Best Practices on Staying Healthy in the Office
If you are like myself, and most American’s you spend a good amount of your day at the office. Perhaps you believe it’s impossible to stay healthy, maintain your diet, and practice healthy habits regularly. I can assure you that it’s not impossible. If you are fortunate enough you may work somewhere with a gym, healthy options in a cafeteria, or office spaces with treadmills to help you get moving. This is not the case for everyone, but due to past experience, I know these things do exist.
For those of us who don’t have these options available, I’ve come up with my own list of tips, tricks, and easy ways to help you stay healthier and stronger at the office. Simple things you can do to improve your overall wellbeing, physical, emotional, and mental health.
1. Stay Hydrated
Drinking lots of water helps us stay hydrated, can prevent headaches, and eventually forces us to get moving since eventually you will need to walk to the rest rooms. Personally, I enjoy having a fun water bottle, preferably with a straw, as I find it easier to hit my daily water intake goal this way. If you don’t like water, try seltzer, or adding fresh lemon to your water.
2. Get Moving!
Get up and take a walk, schedule a walking meeting if possible, take the stairs, stand up and stretch often. Sounds simple, but most of us don’t do these things, and rarely consider them. If you have the opportunity, you can even stand at your desk, ergonomic desks are great for this, or putting your monitor on a higher base so that you don’t strain your neck. Try and stretch once an hour, don’t let your body get stiff and tense. We tend to hold stress in our shoulders and neck, which can cause injury, and headaches. Take the stairs, get your heart rate up, especially if you don’t have time for a workout in your day. Even if there isn’t scenic walk, you can walk around the building, or even within the office, in the stairwell, anything that works and is available to you to get moving.
3. Step Away from the Computer
It’s hard looking at a screen all day, it’s hard on the eyes, neck, back, shoulders, and head. Take short breaks to step away, this can also help with focus and improve the quality of our work if we take a few moments to step back from the screen. Things like turning the brightness down, sitting up with proper posture, and shifting your body occasionally while at your desk.
4. Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand
Avoid processed foods and vending machines. Keep healthy snacks on hand to avoid making poor choices due to what’s available. Things like nuts, dried fruit, fruit, vegetables, peanut butter, protein bars. Protein can also give us an energy boost that we are often needing by mid-day. One of my personal favorites if apples and chocolate hummus, or veggie sticks with original hummus.
5. Pack Your Own Lunch
Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep. Bring your own lunch so that you aren’t forced to order whatever the office is ordering, you know the ingredients are fresh. You are able to be better to control what you put into your body. You’re more likely to get a fresh meal that will be more nutrient-dense when you pack your own lunch. You may also find that cooking and meal prep are enjoyable for you.
6. Take Your Break
It’s not sustainable to work all the time, and it’s not healthy to. Set aside time in your schedule for your break. Use this time to meditate, stretch, eat, get moving, listen to music, catch up with a friend. It could even be scrolling mindlessly through social media, talking to a co-worker about anything other than work, or making yourself a cup of tea.
7. STOP Over-doing the Caffeine
Remember the part about hydrate and drink more water? Well, caffeine is okay in moderation. Rather than that third, fourth, or fifth cup of coffee try de-caffeinated tea, hot chocolate, or water instead.
Seems obvious, right? However, often times we are all go, go, go, and forget to slow down and smell the flowers. Take a moment to focus on your breath, re-center, re-connect with yourself. Perhaps you even practice mindfulness or meditation.
9. Sleep Hygiene
Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night, try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake at the same time each morning. This will help you get better rest and fall into a healthy sleep routine.
10. Keep a Clean Workspace
Keep a clean work space, first, it will be less overwhelming, and secondly it will help prevent spreading germs. Wash your desk down, I do this daily, however trying to do so at least a few times a week can help prevent spreading of gems and viruses. Was your hands, keep hand sanitizer around in case you don’t have access to wash your hands, and if you don’t feel well, stay home.