When I talk to a lot of people about their health, a common complaint that comes up is that their work day is so packed and fast-paced that they don’t have time to take care of themselves. The usual walk around the block in their lunch hour goes out the window, and the salad they’d planned on having becomes a slice of pizza at their desk. When you combine this with sitting in a chair for (x) hours a day, staying healthy at work starts to feel like a real challenge. To make the struggle easier for you, here are some of my best tips on staying healthy at work.
The first tip I’ll offer isn’t exactly a tip for the workplace. However, it’s closely tied to your job and can make all the difference to how you feel in the office. Make sure you’re taking advantage of all the health benefits which come with your job. Every company is legally obliged to give their workers a certain quota of benefits, but most will go above and beyond this. Retirement plans, voucher schemes, and health services like Health Assured all fall into this category. I’m sure when you first applied for your job, you were more concerned about the hours you’d be working and the salary you’d get out of it. Perhaps it’s time to dig a little deeper into that “great benefits” that then ad mentioned. You could be taking advantage of a standard of healthcare which is far superior to what you’re getting right now.
Now, onto the more simple, practical stuff. One thing you can do to immediately improve your health at work is ditching the morning coffee. Daily coffee is a ritual a lot of people buy into, so this may sound like sacrilege to you at the moment! True, the caffeine you get from that double espresso gets you up and active, and makes you feel more ready for the day’s work ahead of you. However, the high is only temporary, and you’re going to have to crash sooner or later. This crash will have a serious impact on your energy and motivation, straining your mind and harming your performance at work. Aside from all that, caffeine is highly addictive, and maintaining this habit will probably drag you into a vicious cycle. There are other ways to get your energy levels up, like multivitamins, smoothies and plenty of water.
My next tip is to get into a completely new habit; keeping healthy snacks on you throughout the work day. This is an especially important tip for those of us who have to get up at stupid o’clock, and have a long wait between breakfast and lunch. When the stress is piling on and you can see your favourite chocolate bar taunting you from the vending machine, it can be very easy to give into temptation. Dried fruit, nuts, whole wheat crackers and so on are great ways to stave this off. Aside from the unhealthy snacking, keeping healthy bits and pieces on you will also help with your portion control when you hit the lunch hour. Some people, when looking to improve their eating habits, will try to cut snacking out altogether. This leads to our blood sugar levels depleting from breakfast. By the time lunch comes around, we feel like we’re starving to death, and will completely gorge ourselves on whatever we end up getting! As you can imagine, this isn’t the healthiest habit you could have at work. This weekend, have a little tasting session of a few healthy snacks, and then stock up for when you’re back in the office on Monday.
Speaking of breakfast and lunch, you need to be mindful of what you’re eating in the morning and at work. Many of us eat breakfast and lunch at work or on the way. Typically, we grab it from delis, cafes, or street vendors if you live in the inner city. Now, I’m not going to draw a circle around everywhere that sells food and call it bad. What I will do is warn you to be very mindful of what you’re buying from these places. Bacon, eggs and white toast may feel divine when you’re eating it, but it’s not doing you any favours! It may feel hard at first, but I urge you to tear yourself away from these kinds of poor eating habits. Try subbing out the fry-up for a bowl of oatmeal with fruit, or a nice veggie omelette. That’s right, nice veggie omelettes aren’t an urban myth! That tall, cold orange juice tastes lovely, and is a pretty good source of vitamins. However, the acidity isn’t doing anything for your teeth. Instead, try substituting it for a green smoothie. Real Simple had a post on some fantastic recipes you could try.
My final tip is simple, and yet possibly the most effective: get up and move around! To an extent, expending energy gives you energy. When it gets to two or three and the sight of your work briefs are making you want to sleep, get up and go for a walk. A simple loop to the toilets and around the office will do some good. However, if it’s at all possible, you should also be trying to get some sunlight. UV has been proven to be good for stress and your overall energy levels. Whether the boss will let you out or not, moving is a good habit to get into. It will help with the health of your muscles, as well as improving your circulation and stimulating your brain a little. Even if your working day is completely packed up, simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make a real difference. Get some more tips on this at Every Day Health.
Get into some of these habits at work, and your health will improve faster than you can imagine. Changing your whole daily routine isn’t always easy, but your body will certainly thank you for it!