24 January 2011 ~ 0 Comments

My best co-worker

An observation about the solopreneurs. We work too hard.  No news-flash there.  Here’s what you may not know: having a dog makes things better.  I’ve been to a lot of people’s work places over the years as part of my job doing ergonomic evaluations and I’ve noticed that people who have dogs have a better outlook on work.  No really, people who have dogs in the workspace tend to be more active, less stressed, and report more interaction during the day.  Sure, they are interacting with a dog who doesn’t talk back (though there have been a few debates about that).  However, they are talking to someone who listens. 

The dog isn’t just there to listen – he or she acts as our work timers.  Work too long and she’ll come barking, pawing, nudging or just plain making a nuisance of herself.  That is great!  It reminds us to release the keyboard or phone, step away from the desk, take a deep breath, and even have a few laughs. 

It is well known that dogs lower blood pressure.  No big news-flash here either.  However, when you work all by yourself, usually in a closed off room separate from the rest of the house (after all, you need your peace and quiet), you tend to get really involved in what you are doing.  When you do that you tend to hold your breath.  Not so long that you pass out – just enough to slow down your respiratory rate and make you feel tired.  Where does the dog come in?  Usually with a goofy expression or your best high-heel shoe just in time to keep you from passing out over the keys.  So, not only are they good for your blood pressure, but they are also good for your blood oxygenation levels.  Laughter or chasing him in absolute hysteria both make you take deep breaths.

Nothing against cats, but they don’t mind lounging around all day and only bother you when they want to be fed.  Getting up every four hours is not enough movement.  Granted, there are some cats that will come and walk on your keys to get your attention more often.  Love them!  They may very well be as helpful as dogs (but don’t tell my dog that).

Don’t have a dog?  Well, that means you will have to be your own timer.  Stretch, breath, wiggle, and fidget often while at the computer, on the phone, driving, or reading – your body will thank you for it.  A lot people tell me that they move often. Every time their body aches they do something to make it feel better.  Hate to tell you, but that may be too late.  I would highly recommend that you do something every 15-20 minutes to keep the blood flowing —  before your body aches. You’ll find you last longer and have a clearer head for all the work that lays before you.

So, should you go out and get a dog?  Well, I can’t make that decision for you.  However, if you were on the fence about it – think about all the health benefits that come from dog cohabitation!  And think, very few bosses would let you bring your dog to work with you.  Aren’t you glad you are your own boss?

My doggy is staring at me, so I better get moving.

Keep wiggling often!  Naomi

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