How to Keep Your Mind & Body Productive When Stuck Behind a Desk


If you suffer from cramped feet, jumpy legs, and a general sense of tiredness and apathy throughout the long days spent cooped up behind a desk, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are simple solutions you can try without needing to get up and leave your desk for a full workout session. 

Here are a few exercises you can do right at your desk to help you revive your muscles, invigorate your mind, and ensure that you have a strong end to each workday.

Avoid the Bad Options

For starters, it’s important to point out that you shouldn’t use your desk breaks to engage in activities that are harmful or bad for you. Things like snacking on junk food, surfing the web, checking social media, and soaking up phone screen time should generally be avoided.

Instead, consider the following alternatives as healthier options to keep your body and mind running smoothly right from your desk.

Try Stretching and Find a Deskersize Routine

If you want to avoid issues like cramped muscles and restless leg syndrome, you should look for ways to increase your exercise and generally get moving. Three of the best ways you can do so are:

  • Getting up and stretching on a regular basis. 
  • Massaging your legs and feet and applying a heating pad or ice pack.
  • Finding a good deskercise routine that can help you “move without moving.”

Stretching and exercising at your desk are critical activities if you want to maintain your physical health while working.

Regain Some Control

If you truly want to stay productive over the course of each day, it’s important that you couple physical activity with mental exercise. If you find that your mind is wandering and your focus is suffering, take some time to pause your work and regain some much-needed mental control.

You can do this in multiple ways. For instance, take some time to organize your desk in order to declutter your mind and optimize your workflow. 

You can also use your breaks to review your schedule and practice time management. For example, take time to review the work that you have left for the day or the week in order to remain aware of what lies ahead. You can also look for ways to improve your existing calendar, such as rescheduling late afternoon meetings or avoiding stacking too much work right before a holiday.

In addition, if you find that you’re struggling with stress, use your breaks to engage in some stress and anxiety management, such as:

  • Practicing mindfulness of your surroundings.
  • Embracing an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude.
  • Using breathing exercises to calm the mind and body together.

By taking the time to calm down and assess your schedule, you can maintain better mental health and clarity, both of which are essential to long-term productivity.

Unplug and Then Challenge Yourself

If you’re feeling unproductive, sometimes the right choice is to practice a little healthy procrastination by putting work activities off and unplugging for a bit. 

The concept of unplugging can mean different things to different people. The general focus usually revolves around disconnecting from devices and stepping away from work, in general, in order to try to relax your body and recharge your mind. 

Sometimes when you’re unplugging it involves doing something intensive like exercising. At other times it can literally mean doing nothing at all. If you’re at your desk, you can find simple and stress-free unplugging activities to do, such as:

  • Playing a trivia game with a friend to provide a constructive way to socialize.
  • Giving yourself a stress-free challenge, such as taking a speed typing quiz or a speed reading test.
  • Doing a physical puzzle to keep you engaged while resting your eyes from too much screen time.
  • Downloading a fun challenge, such as a crossword or scrabble app, to keep your mind both relaxed and active at the same time.

Regardless of the specifics, unplugging and finding non-work-related activities to do can be a great way to let your mind rest a bit and reset before the rest of the workday begins.

Keeping Your Body and Mind Healthy Right at Your Desk

There are many ways that you can keep your body in shape and your mind sharp without having to completely upend your workday with a trip to the gym.

Things like getting up to stretch and engaging in a deskercise routine will keep your body moving and your blood flowing. Reducing stress, unplugging, and gently challenging your mind in creative ways are all excellent options to keep your mind on point, as well. 

The most essential step of all, though, is taking the time to recognize the importance of engaging in at-your-desk activity on a regular basis. If you can both see the need and manage to incorporate mind and body exercises into your daily routines, you’ll be able to truly benefit from them over the weeks, months, and years that you spend happily producing at your desk.

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