Ahhh Fall. It’s the season for comfy sweaters, fabulous boots, spiced lattes and … coming down with a nasty bug. Don’t try to deny it – it’s the truth! With less outdoor activity happening, and more time spent cooped up without fresh air, the germ game is on 100. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Staples, more than 73% of people catch the flu at work. I wasn’t expecting to hear this stat because I was certain that it was our little petri dishes (i.e. kiddos) bringing the flu home from school. Turns out, it’s our colleagues and co-workers that are sharing the germy love. The good news is that you can fight back with a strategy that might come as a surprise: Feng Shui.
For guidance on how the art of Feng Shui can help keep my fellow entrepreneurs, small business owners and me healthy this flu season, I had the pleasure of speaking to expert Susan Chan of Feng Shui Creative. Susan started out as a graphic designer and also working in corporate event spaces — it was during that time that she really embraced how our surroundings can affect us. Let me know if you can relate to this: you’re trying your best to meet a deadline or create a piece of content, but you’re completely distracted by the clutter on your desk or the lack of sunlight or feeling cramped. It happens to me too. Once Susan started implementing the concepts of Feng Shui, she started feeling a change internally and externally.
Here’s how we can think outside of the box and take a total wellness approach:
It’s All About Energy
Feng Shui is based on the seasons and elements. This is the time of year when our energy — or chi — contracts, and so it’s important to achieve that perfect balance of energy flow. I found this tidbit to be so interesting: if the energy around you is moving too fast, you can’t absorb all of the good energy; on the flip side, if it’s too slow, then the energy stagnates.
To help out the flow of energy in your space:
- Make sure to open windows and doors as often as you can (to allow the energy to move)
- Practice yoga or Qigong (to keep your energy flowing)
- Position your desk in a quiet space (to reduce overwhelm)
- Use uplighting (it pushes the energy upwards) — even better if you are using full spectrum lights
Embrace the Elements
This probably won’t come as a surprise but nature has a lot of the answers. Bring plants into your workspace (even if you can only swing a small one), since they are natural air purifiers. Susan also recommends that you introduce the colors of green and purple into your office space, which are considered wood elements. Lush and healing, wood elements bring the energy of vibrant health, vitality and growth to a workspace. Adding in some pretty rocks to your decor can also boost the energy as rock are considered earth elements.
The Basics Do Work
Regular hand washing and disinfecting surfaces really do make a difference. Even actions such as dusting air vents regularly can help overall office health both holistically and traditionally: not only will it improve the air quality, but it will improve the overall energy flow. Listen to this: according to the CDC, the flu virus can live for up to 48 hours after being left behind on a surface! And yet, according to their Workplace Survey, Staples found that less than half of employers provide disinfecting wipes to protect against germs. Imagine that something as simple access to surface cleaning wipes and hand sanitizers can be the first line of defense in flu prevention.
If you have an employer, consider sharing some of these tips with them and asking if they are open to making small changes to your workspace, with health and wellness in mind. After all, a team that is mentally and physically well makes for a win-win for all. And if you are self-employed, then the charge is easy: take a day to rearrange your office space and increase that healing energy flow. Susan’s tips will help you elevate your office’s energy to best promote health and wellness, and Staples can help you with your office design needs as you contemplate the space’s layout with their design expert services.
Staples has everything office managers need to fight the flu, from simple design tips that can impact office energy and productivity and is a one-stop-shop to purchase everything you need to increase total wellness. For more flu-fighting facts and tips, visit the Staples Health & Wellness Center.
Last But Not Least
Set your intention. As with anything meaningful that we do in life, setting our intention for a positive outcome is crucial. We want to manifest health, wellness, happiness and longevity – speaking it gives the intention power. Stay healthy, fam.
Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Staples. All views expressed are my own. Did you know that Staples has a Small Business Advantage Resource Center? Now you do!