“At this moment in time, when our very existence hangs in the balance, we need to come together not just in good faith and consolation, but also in a spirit of creativity and invention. Our existence depends upon offering the best of ourselves.”

– Musician Nick Cave writes about how to pull through in these uncertain times.

Wellness Tip

Embrace The Winter Sunlight

We get it. It’s cold outside. You’d much rather stay indoors watching Netflix under a snuggly blanket than burrito up in six layers of clothing so you can head outside.

But here we are with the friendly reminder you didn’t want to hear (but will thank us for later) - getting outside in winter is good for you.

The most obvious reason is vitamin D (though, note that you may still need supplements to get enough).

But there’s more. Sunlight energizes your T Cells, boosting your immunity. It increases serotonin production, boosting your mood. And it keeps Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) at bay.

So if you see the clouds opening up during these winter days, hightail it outside and soak in that sunshine (just take care of your skin if it’s strong). Even on grey days, heading outside will expose you to more sunlight than you realize.

So who’s up for a winter walk?

Productivity Tip

Level Up Your Home Office

It’s true that your home workspace has a direct impact on your productivity, health, and happiness.

It’s also true that there are ways to make it better. (Simple and cheap ways, too!)

Here are some things to try:

  • Elevate your screen. Looking down all day is a literal pain in the neck. If you use a laptop, get a docking station and monitor, or raise it up to eye-level for an instant ergonomic improvement.
  • Grab some noise-canceling headphones. They don’t need to be top-of-the-line to block out the sounds of passing cars and your neighbor’s bad taste in music.
  • Organize your cables. No really, just do it.
  • Get some greenery. Plants reduce stress, purify the air, and more.
  • Fix up your lighting situation. Position yourself with as much natural light as possible. Use lamps to direct light to reading spaces and to light your face for better video calls.
  • Scent the air. Essential oils can help with memory, focus, energy, and more. Research which ones fit your needs and load up that diffuser.

How’s your home workspace looking? If you try some of these ideas, let us know how they work for you!

Routine Breakdown

Kevin Cleary, CEO of Clif Bar & Company

As the CEO of a company that prides itself on its nutritious energy foods, it’s no wonder Kevin Cleary has a fitness-focused morning routine. He:

  • Lays out his biking and running things the night before “I find that it gives me less to think about and more reasons to get up and go do it than delay.”
  • Wakes between 6 and 6.30 am
  • Starts the day with exercise
  • Drinks a protein shake

Cleary’s exercise differs depending on his workout plan. “Every Sunday (I’ve been doing this for going on nineteen years now) I sit down and plan out my workouts for the following week—what I’m going to do based on my schedule, work, and kids,” he says.

Why it works:

  • By laying out your exercise gear, you can create a cue that triggers your workout habit.
  • Working out in the morning has a range of benefits like boosting mood and focus and setting your day off to a positive start.
  • Research supports protein shakes as being a healthy morning meal – provided they’re part of a balanced diet and aren’t loaded with artificial sweeteners and additives. Studies show that protein keeps you fuller for longer.

We love Cleary’s ritual of planning a week’s worth of workouts each Sunday. It’s a great way of making sure your workouts fit with your other commitments as well as keeping you committed.

As well as using the ‘Exercise’ box in your daily Panda Planner to note down your workouts each day, try using the monthly schedule to mark out which days of the week to do which activities.

Do you use your planner to schedule your workouts? Let us know what your process is.