Why task looping is hurting your health & what to do about it...
Maintaining good health is often easier to achieve when you understand how things function in the body and the mind, and the effect that your everyday habits may have.
For example, when you learn that prolonged sitting often causes knee pain, you may be likely to walk more and sit less.
Knowledge is power. When you’re empowered to see the whole picture, knowledge will support consistent good in your life.
Enter the world of task looping
Task looping refers to repeating the same task without much focus on the body. Over time, as tasks are repeated, looping can induce an apnea-related state, moving from energized to depleted.
Your breath rate slows down, blood oxygen levels go down, and you start to lose focus. The body experiences waking hibernation.
Here’s a common example of this:
Check email -> Work on spreadsheet -> Check chat box -> Repeat
A spin cycle of work-related tasks keep you occupied while everything else drifts into autopilot. A few minutes turns into a few hours, and before you know it, the day is gone.
Now, this may not be your exact scenario, but I know you can relate. And, it's time to do something about it.
Relief with conscious fidgeting
As a well-being coach, I use the slogan "move it or lose it" to bring context to the connection between the physical body and the brain.
Simply put, if you don't move your body in restorative ways daily, brain power diminishes. This is one reason why you feel so clear after a good workout.
But, what if you have minimal time to focus on moving?
Become okay with fidgeting.
Fidgeting is a core human function that helps the nervous system manage a stable connection between tissues, organs and the brain.
Don't believe me? Just watch a baby develop new skills. Always fidgeting to stimulate learning, adapting. The same can be said of a professional athlete. Lots of stretching and recovery movement. You'll even see them fidget (stretch & shake) seconds before an event.
For everyday purposes, we can focus on minimal movement and stretches to release stiffness and build the connection from body to brain that involves your breath. It resembles what you do when you stretch unconsciously in the morning. You yawn and lift your hands over your head, reaching as far as you can, and automatically bring you and your body into alignment.
The trick is to turn what was unconscious stretching upon waking into conscious stretching throughout the day. You do a little at a time, and trigger awareness when your body and mind are dozing off, noticing the actionable movement or stretch that will help restore balance. Maybe it’s the relief you feel after a few deep body weight squats, breathing out on the way down … some wrist stretching with added breath … a walk around the house or office …. A couple of minutes of self-care on the foam roller.
What’s your jam? Whatever it may be, develop the skill to maintain your energy all day and reduce injuries that seem to creep up out of nowhere.
You are human. Movement is required.
Follow my 4 step process to remedy task looping:
#1 Looking at your daily schedule and set reminders to stretch & move on the regular.
#2 Develop a basic knowledge of stretching and breathing exercises that you can use during regular breaks.
#3 Make use of your natural environment to bring balance back to your day. Sit outside for a few minutes or going on a short nature walk between tasks.
#4 Keep stretching tools such as a foam roll or stretching band near your work area to remind you that regular mobility is accessible, even during busy moments.