Most of us spend more than one half of our waking hours at our jobs. Because we spend so much time at work, we cannot ignore our health during these hours. Here are ten easy ways to stay healthy at work:
- Walk to Work or Park with a Purpose. If you can walk (or ride your bike, etc) to work, do. But if you can’t, park with a purpose. In the lot, park as far away from the entrance as possible or use a parking structure a few blocks away from your office. If you park in leveled parked, park toward the top of the parking structure and take the stairs. If you take public transportation, get off at the stop before you normally would and walk the rest of the way.
- Brown Bag It. Pack your lunch, drinks and snacks. Skip high calorie coffee desserts drinks, sugar laden soft drinks and vending machine temptations. Pack a healthy lunch that includes energy boosting proteins and healthy carbohydrates. Pack snacks like almonds or vegetables and hummus, and avoid processed foods. Don’t linger in the break room or wherever your co-workers offer baked goods, donuts or birthday treats. Taste if you want, but then walk away.
- DRINK WATER. Buy an insulated water bottle and keep it filled so you can drink water throughout the day. An easy target is to drink ½ of your body weight in ounces of water per day. Not only is hydration important, but drinking water helps keep you full and focused.
- STAND UP and be noticed. Research shows that sitting for long periods of time can be as hard on your body as smoking. Is your employer open to a stand up desk? Would you be allowed to sit on a stability ball vs a regular chair? You’ll never know unless you ask.
- Seek out Support. Sometimes staying focused on a healthy lifestyle needs some support. Find people that share your goals and keep each other accountable.
- Limit Eating at Restaurants. Avoid going out to restaurants every day, either before, during or after work (including Happy Hours!) When you do, make healthy choices. Plan ahead by going online and looking at the menu BEFORE you leave. For example, not all salads are healthy, beware of extra cheese, fried food, and excessive amounts of salad dressing, etc. Watch portions and ask for a To-Go box as soon as you receive your meal. Most restaurant portion sizes are excessive and you can easily reduce the portion by removing ½ of it from your plate as soon as you get it. Avoid alcohol. First, most alcohol/mixed drinks are high in sugar and calories, and second, alcohol can impact your ability to make good choices, eating or otherwise.
- MOVE. Take time on your breaks and lunches to stretch and walk. Better yet, find a friend and make it a point to encourage each other to move. When possible, consider “walking” meetings. If something needs to be discussed that doesn’t require computers or presentations, take the conversation on the move. Pack your gym bag and go work out before work or before you go home. Chances are, once you’re home, life will take over and you’ll never get there.
- Look Away from the Screen. Take care of your eyes, back and neck and look away from the computer screen at least once an hour and focus on something else. Eye fatigue can have long term effects on your eye health and sitting at a desk, staring at a screen can put unnecessary stress and tension on your neck and back. Pay attention to ergonomics.
- Plan ahead. Have a plan for dinner BEFORE you leave work. Do your best to pre-plan your meals, etc so that you are not tempted to rush out after a stressful day and stop at the nearest drive-thru to feed your family. A little pre-planning can save a lot of tension….and calories.
- R-E-L-A-X and smile. Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers made headlines a couple years ago when he reminded millions of fans to calm down and relax. While work is, well, work, try to find some time during your day to enjoy what you are doing and the company of the people that you work with. Remember that while problems come up, there is always a solution. Things will work out. Try your best to let the day-to-day stress roll off your back.
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