Your Vacation Rx, Part 2: What To Do?
 
adult-book-business-297755.jpg

By Hannah Woit

What’s your ideal vacation? Camping in a forest, waking up with the sunrise? Checking off a long list of must-see destinations? Spending some serious time on a beach chair, doing little else?

How does your choice of vacation type impact your health? Although many of us may only link vacations and wellbeing in the context of spas or yoga retreats, what we do on our time off has very real implications for our health--including some you might not expect.

What’s on the itinerary?

Researchers have discovered that vacation and more and better quality hours of sleep are a boon for your health, so take advantage of the extra z’s! If you’re someone who has trouble sleeping in unfamiliar places, bring a travel size of your favorite scented candle or your pillow from home. Also, if you are a light sleeper, pack some earplugs and a sleep mask--and opt for more glamping over camping.

Make sure there are also opportunities for pleasure and savoring your experiences, as these are not only effective during vacation, but also the aftereffect.

And you don’t need to feel guilty about skipping your regular workout if that’s what you need to do to relax to the max. Researchers have found that physical activity doesn’t impact your overall health and wellbeing during vacation or after it.

Activities that researchers have identified an associated between higher degrees of relaxation and psychological detachment from work and greater enjoyment of what you do on vacation with having a positive impact on wellbeing even after coming home.

A working vacation?

If you’re one of those people who checks their email while on vacation and say it will make the transition back to work easier because less work will have accumulated, you may want to think twice about that, as working while you’re supposed to be off can hinder your sense of wellbeing some research indicates, even after you get back to your desk. However, experts disagree on this one, so if you like staying on top of things while you’re away, it may not impact your wellbeing, but be very mindful of your emotions and mood before and after working on vacation.

If you want to take a social media respite as well, here are some creative posts we’ve designed for you to put up to alert your followers so they don’t think you’ve fallen off the face of the earth.

Who’s coming?

Although social activities are generally a healthful addition to your vacation, so is  generally relaxing, so think twice about who you bring with you, researchers say. Other experts explain that your stress level and feelings about your travel companions are the top factors in determining your health and happiness on vaca. If you’re traveling with a challenging crew, keep in mind that you may need another vacation after your vacation (or at least a few free days at home to decompress before heading to the office).

Bon voyage!

 
Your Vacation Rx, Part 1: Formulate a Plan
 
clear-sky-daydreaming-hammock-914929.jpg

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
 
abstract-2468874_960_720.jpg

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!

 
Om in the Office
 
pexels-photo-440581.jpeg

By Hannah Woit

When work’s a (physical, literal) pain, a look at how you move your body at the office is well overdue. We’ve covered the impact of sitting, but there’s more you can do to keep your body healthy and limber at work.

One easy way to do this is to incorporate small bits of yoga into your workday. Here are a few opportunities:

Bottleneck Neck: During your commute to work (not while driving, please!), practice some neck rolls, suggests Darrin Zeer in his book Office Yoga: Simple Stretches for Busy People. Drop your head to one side, rolling it around in a circle in one way then the other. When you come across a particularly tense spot, pause and take a few breaths.

Combat “Tech Neck”: Our devices and computers are not necessarily designed with our health in mind. How many hours a day do you spend looking down at your phone? Yoga Journal suggests a front chest opener: Facing a wall, put your right elbow and forearm against it a little above shoulder level (think “cactus arms”, putting your arms out like football goalposts, but a little higher). Switch sides.

Breathe in Good Energy, Release the Bad: You can even use this one in a meeting without anyone noticing. (They may notice your more positive vibes though!) Send oxygen to your brain by taking a few cycles of deep inhales and exhales. Breathe in what you think you need (a boost of energy, calm, etc.), and when you breathe out, visualize letting go of stress and tension.

Do the Twist: One of Zeer’s “Hang in There” stretches, this one is great towards the afternoon or end of the day after a long meeting. In your chair, cross one leg over the other and put the opposite hand or elbow on your crossed knee. Twist towards the leg on top and hold for a few breaths. Switch legs and repeat on the other side.

Namaste.

 
work, health, yogaHannah Woit
Events to Kick Off a Strong Summer
 
photo-1501556466850-7c9fa1fccb4c.jpeg

By Hannah Woit

There is no shortage of incredible opportunities for helping you feel your best in New York City, including Primary’s full slate of events and classes, but sometimes it can feel as if there is a shortage of time to take advantage of them and they often fall by the wayside when we get busy unless we commit in advance. Make sure you plan a feel-good summer this year--here are some wellness-centric events to make sure are on your calendar so you can thrive over the next two months!

Art Without Ego with Kyoun Sokuzan

June 11, 7pm

MNDFL / Greenwich Village

10 E 8th Street

New York, NY 10003

$35

Flex your creative muscle while also strengthening your mind with an event that melds meditation and art. Zen teacher Kyoun Sokuzan will lead you in thinking about breaking through any obstacles you face between you and fully realizing your creativity.

 

Daybreaker

June 16, Yoga 10am - 11am;  Dance Party 11am - 1pm

Location TBA

Yoga and Dance Party: $40 + $3.20 fee

Dance Party Only: $25 + $2.75 fee

Daybreaker is a morning yoga sess and dance party that happens in 22 cities around the globe. They’re coming to NYC June 16 to give the crowd their signature “DOSE”, which stands for Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins, the natural feel-good hormones and brain chemicals your body produces after a fun yoga class or dance party. It’s bring your own mat for yoga, but Daybreaker will bring the energy and non-alcoholic beverages you need for a morning boost!

 

NYC Parks: Bronx Recreation 5th Annual Family Fitness Festival

June 16, 12pm-3pm

Williamsbridge Oval Recreation Center in Williamsbridge Oval

3225 Reservoir Oval East

Bronx, NY 10467

Free

If you’re looking for a kiddo-friendly event, check out this free fitness fest in the Bronx. It will feature cooking and fitness demonstrations, games, sports (including relay races), and arts & crafts, face painting, and more! Attendees will also get a chance to create their own “fruit creature” and enter free raffles and giveaways.

 

How to Have a Great Day!

June 20, 6pm-7:15pm

Primary

26 Broadway, 8th floor

New York, NY 10004

Free; Email rebeca@liveprimary.com to sign up!

Join Primary for an event that will give you the tools you need to make the most of each day in ways that feel good. Transformational Health and Life Coach, 500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher and Inspired Living Facilitator, Stacy Brass-Russell will introduce guests to simple and enjoyable things you can do now to create positive changes.

 

Shambhala Training Weekend I: Feel Human Again

June 29 - July 1

Shambhala Meditation Center of New York

118 W 22nd Street, 6th Floor

New York, NY 10011

$275 for Patrons

$225 for General Public

$180 for Members

This immersive weekend takes place at the Shambhala Meditation Center of New York, but is open to new and experienced meditators alike. Led by Natalie Baker, a Buddhist practitioner and licensed psychotherapist, attendees will learn and practice mindfulness-awareness meditation, including sitting and walking meditations. One-on-one time with meditation instructors will also be available as an option. The meditations will be interspersed with lectures and discussions in small groups.

 
health, mood, eventsHannah Woit
Want to Think Better? Get On Your Feet
 
photo-1415336190137-2cfe99b8f3f0.jpeg

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.

 
Biotics on the Brain
 
plate-3033198_1280.jpg

By Hannah Woit

Have food on your mind? Ever make a decision based on a “gut feeling”?

Sure, you may be thinking about how long until you can dig into your office lunch or feel butterflies in your stomach before making a big decision, but your food is also on your mind in another sense.

More and more information is coming to light regarding how what you eat and what is in your gut can impact your brain.

How? The answer gets back to our recent topic of the microbiome and the importance of having both prebiotics and probiotics in your diet.

According to researchers, probiotics release a type of acid, called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) associated with reduced anxiety and gut microorganisms may affect the impulses that reach your cerebral cortex--and all of this may influence your behavior.

These microorganisms in your gut have been termed “psychobiotics”.

Different types of bacteria can:

  • Help moderate the levels of harmful bacteria in your gut

  • On a hormonal level, stop the cortisol and adrenaline response that can be hazardous to your health

  • Help turn off chronic stress responses via the immune system

Plus, your gut actually contains neurons, in the form of your enteric nervous system which controls your digestion. Some in the field have started referring to this system as your “second brain”.

So, what does this mean for you? Think about reaching for:

Dark chocolate can boost the levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in your gut because the polyphenols in chocolate, as a prebiotic, can help them thrive.

Yogurt often has Lactobacillus acidophilus, which helps your spinal cord’s cannabinoid receptors, which are associated with your ability to regulate pain.

Probiotic shots, such as Pure Green’s Blue Biotic Shot, a new addition to Primary’s cafe menu. It is a potent combination of probiotics, blue algae, ginger, lemon, manuka honey, and filtered water.

 
Two Elements You Need for a Healthy, Happy Gut: Probiotics and Prebiotics
 
berries-1846085_1280.jpg

By Hannah Woit

The past few years have seen a shift from an emphasis on harsh antibacterial soaps, sterile environments, and antibiotics to an appreciation of bacteria in protecting our health.

This is due to research on the microbiome--the colony of bacteria in bodies. Researchers have found that the mix of bacteria is important in promoting health, especially in our gut. Our gut microbiota help our bodies process indigestible substances and the medicines and pollution from our world that we ingest.

The development of our microbiome begins even before birth and continues throughout our lifetime. And, despite the relatively higher access to technology and advanced healthcare in general in cities, those who live in more rural areas tend to have a better mix in their microbiome. Other factors determining our gut health include our diet, genetics, culture, age, lifestyle, and history of medication usage.

In addition to a healthy microbiome helping our digestion in general, research reported in Nature demonstrated that gut microbes in obese versus lean individuals differ. Researchers reported finding that when the obese people lost weight, their microbial profile started to look more closely to that of the leaner people, which may be due to the fact that high-fiber diets tend to contain less fat and calories, while also helping people feel more full and lose weight.

So, what to do?

One way to promote our gut health is to focus on incorporating probiotics and prebiotics into our diet. Probiotics and prebiotics both alter our microbiome composition and help keep our digestion revving efficiently.

Here are the basics:

Probiotics:

Probiotics are health-promoting bacteria. They help maintain a healthy digestion, which means they can reduce the frequency of constipation, cramping, and other digestive annoyances. They also help your body combat inflammation associated with inflammatory disease and tackle infections like the common cold and flu and other illnesses.

In terms of nutrition, if you’re already making an effort to eat healthy, you can help maximize the health benefits of the nutritious food you’re eating by working on your gut health. Probiotics help your body use the nutrients in your food more effectively.

Where to get them: 

As we’ve previously mentioned on the blog, we have probiotics stocked for you at Primary, including Revive kombucha or Maple Hill yogurt. Other sources of probiotics include tempeh and cultured non-dairy yogurt.

 

Prebiotics:

Prebiotics are probiotics’ best friend. Probiotics have gained more attention in recent years, but prebiotics help probiotics survive and thrive.

Prebiotics are most commonly fibers found in the ingredients in our food that our body can’t digest. However, the probiotics we want in our gut thrive off of prebiotics.

Where to get them:

Get your prebiotic fix by incorporating onions, asparagus, artichokes, or soybeans into your diet, or stash bananas or whole-wheat snacks at the office.

 
Bathe Your Way Well
 
bath-bathroom-bathtub-374148.jpg

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
 
singing-bowl-200851_960_720.jpg

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
 
blackboard-board-close-up-908301.jpg

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
 
06.05.16_Blink__Primary_0125_preview.jpeg

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
 
IMG_7556 copy.jpg

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.

 
Primary on New York Launch Pod
 
bannertop.png

By Hannah Woit

Primary co-founders Lisa Skye Hain and Brian Hain were recently on an episode of the New York Launch Pod, a podcast showcasing conversations with NYC area entrepreneurs and the stories behind their businesses. In Lisa and Brian’s episode, you’ll learn how Lisa came up with the idea to launch Primary, where they originally thought they might start Primary, possible future locations, and the challenges and opportunities they faced along the way to opening up at 26 Broadway--including faulty door handles, great partnerships, and kombucha.

 
Your Social Media Rx
 
hiking.png
 
 

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
 
06.05.16_Blink__Primary_0202.JPG

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
 
aromatherapy blog post photo.jpg

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?

 
You Could Use a Nap
 
00 nap room.jpg

By Hannah Woit

We’d all like to get a full night’s sleep every night, but sometimes that’s just not possible. Whether you’re up late working on a project or have to go into work straight after a redeye, you can have the best sleep intentions, but there are inevitably days when your nightly shut-eye gets disrupted. Or maybe you know you just feel better when you nap at a certain time every day.

If you’re not a regular napper, you may actually want to consider nodding off for a bit during the day--it could improve your work performance. In one University of Michigan study, researchers had participants nap for an hour and then had them complete tasks on a computer. Compared to those who were not permitted to nap, they were more persistent in trying to solve the problems. The researchers believe that napping may help people cope with negative emotions.

Still worry it might be a waste of time? Nappers find themselves in the company of Ariana Huffington, Thomas Edison, and Winston Churchill.

How long a nap you might need is individual, but even 6 minute naps can improve your memory. The benefits can go beyond how well you work to promote overall wellness--for example, 45 minutes may improve your blood pressure. However, a review of nap-related research suggests naps of 10 to 20 minutes.

Another thing to keep in mind is that naps lasting 30 minutes or longer can produce “sleep inertia”, essentially the time it takes you to wake up and fully experience the benefits of your nap.

No matter what your sleep style, Primary’s nap room, open to all members, provides an opportunity to recharge.

Despite the name, the nap room is not just used for naps. Some also use it as a quiet place to meditate.

Naps or quiet time not your thing? If you prefer caffeine, we’ve got you covered, just grab a matcha tea or coffee from the cafe.

Need a breath of fresh air or a workout to perk up? Try one of Primary’s classes, like bootcamp or a group run, a great way to meet the folks you see in the coworking space or offices.

Dream on.