It’s really important to stay healthy… But when your at work it can be a lot harder to important for a few reasons. Number one, if you’re not healthy, then you can’t always continue to work. Number two, you don’t want to dread going into work every day and having a positive outlook on the influence that your job has on your life is important. While I’m now working from home which I enjoy thoroughly, I have worked in an office for a fair amount of time, from a desk, sitting in the same chair every day. Here’s how I stayed healthy and a few tips you can use to stay healthy in the office workplace.
Our Top 5 Tips on Keeping Yourself Healthy at Work in the Office
You should be taking breaks at least every hour that includes walking around, stretching, or some combination of the two. This is critical for blood flow, stretching out your hamstrings, calves, and quads that can get tight from sitting in a chair all day, and your posture depending on if you slouch or not (we’ll address this).
During your break, stretching the legs, hands, arms, and shoulders are essential for maintaining health while sitting down and working on a computer for lengths of time.
Your Desk Setup
If you haven’t had an ergonomic assessment of your workstation, I will request one immediately. It’s your right as an employee, and you should want to be healthy while at work. Having a proper ergonomic setup is important to maintain posture and prevent deterioration of the spine and overall posture. Without a proper setup, you also risk repetitive strain injuries which can cripple you if left unattended.
A proper desk setup consists of keyboard and mouse at the right height, monitor the proper distance away from your eyes and also at the right height, and using peripherals that are comfortable for extended use.
As touched on above, taking breaks is also essential for maintaining your health and you should feel entitled to taking them. One really simple product that I found helped prevent a repetitive strain of the hands and wrists was a simple hand grip strengthener that you can keep in your desk drawers. It’s like the ones you see bodybuilders using to build their grip strength, except in this case I found it perfect to use on breaks to give my hands an amazing stretch. Alongside a stretch on break it actually works to strengthen your hands and make them much less prone to repetitive strain injuries.
I’m a big fan of the standing desk, in fact, I’m standing as I write this. If you’ve never tried it before, it’s a refreshing way to work, and I find it does wonders for my focus. Try with an adjustable desk, or with a stool nearby and go from there – it can be taxing and a different feeling going from sitting all day to standing all day so get a desk and give it a go. If you like it, ease into it.
On Water and Caffeine
To be honest, working in the office can be a bit boring sometimes. You may naturally be tempted to indulge in many cups or tea and or coffee throughout the day. While I’m a big fan of coffee and the benefits of caffeine, everything in moderation! Especially if you’re coming home from work and crashing and having trouble sleeping later – it may be time to reduce your caffeine intake a bit.
On the other hand, ensure that your water intake is up to snuff and you’re well hydrated throughout the day! Being dehydrated can make you feel lethargic, reduce your work performance, and more. Keep a refillable bottle nearby or a cup that you fill up with water on those new walking and stretching breaks of yours!
Stress Management System
Just like we have the walking, stretching, and ergonomic components that make up our physical management system – we need a stress management system in place to maintain our mental health. When work gets tough, hours are long, and the projects pile up you need an escape. This can be physical fitness outside of the workplace (or on lunch break), meditating during the day or after the work day is over, and generally being prepared that there will be both ups and downs associated with working full-time. Come at it with the awareness that sometimes work stacks up on you, and try to be aware of the effects it can take on you without you always knowing.
I also recommend being open with your friends, family, and partners if you’re stressed out at work so if you start to act out a bit they won’t be wondering what’s going on – keep everyone in the loop and things become much more manageable overall.
Prepare Healthy Lunches
I commonly see two issues with lunch in the workplace. Either going out for lunch too frequently or not being prepared for lunch at work and not eating at all are both equally bad. Preparing nutritious lunches the night before, or on Sunday for the whole week is your best bet. Cooking enough the night before so you have leftovers is perfect, or prepare 5 servings of a solid carb/protein/fat mixture meal on Sunday like chicken, vegetables, and rice, or steak wraps would be perfect to reach your nutrient goals. I find using meal prep containers gets me excited to cross off lunches for the week, and also keeps the fridge organized.