If you want to work your best, you need to feel your best. But staying healthy at your 9-to-5 job is easier said than done. The more work you have to do, the easier it becomes to tether yourself to your desk, strain your eyes by staring too long at screens, and gulp down unhealthy meals. Reduce the risk of stress, sickness, and burnout by adopting some small, everyday changes.
1. Avoid Mindless Snacking
When you’re in the middle of a big project, it’s easy to snack mindlessly while the better part of your brain is occupied. And as office perks like break rooms stocked with unlimited snacks become more common, temptation is harder to resist.
Instead of diving back into that bag of chips or bowl of candies, divide party-sized snack bags into individual portions so you won’t be tempted to overindulge. If your office offers free snacks, make a plan before you get to the office. Stay away from high-sugar, high-fat snacks and make a beeline for the healthy choices on offer. Look for protein bars, fresh fruit or vegetables, hummus, or string cheese, but remember that portions are everything. Read the serving sizes and limit yourself to one or two healthy portions of snacks per day.
2. Keep Moving
A break from your desk is a great way to refresh both body and mind. Every hour or so, set a reminder for yourself to stand up and take a walk around the office. You’ll up your daily step count and return to your work feeling fresh and ready to focus again.
3. Stand Up For Yourself
Consider investing in a traditional standing desk or convertible desk. Sitting down all day can result in negative side effects such as tight hip muscles, poor posture, high blood pressure, and increased risk of obesity. Standing for all or some portion of the day can help counteract those effects. You’ll burn more calories throughout the day and feel more energized as you work.
If you hold a lot of meetings, consider turning these into standing or walking meetings. You’ll foster fitness among your entire team– and as the blood gets flowing, so will the ideas.
4. Go Easy on the Eyes
Staring at a screen all day is a guaranteed way to strain your eyes. Long term, that strain might turn into chronic headaches, dry eyes, and neck pain. Getting up and moving away from your computer every so often is as good for your eyes as it is for the rest of you. Turn down the brightness settings on your monitor and avoid glare from bright lights or nearby windows so your eyes don’t have to work as hard.
5. Stay Hydrated
Remember to drink more than coffee throughout the day. Mild dehydration might be the underlying cause behind afternoon fatigue, headaches, and loss of focus. Fend off those symptoms by aiming for several 8 to 10-ounce glasses of water a day. You can also supplement by adding water-rich fruits such as oranges, grapes, and watermelon to your daily diet.
6. Office-Friendly Exercises
Take your walk breaks a step further with some simple exercises that are easy to do in an office setting. Sure, you might feel self-conscious about exercise if you work in an open office environment, but there’s never any shame in staying healthy. While you’re sitting at your desk, strengthen your legs by alternately tensing and relaxing your muscles. Try simple movements like hamstring curls, cross-body punches, or bicep curls. For more advanced moves, consider keeping a set of resistance bands at your desk or replacing your office chair with a stability ball.
These small changes could make all the difference in your everyday health, whether inside the office or out of it. You’ll find yourself feeling more ready than ever to tackle your to-do list.