Working in an office can be tough on your mental and physical health. Sitting at a desk all day, eating unhealthy snacks, and not getting enough exercise can all contribute to poor health. But there are ways to stay healthy at work! With the right strategies, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle even when you’re stuck in the office. From taking regular breaks to eating nutritious meals, here are some tips for staying healthy at work.
1) Watch What You Eat: Snack Edition
It is true that a little snack here and there can give you the energy required to do your job. But, if you are not careful, these snacks can add some unwanted pounds. How do you avoid this? Be intentional about what you are keeping in your desk drawer. Instead of stuffing it with chocolate and other sweets, try placing some trail mix or dried fruit. This way you will have something healthy on hand when the munchies strike.
2) The Power of H2O
I know. I know what you’re thinking. “Not this again! Just give me a pot of coffee and I’ll be fine!” Trust me, I frequently have the same argument with myself. But, it is true. Water will help you focus and you will definitely feel better if you make the effort to stay hydrated.
Drinking plenty of H2O is the best way to stay hydrated so make it fun by turning it into a game. Get a 16 oz bottle of water and challenge yourself to drink 1 bottle by noon, another bottle by 3 pm, and a third bottle by 5 pm.
If you can’t imagine yourself drinking that much water, you can slowly work your way up to the three bottles by 5 pm. Start with challenging yourself to drink a 16 oz bottle of water by noon for one week. Then, for the second week try drinking one bottle by noon and a second bottle by 3pm. For the third week, try drinking all three bottles by 5 pm.
3) Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
One thing that most people don’t get enough of is exercise. Is this especially true for those who have desk jobs and spend most of their time sitting in front of a computer. This is a problem because a lack of exercise impacts both your health and your ability to focus on your job.
Trying to get a full workout when you are working a 12 hour day can seem impossible. And that is okay! Start small by incorporating stretch breaks throughout the day. These can even be done at your desk.
Another helpful tip is to go out for walks during lunch. This will get you moving AND get you some fresh air. A definite win-win if you ask me. If you need a little extra motivation, find a buddy to walk with you. They can help make the walk more interesting and make sure you do your daily walk (even if you are “too busy”).
4) A Healthy Lunch
This tip goes hand in hand with the tip on snacks. You should always be mindful of what you are eating and opt for healthy options when possible. This often requires planning ahead. When you go to the grocery store, have a plan for what you are planning to eat for lunch each day. Then, if possible, prep your lunches for the week and make them easy to grab on your way out the door.
You also want to be prepared for when you forget your lunch. Because it will happen. Scout out where you can grab something healthy near the office. A great time to do this is on one of your daily walks.
5) Do You Have 20/20/20 Vision?
Take a minute and close your eyes. Did you feel that? Did you feel them relaxing?
Eye strain is a serious problem for those of us who spend a lot of time on the computer. The issue becomes even greater when you consider all of the time spent on smartphones, tablets, iPads, etc.
A good rule of thumb is to follow the 20/20/20 rule. This rule is designed to remind you to give your eyes frequent breaks throughout the day. Every 20 minutes, you should stop what you’re doing and look at something 20 feet away. You should spend 20 seconds looking at this object.
6) Did someone Say Vay-Cay?
Something that you may be surprised to find on this list are vacations. Today’s culture praises those who work themselves to the bone. There is almost an undertone of disapproval when someone takes an extended vacation. However, it has been proven that taking a break and recharging your batteries leads you to be more productive when you return to work.
Vacations also keep you healthy! This is because vacations allow you to take your mind off of work and other stressors in your life. When your stress is under control, your immune system is less likely to be impaired. As a result, you won’t get sick as often.
7) Burnout Strikes Again…
During the work week, you need to make sure you are not burning the candle at both ends. A few long days are unlikely to have an impact on your health. But, too many will impact your health in a negative way.
The constant stress, commonly known as burnout, has a tendency to sneak up on people. Often, you are unaware of it until it begins to affect your relationships and your moods. Burnout also hurts your immune system, interferes with your sleep, and affects your ability to concentrate.
8) Defend Yourself with Disinfectant
A common problem that could be affecting your health is the working lunch. These days, it is common for individuals to eat at their desks while they work. After all, there is so much to do and so little time!
Unfortunately, as you are eating, crumbs are falling into your keyboard and bacteria are being transferred to your mouse. This results in the possibility of you getting sick from a foodborne illness.
If you need to have a working lunch, make sure you have plenty of disinfectant wipes on hand. Wipe your desk, keyboard, and mouse before and after you eat. Promptly clean up any spills. And make sure you keep perishables refrigerated and properly heat food.
9) The Art of Self-Awareness
Arguably the most important tip for work-place health is to practice self-awareness. Everyone has different limitations. So, know yours and stay within them. If you need to get up and take a break. Get up and take a break. If you need to go on vacation. Go on vacation. If you need to say “no” to a week-long stretch of 16 hour days. Learn to say “no.”
At the end of the day, you know yourself best. So, don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself and set boundaries. At the end of the day, you will be healthier and happier. You have one life so live it to the fullest!