick start and motivation to your new organized life?

It all sounds simple and easy, however applying the practice of making frequent and proper lists may not happen immediately. Productivity can be made motivating and inspirational if you have the right tools to begin your list making efforts. Try purchasing a new notebook or a favorite writing pen and your motivation will spike, you’ll get the urge to dive into making you’re new checklist! Have it with you at all times to ensure easy access if your mind ever wonders and becomes confused again. With the right tools and mindset, productivity can be and accomplishing daunting tasks can be made motivating, inspirational and an easy mindful activity to keep you calm and collected even in times of chaos!

So next time you feel you’ve come to a halt and are not sure where to start, spend a few minutes the night before your crazy day putting together an achievable list, waking up the next morning with a clear positive mindset to start your day.


 
Stop and Take a Breath
 
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The natural inhalation of oxygen and exhalation of carbon dioxide is so organic we forget it’s even happening.  The act is so involuntary that it has become unnoticed that many of us are in fact breathing with the wrong technique. What would happen to our mental and physical state if we pay more attention to proper breathing as a wellness and holistic approach, improving our focus and productivity? A thought most often forgotten particularly as our professional and personal schedules get busy and our to-do lists become countless.

As we become inundated with endless work, deadlines, and an inbox full of messages yet to be responded to, it is inevitable that stress, panic, and anxiety can quickly take over. Good news is that you’re already practicing the solution to your nail-biting, hair-pulling moments. You know how to breathe so there’s no lesson to learn there, however we can easily transition into a state of calm by understanding our awareness of breath.

Many of us have become shallow or chest breathers causing our muscles to tighten inducing stress, panic attacks and fatigue as a response. Over at Headspace they explain the difference between shallow breathing, its negative health effects and the positive effects of proper diaphragmatic slow breathing. Proven to lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate and relax muscle tension.

Perfecting your awareness of breath isn’t magic and won’t happen overnight, however you can easily begin your journey to proper breathing by taking a look at the steps Susan Kaiser Greenland provides in her “11 minute awareness of breath Practice” .

Take a few minutes of that “me time” - lock the office door and begin the art of breathing properly.

Don’t have 11 minutes to spare in your busy schedule and need a quick fix as you feel the panic and heavy breathing coming on? Try this quick and easy one minute process to soften and let go of tension and begin to instantly relax.  

  • For one minute try inhaling for a count of two seconds hold and exhale for a count of 3 seconds.

To further create a well rounded breathing session try include the help of the soothing and relaxing scents of your favourite essential oils. Hint: lemongrass and ginger is a Primary favourite. Along with its many benefits, the scent acts as an antidepressant, boosts confidence, hope and mental strength. Otherwise, try the ever popular Lavender - directly inhale or diffuse while practicing your newfound breathing techniques for an immediate calming effect.  

Still can’t get into the rhythm of it? If you feel you are unable to become attuned to the practice of slow breathing on your own, consider the guidance of these deep breathing mobile apps as a starting point to ultimate body relaxation and re focus.

There you have it, the next time you feel you’re unable to shake that feeling of panic, stop and take a breath. A proper breath that is.  

 
Play On: Have Some Fun For Your Health
 
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By Hannah Woit

What did you enjoy doing as a child that you no longer do as an adult? Make sandcastles? Spend some quality time with a coloring book or whizzing through the air on a swing set? Play a pickup game of soccer with your friends? The things that come to mind are likely to be what we used to do as play--and unfortunately have become activities we do less and less frequently as we grow up.

However, research indicates that we may want to pick these activities back up if we want to live our happiest, healthiest lives.

Are You Playful?

“Playfulness” can reference a person’s tendency to approach situations in ways that entertain those around them and make them more engaging and fun.

Playfulness in adults is associated with:

Play at Work?

Just as more foosball tables are popping up in workspaces, researchers are conducting more studies around playfulness at work. You might assume that play at the office leads to decreased productivity or distraction, but some research indicates that “organizational playfulness” can make for a climate that is more conducive to creativity. How? Researchers posit that playfulness can make people feel more open and motivated, and to forge more relationships built on working together. It can also foster greater trust amongst team members.

Also, making meetings more playful can actually make them more productive because play can inject energy and increase engagement during an otherwise dull meeting.

Make Time for Play:

Been a long time since you set out to play? If you need inspiration, University of Wisconsin psychologist Shilagh Mirgain, PhD suggests:

  • Game nights with friends

  • Play with pets or children

  • Arts and crafts

  • Playing in a physical group activity, such as tennis, Frisbee, or kickball

  • Doing something you enjoyed as a child

Mirgain also brings up scheduling time for play. However, don’t get too serious about it: play being voluntary is key. And it has to be something you enjoy (versus something other people tend to enjoy or something you think you’re supposed to enjoy).

Go on, get out there and have some fun!

 
Do Your Surroundings Spark Joy?
 
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By Hannah Woit

Skip spring cleaning this year? It’s not too late!

You’ve likely heard of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It is based on her KonMari Method of curating and organizing your living spaces in a way that creates joy in your life. There are 6 rules:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.

  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.

  3. Finish discarding first.

  4. Tidy by category; not by location.

  5. Follow the right order.

  6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

Some might assume that decluttering enthusiasts believe the fewer items, the better, but it’s not that simple, at least not when it comes to the KonMari Method. The key is having items around you that spark joy and to be grateful for them. You can also apply the principle to other areas of your life. For example, think about your schedule and ask yourself, what can you get rid of so that you have more time for what makes you happy and what really matters?

It’s not as simple as looking around and throwing out the junk mail that has piled up. Lisa suggests going deep--taking everything out of where it is stored so you can see everything. You may even rediscover something you’ve forgotten about that deserves to have a place in your home where you see it every day!

Intrigued? If you are a Primary member, please join us at Primary on Tuesday, July 10th at 5:30pm for “Tidy Up Your Home With KonMari & Start Living Your Best Life!”. Certified KonMari Consultant Lisa Tselebidis will teach you how to simplify your home space and life in a way that maximizes your joy. 

Lisa will cover:

  • The effects of clutter & disorganization on your well-being
  • Benefits of a tidy home
  • Vision creation
  • Introduction to the KonMari Method
  • Example of a KonMari transformation
  • Clothing folding demonstration

Calm your surroundings so you can calm your mind. And, make room for joy!

 
Your Vacation Rx, Part 1: Formulate a Plan
 
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By Hannah Woit

What is linked to reduced risk of coronary heart disease, decreased anxiety, and higher job satisfaction, yet 40% of employees take zero to 25% of what is available to them?

Vacation days.

If you’ve got them, use them--for the sake of your health, research says.

The various health benefits of vacation last different lengths of time upon returning to work, but if you’re nervous about taking time off, consider a respite’s impact on work absenteeism: Odds are that you’ll be less likely to call in sick to work for the month following your vacation.

You don’t need to go on a yoga retreat to design your vacation in a way that can boost your health. Taking time off can be a valuable tool in your wellness toolbox and to use vacation days in the most health-promoting way possible, there are some things you may want to keep in mind when strategizing your time away.

Pull up your Google Calendar or grab your pencil and planner and start implementing your solid vacation strategy!

How Often?:

Since the wellbeing effect of your vacation starts to lapse pretty soon after your return to the office and that you’ll be back at your prior level of wellbeing within one to four weeks, researchers suggest that breaking up your vacation time may be better for you than taking it all at once each year.

How Long?:

Studies show that your health and wellbeing increase quickly after vacation starts and peak 8 days into the vacation, so you may not squeeze all the health benefits you can out of your vacation if you take a shorter break. However, the research seems to indicate that no matter the length of vacation, the benefits you’ll get from the time off will start to decrease after your last day,

Where To?:

Warmer, sunnier locales are ideal if recuperation is your goal, research indicates. And for all of the stressed types out there counting down the days until vacation, take heart: The more work strain you experience before your departure, the greater benefit you’ll experience if you’re able to really get away and unplug.

Consider time zones too, as the greater the number of hours are between your home and vacation time zones, the more exhaustive effect it is likely to have.

On Monday, check back here on the Primary blog for your next step in setting up the vacation you need to feel your best: building your itinerary (or lack thereof!).

 
Rise & Sweat to Shine
 

By Hannah Woit

Maybe the early bird really does get the worm. The next time you want to hit the snooze button, consider this:

morning people are more likely to be proactive about problem solving and may be better set up for success at work than their night owl counterparts, according to a study out of Germany.

Another recent study, from Business Insider and MSN, revealed interesting differences between the morning routines of Americans by income. Results showed that people who make more than $175,000 per year are the most likely bracket to wake up before 6am, filling that time often with a workout.

Getting in your daily workout by turning your commute into a run or bike ride (we love Citibike and provide members with complimentary memberships in NYC) is not only a boost to your health and fitness, but is environmentally and financially beneficial, as well as saving you the time and energy it takes to pack a workout into your schedule. But that’s not the only benefit of pairing your workday with a workout--one academic review in the Journal of Occupational Health found that exercise can reduce work burnout. Plus, those in that early morning loving $175,000+ income bracket are most likely to get in a full workout as well.

If you’re coming to Primary, you won’t have to worry about showing up sweaty at the office--members have full access to our locker room--with showers stocked daily with clean towels and eco-friendly shampoo, conditioner, and bodywash.

If getting up and out in the morning is an issue for you, place your workout clothes and shoes right next to your bed so they're right there when you wake up. If you don’t like exercising on an empty stomach or just need that caffeine boost as soon as you wake up, put something easily digestible like apple sauce on your nightstand or keep a half cup of coffee next to your bed to sip from a few minutes before you head out.

 
Primary Colors: The Optimal Office Hues for Productivity
 
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By Hannah Woit

First impressions are powerful. But we may not be thinking about one of the greatest factors of that initial assessment. For example, a study out of the University of Winnipeg found that one quality determines about 62-90 percent of someone’s first impression of a product: color.

Color is not necessarily something many of us think about on a regular basis, but hues are powerful. Just like the aroma tickling your nose impacts your mood, the colors in your surroundings may affect how you feel and act, in general and about certain things.

So, what does this mean for work? According to research review from the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Architecture, it depends on two things: your goals and the makeup of your team.

 

Going for the Gold--Goals:

  • Tackling a detail-oriented project: You should be seeing red (literally, not figuratively!).

  • Working on getting your creative juices flowing: Opt for blue.

  • Completing a task where accuracy is top priority: Go for darker shades of blue, red, green, or purple rather than lighter tones.

  • Creating a place where people feel less distracted by their surroundings and where they enjoy working: White is the way to go.

  • Cultivating job satisfaction: Blue-green is your best bet.

 

The Eyes of the Beholders--Your Team:

  • The degree to which each person is sensitive to his or her surroundings also mediates the impact of color on work performance.

  • For those more affected by how the office looks around them, blue-green colors are better than red, but predominantly white offices are optimal.

  • For those who tend to filter out the effects of their environment, red can boost their work more than blue-green.

You don’t have to paint your office walls (or even have office walls!) to take advantage of color’s power. In fact, since the likelihood that everyone’s goals and sensitivity to their surroundings are uniform is low, the best way to tap into this is to ensure that you and your coworkers are able to personalize your workspaces to your own liking with desk accessories such as desk pads and notebooks.

Think beyond your office walls and you’re golden!

 
Want to Think Better? Get On Your Feet
 
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By Hannah Woit

A new study out of the University of California Los Angeles gives new meaning to the phrase “thinking on your feet”. The benefits of standing during the workday for your cardiovascular health and weight are well documented, but this study marks a remarkable foray in that it links sitting to inferior brain health as we age.

As we get older, part of our brains associated with memory (the medial temporal lobe, which houses the hippocampus) atrophies. What is new about these findings is that although researchers have looked at the association between physical activity and brain health, this focuses on the time one spends sitting versus standing, a seemingly more accessible and simple change to make for most people than a change in exercise. (Interestingly, the team at UCLA did not find a relationship between levels of physical activity and the thickness of the medial temporal lobe.)

There had been indications in previous studies that reducing sitting time might be more potent than getting in more time at the gym or your favorite fitness studio when it comes to improving certain health indicators. For example, one study drawing on data from fifty-four countries demonstrated an association between sitting less and reduced mortality, but not between mortality and exercise.

Ready to take a stand for your health?

Here are a few things to think about, especially when it comes to standing at the office, where many of us spend a large portion of our sedentary time:

  1. Try standing every time you do a certain activity at work, such as talking on the phone.

  2. Suggest your team go for a walking meeting.

  3. Try a standing desk.

  4. If you know there is somewhere you’ll be standing for a long period of time, make sure to wear comfortable shoes and you may want to get an anti-fatigue mat.

  5. Your feet and legs may need time to adjust to standing for longer periods of time. If you find you’re tired of standing, try taking a break and sitting until your legs recover.

 
Bathe Your Way Well
 
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By Hannah Woit

Do you ever want to escape into a cocoon when life gets tough, just to be alone and to tune out?

Thanks to the popularity of various wellness-conducive baths, you can have your choice of bath. Take your pick!

1. The Basic Bath:

If you’re a bathing traditionalist, a good old soak in the tub can often to the trick. Some people swear by their epsom salts, others by their favorite bath oils, but even basic baths have benefits. The temperature can be key: baths on the warmer end of the temperature spectrum have been shown to improve blood pressure and other research has indicated that they can also reduce blood sugar levels.

2. Sound Baths:

As we’ve covered here previously, sound can have a healing effect. Various studies have found links between tension reduction and improved cognitive performance. Focusing on sound can be a great option if you find yourself wanting to drown out the cacophony of city life. To step it up a notch, join a sound bath and tune out to the sound of gongs and singing bowls while also getting in some time to meditate.

3. Forest Bathing:

We’ve also discussed the power of nature in enhancing our wellbeing, especially in the workplace. But if you get a chance to become fully immersed in nature, take it! Forest bathing, also known as “Shinrin-Yoku”, the Japanese tradition of going out into nature, is gaining traction in the Western world, and it’s no wonder. Besides the fresh air and calming effect, researchers have found that it can even help reduce pain. It’s a hot topic in research right now, so we are only beginning to understand the myriad of effects nature can have on us. Be sure to use all five of your senses mindfully to soak up the benefits.

 
The Sound of Healing
 
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By Hannah Woit

What is the soundscape of your life? Honking and beeping as you walk down the city street? That collection of songs that helps get you through mile after mile on your runs? The sound of a long-distance friend or family member’s voice on the phone? That podcast you can’t get enough of?

The soundscape in your life can be a powerful influence on your mood and wellbeing. In this spirit, more and more people are gravitating towards “sound baths”, sessions where you are immersed in sound in the hopes of having some sort of positive psychological or other benefit.

Many of us are painfully aware of the environmental pollution around us in the air and water, so we seek the fresher feeling air in the woods or choose to swim in a lake far from a city rather than jump into the Hudson. However, it’s worth taking a minute to think about a different type of pollution--”noise pollution”. The  EPA defines noise pollution as “unwanted or disturbing sound” and researchers have found links between environmental noise and our cognitive performance.

The increasingly popular sound baths, often done using tuning forks, crystal or Tibetan singing bowls, or gongs, may be a way to combat noise pollution and replace it with something that feels more soothing.

Though definitive research on the impact of sound baths on health is scarce, their popularity highlights people’s beliefs in the power of sound as a potentially centering and calming tool in meditation. In fact, sound baths may also be even more powerful when it comes to newcomers to meditation. One study found that participants who were not aware of the impact of sound meditation enjoyed larger decreases in tension than their peers when a Tibetan singing bowl was played for them.

Finding it hard to calm your mind during meditation? Might be worth incorporating sound into your practice--to tune in so you can tune out.

 
An Attitude of Gratitude
 
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By Hannah Woit

When William Arthur Ward said, "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it,” he probably wasn’t thinking about showing gratitude to others as a gift to yourself. But living a life of gratefulness can actually boost your own health and happiness.

Research has demonstrated that those who take stock of what they have to be grateful for in life tend to be happier. Focusing on gratitude has also been found to help with depression--in a study at Berkeley, a group of students receiving mental health counseling were asked to write weekly letters of gratitude to another person for 3 weeks. It seems you don’t even need to send the notes--only a minority of letter writers actually sent the letters, but still reported better health outcomes over time as compared to those receiving counseling who didn’t write letters.

Gratitude may also be the gift that keeps on giving. When the Berkeley researchers looked at the brain activity of the students using an fMRI scanner, the results they saw led them to surmise that you can make your brain more sensitive to gratitude over time, which could make you happier in the long run.

If writing isn’t your thing, you can also take a few minutes to meditate and/or visualize the things you are grateful for. If you work in Primary’s coworking space or offices, take a few minutes each day in the nap room or attend a meditation class to build a gratitude practice into your schedule.

Expressing thanks can also help your team’s performance at the office. University of Pennsylvania researchers found that participants who received a pep talk that included a thank you for their work were 50% more productive than ones who did not get a pep talk. If you are getting frustrated with the pace of a long term work project, focusing on gratitude can also make you more patient, other research indicates.

After all, as Eckhart Tolle has said, "Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance."

 
Snack Smarter
 
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By Hannah Woit

, on average, Americans spend close to 100,000 hours on work-related activities. Yeah, you’ll be needing snacks.

If you are looking to optimize your productivity, reach for a brain-boosting snack to satiate your hunger while giving your brain the fuel it needs. For extra credit, stock snacks at the office that include these 3 nutrients:

1. Probiotics:

As Scientific American put it, “Mental health may depend on creatures in the gut.” Early research indicates that probiotics may lessen symptoms of depression by increasing serotonin and/or decreasing the amount of proteins that indicate inflammation.

Sources: If you’re at Primary, you can score your probiotics by trying a kombucha (Primary serves Revive), a grapeshot juice from Pure Green, or Maple Hill yogurt. Kefir is also great, but if dairy isn’t your thing, other fermented foods, such as certain kimchi and sauerkraut, can also be good options!

2. Turmeric:

The curcumin in turmeric is an antioxidant powerhouse that may protect your brain from cell damage. In ayurvedic tradition, it is used for multiple ailments, including fatigue.

Sources: Like probiotics, turmeric is available as a dietary supplement, but you can also buy this super spice on the shelf of your local supermarket and use it as a savory seasoning atop snacks like popcorn or grab a turmeric latte.

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Omega-3s have been shown to lessen cognitive decline in the elderly. Research has also indicated that they may help with depression. Other studies have suggested that they can also combat inflammation.

Sources: Fish can be a great source for omega-3s, but for snacks, good bets are adding chia or flax seeds to a yogurt or, at Primary, a snack with olive oil, like a Crack of Dawn bar from Early Bird, a Brooklyn-based company.

 
Energize Your Workspace
 
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By Hannah Woit

New York City has an undeniable energy about it. Is it due to the fact that it was built on top of crystals? We’ll leave that up to you to decide, but according to the American Museum of Natural History garnet lies underground in NYC and you may come across at least one outcrop in Central Park with mica and garnet. (Another cool fact: when Pangaea was formed 450 million years ago, the land that is now NYC was at its center, for all of you who consider NYC to be the center of the world!)

Josiah Bouricius, Primary’s feng shui consultant, has paid special attention to Primary’s location and layout to help set coworking and office members up for energetic success.

One way is by looking at the space’s stars. We’re not talking about stars in the traditional terms in this case, but stars as energies that collect in different areas at different times. They can be positive or negative. When they’re positive, you can use colors, objects, or other elements as “activations”. Negative stars get “cures” to counteract them.

For example, the purple amethyst crystal you’ll see on top of the front desk when you enter Primary is positioned to cure the 20-year conflict star there.

Entrances are particularly meaningfulas the “mouth of Qi”, where energy enters a space, they set the tone for a whole space, so if you have your own office, pay special attention to them. Entryways also connect your space with the larger world. Primary has a fame star, with fire energy, in the entrance area. The chairs there are orange, which is evocative of fire, to help activate the star. If you have a fame star at the entrance to your space, you can also place a plant in the area, as their wood qi enhances the star’s fire energy.

Depending on your preferences, you can use a variety of objects as cures and activationseverything from a laughing buddha to a picture of Oprah placed strategically can impact the energy of a space.

When it comes to energy coming from the earth, Josiah uses small copper rods as cures negative energy like geopathic stress, which is radiation from the earth resulting most frequently from fault lines or underground water.

 
Your Social Media Rx
 
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By Hannah Woit

Do you feel more chipper after a few minutes on Facebook? More inspired after scrolling Instagram? Pepped up by Twitter? Have you ever actually paused to see how you feel after spending some time on social media channels? Maybe, maybe not.

It’s worth spending a moment to check in with yourself to see how you feel the next time you log off. There’s a lot of noise these days about how social media and screen time affects our wellbeing. Some point to reasons to be concerned about social media use, but the effect of it on wellness is unclear. Researchers in Austria found that while people tend to expect that Facebook will boost their mood, the more time they spend on it, they worse they feel. They chalked it up to users’ feeling as if they had wasted time. Another study indicated that Facebook can trigger envy that causes depressive feelings.

You can have a healthy approach to social media though: the same research team found that if you don’t experience Facebook-induced envy, the social media site can actually improve your mood.

The types of social media you use and how you use them also matter. Pew research found that women who use Twitter in particular multiple times, exchange 25 emails, and send two photos on their cell phones each day are 21% less stressed than women who don’t use Twitter, email, or share photos. They also found that people who are on social are more aware of the events going on in their connections’ lives, but when the events are distressing, that can make users more stressed.

You can detox your social media feeds by unfollowing or unfriending people who don’t lift you up, but if you find yourself scrolling away mindlessly on Instagram or walking away from Facebook thinking about all of the life milestones you haven’t achieved, a full-on social media break might be in order.

If the thought of being out of touch with your friends and followers for a noticeable amount of time makes you uneasy or you’re afraid of appearing unresponsive, give them a heads up. That doesn’t mean you have to mass message everyone--just change your profile photo or add a post with an image that functions like the social media equivalent of an “out of office” email. Try the one at the top of the post to get started. Enjoy!

 
Bring Nature in for a Boost at Work
 
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By Hannah Woit

The plants you see in the hallways, co-working space, and cafe at Primary aren’t just there for aesthetics. They are actually at work too--removing toxins from the air so we can all breathe easier.

Green plants can also help you work better. Research done in the UK and Netherlands indicates that having plants in offices can improve workers’ focus, happiness at work, and how productive they feel.

They may also help you reduce stress, as exposure to natural elements can reduce stress, a study published in  the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health revealed.

In terms of health, plants have also been shown to reduce the number of sick days taken.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant, the Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is one of the easiest plants to care for and will still clear out toxins like benzene, a known carcinogen found in car exhaust. We have Pothos plants throughout Primary, so no matter if you sit in an office or the coworking space, you’ll receive the benefits of its air-clearing power.

Researchers have also singled out ferns for their air-detoxifying prowess. Try the Staghorn Fern (Platycerium) like the ones in Primary’s cafe area--you can mount them and put them on the wall if you’re short on floor or desk space.

For a pop of color and to clear trichloroethylene, another known carcinogen, from the air, try Gerber Daisies (Gerbera jamesonii). Trichloroethylene can be found in adhesives and spot removers, among other things.

If getting more plants isn’t in the cards, you can also put up photos of nature scenes, like the shore scene in Primary’s studio and the coastal and mountain photos in the co-working areas. Even this indirect exposure to nature can positively impact your mood, according to research out of Korea.

Get more work done--naturally.

 
Mind-Boosting Scents
 
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By Hannah Woit

You’re ready to work--you have enough light, some classical music playing in the background, your coffee by your side, and the thermostat is adjusted just so. You might be less likely to think about the smell when setting up your work environment. But, just like a jolt of caffeine, you can strategically use scents to improve your work and mood.

At Primary, you’ll be welcomed by the scent of lemongrass at the front desk and in the restrooms--a scent that has been shown to reduce tension. Smelling lemongrass may also help ease your anxiety more quickly, according to researchers in Brazil.

Stressed? Try sniffing lemon--the linalool in lemons may calm you down, as can basil, juniper, or lavender.

Crunching a bunch of numbers? Try diffusing rosemary in your office--it could help you complete math problems more quickly and accurately, according to UK researchers.

Since there’s a strong link between your memories and smell, your personal experiences also help determine which scents will be beneficial to you. Your personal preferences also play a role. Generally, if you think of an aroma as pleasant, you’ll feel more social and be more productive and patient in the face of frustration.

In Scientific American, Rachel S. Herz, an assistant professor of psychology at Brown University, points to research in which subjects who were exposed to a pleasant smelling air freshener set higher goals and were more likely to choose strategies that helped them work more productively.

If your work has you on the goo, in a coworking space, or you don’t necessarily want your neighbors to pick up the scent, try using a rollerball to daub the insides of your wrists every time you need a boost.

Prefer sprays? We are fans of Manaòs Beauty’s Divina Floresta Aura Mists, with scents of white sage and white cedar and other essential oils. They’re organic, vegan, and inspired by the Amazonian rainforests. Plus, the company has a positive social mission and honors the earth--what better way to celebrate Earth Month?