Orchard Now Delivering to Homes

During this unprecedented time, we have made the decision to serve our communities by delivering fresh fruit and snack boxes to people’s homes.

Orchard At The Office has delivered fresh fruit to offices since 2010 and we are still delivering to offices that remain open during the COVID-19 crisis. In an attempt to “flatten the curve” and prevent widespread illness, many offices have temporarily closed. Thousands of people in our community cannot safely shop in public.

Social Distancing

Home delivery will allow us to provide fresh fruit and healthy snacks to vulnerable populations like seniors and people with compromised immune systems.  It will enable people who are self-quarantined due to recent travel, illness or possible exposure to COVID-19 to receive fresh fruit that may be out of stock from local grocery store delivery services. It also allows us to continue to employ our outstanding delivery drivers and staff, many of whom have been part of the Orchard team for 5+ years.

Many families are suddenly homeschooling since schools and daycare facilities are closed for an indeterminate period. Parents are juggling remote work responsibilities and children’s learning needs. Getting to the store is much more difficult with several children in tow. Plus, unboxing a snack box filled with healthy treats adds excitement and joy to a monotonous day in self-isolation.

Workplace Safety is Paramount

We are committed to following the CDC Guidelines for workplace safety. Our fruit is supplied by our trusted wholesale partners, not the local grocery store, so our delivery professionals are not exposed to large groups of people.  Deliveries are made to the doorstep to ensure 6 feet of social distance is maintained and we never enter a customer’s residence.

We look forward to serving our customers when their offices reopen and we will continue to serve our community members at home as long as the need exists.

Finding Calm in the Storm

Modern life offers us so many serious issues to worry about and few of these complex problems have easy solutions. Coronavirus, the stock market, travel plans, tax season, health scares and aging parents top the list of worries for many. In addition, the constant flow of information coming through our screens often means there is no escape from worrying subject matter. How can you protect your mental well-being from the constant onslaught of frightening scenarios? Additionally, how can you panic-proof your organization and promote calmness?

Techniques to Champion Calmness in Your Organization

The many challenges and unknowns in life will continue to confront us. If we can cultivate calm minds in our companies, we will be better able to respond with clarity and recover from adverse events more quickly. Just as panic can spread through a room, an organization or a country, calmness can be contagious if it is promoted.

Nurturing Serenity

Calmness is the mental state of being free from agitation, excitement, or disturbance. Life’s challenges prevent this from persisting as a constant mental state, but calmness is a practice that can be learned and employed during demanding times.

Close your eyes and picture a calm person you know. What is it about this person that tells you they are calm? A calm person may speak in an even, unperturbed tone of voice. Their shoulders are relaxed, and their faces are neutral and serene. A calm person may pause for a moment before replying to a question or comment. They are often considered “the voice of reason” in chaotic situations.

There are many benefits to cultivating a calm state of mind in your organization. When the mind is calm, people can think more clearly and are less likely to make mistakes. Employees have a greater capacity to be empathetic and tolerant of others, allowing them to see the big picture in conflicts. When people are calm, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing are in the normal zone, reducing the risk of health complications. The mind is also more capable of creative problem solving as crisis mode thinking pushes people to make situations black or white issues when reality contains countless shades of gray.

Calm the Mind with Meditation

Meditation is a set of techniques that are intended to encourage a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. For some, the idea of meditating can be overwhelming and intimidating. There are many different types of meditation so try several until you find the style that works best for you. Encourage employees to meditate at their desks for several minutes each day to reap the benefits of quieting their minds.

The Effects and Benefits of Meditation 

Research has shown that meditation can have both physiological and psychological effects. Some of the positive physiological effects include a lowered state of physical arousal, decreased respiration rate, decreased heart rate, changes in brain wave patterns and lowered stress.

Some of the other psychological, emotional, and health-related benefits of meditation include:

  • Improved stress management
  • Improved mental and emotional well-being
  • Better symptom management for issues including anxiety disorders, depression, sleep disorders, chronic pain and high blood pressure
  • Improvement in working memory and executive function
  • Improvements in verbal fluency and visual-spatial processing
  • Improvement in mood

Create a Tranquil Workspace

Your five senses supply your brain with a tremendous number of stimuli every second of the day. Take a moment now to survey your sensory surroundings. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and feel in your current space? How frequently are you receiving alerts from your email or phone? Is your desk a mess? Are noisy coworkers a constant source of irritation for you? Are you sitting in an uncomfortable chair at a desk that is too low for your laptop? Is your office freezing cold?

The path to calm in the office begins with your workspace. Take a few minutes to organize your area, adjust the height of your chair and change the settings on your digital distractions. Perhaps it is time to invest in noise-canceling headphones. Adorn your desk with a couple of items that bring you pleasure to see. Leave a warm jacket or lap throw in your office for days when the ambient temperature is uncomfortably cool. There is a multitude of quick, inexpensive ways to make the place where you spend at least 8 hours a day more comfortable, inviting and calming. Give yourself and your employees permission to create personal spaces to enjoy.

Reset with a Deep Sigh

Research shows that sighing functions as a physiological resetter. When you find yourself feeling anxious, frustrated, or agitated, tap into your body’s own stress-relief mechanisms–sighing. Focus on your breath. Inhale deeply and exhale fully. This allows you to refocus both your body and your mind. Encourage staffers to reframe sighing as a positive action that relieves stress instead of as a sign of frustration or impatience.

Get Some Fresh Air

Uncomfortable temperatures and poor air circulation in a room can increase feelings of anxiety or frustration. If you’re feeling tense and the office is hot and stuffy or too cold, go outside for a few minutes. Fresh air and a change of scenery can interrupt anxious thoughts and help you become calmer. Consider holding meetings outdoors when the weather is especially nice.

Start a Gratitude Journal

Focusing on gratitude helps counterbalance negative or fearful thoughts. Encourage employees to take a few minutes several times a week to write down reasons to feel thankful or appreciative. Being as specific as possible, focus on the people to whom you are grateful instead of on a generic list of things. Be grateful for any negative outcomes you avoided, escaped, prevented, or turned into something positive. Create a Gratitude Board or Good News Board in the breakroom where employees can share their thankfulness for colleagues.

Diffuse Lavender Oil

Lavender increases relaxation, encourages sleep and helps relieve anxiety. Lavender interacts with the neurotransmitter GABA to help quiet the brain and nervous system activity, reducing agitation, anger, aggression, and restlessness. If permitted, diffuse lavender at your desk to reduce stress. Other ways to benefit from lavender include applying the diluted oil to pulse points or adding a couple of drops to cupped hands and inhaling the scent.

Listen to Music or Soothing Sounds

Listening to music can be a powerful tool in relaxing our minds and bodies. Classical music has shown to have beneficial effects on heart rate and blood pressure, and it can decrease the levels of stress hormones. Nature sounds such as babbling brooks, ocean waves, rolling thunder or ambient forest sounds are also potent stress reducers that can help you calm your mind. Consider creating a playlist of music or sounds you find relaxing. Encourage employees to listen to music through earbuds at their desks.

Social Media Boundaries

Social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends, colleagues and family. It can also be a source of negativity and misinformation. Consider deleting social media apps from your phone and limiting scrolling to 15 minutes in the evening. If you are not ready to step away, consider unfollowing pages or people who consistently post content that disturbs your peace. We can love people and not enjoy them on social media at the same time.

Limit News Consumption

It is vital to stay informed but that does not mean you have to listen to or read the news several times a day. Download a podcast about your hobby or favorite show to enjoy during your commute. Catch up on some reading with audiobooks. Unfollow blogs that feature sensational content or employ fearmongering tactics. Choose a couple of reliable sources for news and limit visits to once a day. Avoid leaving the television in the breakroom on a news channel.

Breathing Techniques

Breathing exercises are an excellent tool for defusing tension, relieving stress and regaining focus. They require no extra space or specialized equipment and can bring about a dramatic change in a few minutes.

Box Breathing

Box breathing is a breath exercise you can practice anywhere when you are in need of calming.

1.     Breathe in slowly and deeply for a count of four.

2.     Hold that breath for a count of four.

3.     Exhale slowly through pursed lips for a count of four.

4.     Rest with empty lungs for a count of four.

5.     Take two normal breaths.

6.     Repeat box breaths.

There are several free apps people can utilize for practicing box breathing. As you become more comfortable with box breathing, you can increase the amount of time you perform each step, working your way up to 8 seconds. Lead several rounds of box breathing at the beginning of a meeting to promote calmness.

Breath Meditation Step-by-Step

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your back straight and shoulders relaxed.
  2. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Feel your body where it comes into contact with the chair. Notice the physical sensations associated with sitting in the chair-feelings of pressure, warmth, etc.
  3. Gradually turn your attention to the process of breathing. Notice wherever you feel the breath most clearly, whether in your nose or in the rising and falling your chest or abdomen.
  4. Allow your attention to remain focused on the sensations of your breathing. (There is no need to control your breath. Just let it come and go naturally.)
  5. Every time your mind wanders, gently return it to the sensation of breathing.
  6. As you focus on your breath, you will notice that thoughts and sensations continue to appear. Simply notice these as they emerge, and then return to the sensation of breathing.
  7. Repeat this process during the time you set aside to meditate.

A Better Way Forward

Promoting behaviors that relieve stress and encourage calm minds is an inexpensive, effective way to improve the well-being of your staff. Facing unpleasant, frustrating or even terrifying events with calmness does not make them disappear. However, choosing a calm response gives us the opportunity to assess the situation, formulate a thoughtful plan and care for those around us in a way that unites instead of divides.

Do You Suffer from Gymtimidation?


You’ve signed up for a gym membership to take control of your fitness. Or maybe you’ve just moved into an apartment complex that has a fancy, on-site gym. This is fantastic! You deserve a pat on the back for taking the initiative to improve your health.

You may visit a couple of times before things “come up” that keep you from the gym. (You might even be a little scared of setting foot in the gym at all!) While life can interrupt our plans from time to time, too many missed visits could be the result of gym intimidation, or gymtimidation.

What Intimidates You at the Gym?

There are two very common things that keep people out of the gym: equipment and people. Recognizing what intimidates you empowers you to find gym success despite those concerns.

Navigating the Gym

Fitness equipment can be very confusing, especially if you’re new to the gym. Here are a few tips to help you find your way with the equipment.

  • Hire a personal trainer or take a gym-rat friend to show you the ropes. Some memberships include a free personal training session, which sets you up with a club trainer who knows that facility’s specific machinery. Ask to video the session so you can reference the video on future visits.
  • Stick to familiar apparatuses in the beginning. Hop on a treadmill or stationary bike. Watch how gym regulars use the other equipment to see how it works. (You can also take a photo of unused equipment and ask your friends about it.)
  • Hit the internet for videos on how to use the equipment available in your gym. Sweat has a wonderful reference for common gym pieces and how to use them. (They also break down what each machine does for your body and how to get the most out of your workout.)
  • Ask the staff about anything that’s unfamiliar. As employees of the health club, they can help you find answers.

Working Around the Fit Folks

Gyms are filled with buff and beautiful people, which can make anyone feel self-conscious. While there are a few people who just want to focus on sweating, many members are very nice and started out just like you. Regular attendance has helped them progress, just as it will for you.

If the environment feels unfriendly to you, there are many gym options available. VeryWell Fit details options for different kinds of gyms to help you find the right one for you. You may consider going during less-busy hours for more access to the equipment you want to use. Many health clubs offer a free visit or group class so you can see if it’s a good fit.

Remember that everyone starts their fitness journey somewhere. It’s better to start now and stick to it, noticing the small changes in your health and wellness over time. Soon you will work your way past that gymtimidation.

Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome With Healthy Habits

The modern lifestyle involves a lot more screen time than previous generations. Work is more efficient with technology, but it also means we spend a large portion of our time staring at screens. Additionally, handheld devices like phones and tablets are vital tools for everyday activities. We use them for mobile games, watching videos, shopping and interacting on social media to help us unwind, relieve stress and accomplish more.

Normally, we blink about 15-20 times a minute but research shows that people blink less than half as often when they’re reading, watching, or playing on a screen. Less blinking and prolonged focusing on a flickering screen leads to dry, irritated eyes, blurry vision and headaches. The collective symptoms of digital eye strain are also called Computer Vision Syndrome.

Surviving a Screen-Centric Office

While you can’t eliminate screens completely from your job or everyday life, you can form new habits to reduce the impact of screen time.

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  • Make sure the lighting in the room you’re in is bright enough. Your device should not be brighter than the surroundings.
  • Leave your desk for at least one minute every hour. Being glued to the screen also means being glued to the desk. There’s a reason for the saying “sitting is the new smoking”– your cardiovascular health suffers from too much sitting. A brisk walk or short exercise break rescues your eyes from the screen and supports heart health.
  • Plan your day to break up the screen time with other tasks. Filing, checking the mail and pacing during conference calls will get your eyes off the screen. Consider your daily agenda in advance so you take these opportunities for physical activity between computer sessions.
  • Try over-the-counter lubricating eye drops when your eyes are feeling dry, irritated or uncomfortable.

Put it Down to Prevent Eye Strain

Some employers take advantage of our tech addiction and send non-urgent texts and emails after the workday has ended. While your job may require you to address urgent issues after hours, don’t get glued to your screen for work when it’s not pressing. Just because you are a text away doesn’t mean you’re on call 24/7. Discipline yourself to be part of the solution and hold off on sending non-urgent communication until office hours resume.

When it’s time to unwind, make sure you aren’t stuck in your phone or device. Time Magazine notes the importance of balancing screen-based and screen-free activities. Enjoy online interactions and mobile games in moderation. Make a point to connect without screens when you’re at home with your pets or family. Take the opportunity to go on a walk together and talk about the day.

What about blue light blocking glasses? Digital eye strain and brain stimulation from blue light are two different issues. Blue light blocking glasses won’t ease eye strain but a growing body of research supports the claim that blocking blue light before bed can help you sleep better. Studies suggest participants who wore blue-light-blocking glasses three hours before bedtime reported better sleep quality and mood than those who didn’t.

Turn off your screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime and allow yourself 30 minutes without a device when you awake each morning. You may just notice a difference in your physical and mental health.

While we cannot escape screens, becoming mindful of our eyes’ needs for rest and refocusing can reduce or eliminate symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome.

Give Yourself a Little Love: American Heart Month


Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. With one in four Americans dying from heart disease each year, we can all benefit from improving our heart health. February is American Heart Month, an opportunity to boost heart disease awareness and take action to support our own heart health.


Five Valentines for Your Heart


Walking for heart health

  1. A nice, romantic stroll for one. Walking is a very accessible way to start improving cardiovascular health. American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of brisk walking five times a week. Put on some tennis shoes and take it to the streets or a local mall. (You don’t have to go it alone. Take your dog, a best friend, your partner or your family.)


  1. The apple of your eye. The apple-a-day advice isn’t just a fun saying. Apples Apples are heart healthy
    are rich in fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. Medical News Today references a study that followed the effects of apples on stroke risk. Apples are also great for lowering cholesterol. Adding an apple a day to your life is a pretty easy habit to adopt.


  1. Savor your steak. Many Americans love red meat. It’s nutrient-dense and quite tasty when smartly prepared. However, limiting your red meat intake could reduce your heart disease risk. High saturated fat content in steak can contribute to heart disease. If you love steak and cheeseburgers, enjoy them sparingly. Consider cutting back to one delicious red meat dish per week.


  1. Take yourself to bed. Sleep deprivation is cruel to your health. Without regular,
    restful sleep, your body can’t complete many necessary functions for overall health and wellness. The body is built of cooperative systems, and those other malfunctions will eventually impact your heart health. Remove distractions from your bedroom and stick to a sleep schedule. If you may have sleep apnea, start seeking a diagnosis now to save years of distress on your heart.


  1. Make self-love a priority. Know your numbers for cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. Aim for total cholesterol of less than 200, with triglycerides less than 150. Fasting blood sugar should be less than 100. The blood pressure goal is 120/80 or lower. Pay attention to possible symptoms that something is amiss. Get regular check-ups. De-stress and unplug. There’s also no harm in building yourself up with pep talks when you’re faced with health and life challenges.


Make your heart health a priority this month by giving yourself these little valentines. Turn these tips into habits and your heart will be grateful for years to come.