When you’re too busy at work, you may find it quite challenging to prioritize your health. Spending eight hours sitting in front of a computer while attending to emails, calls, meetings, and deadlines can quickly take a toll on your body. Thus, affecting your productivity levels, impacting your health, and making you less happy.
No one ever wants to suffer from a myriad of health issues and live a mediocre life. We all seek to stay healthy and fit and enjoy all the results of our hard work. Fortunately, while most people think that it’s impossible to stay in shape in the office, there are simple work habits and lifestyle changes that you can implement to do so.
To help out, here are our tips for staying healthy at the office – leaving you with a stronger mind, body, and spirit and proving that good health isn’t as elusive in a workspace.
1. Drink more water
Staying hydrated is key to keeping you energized and alert throughout the day. You should ensure that you’re drinking an adequate amount of water, about eight to 10 glasses a day, and add more depending on the climate and level of physical activity. If you can, ditch your cup of coffee or a can of soda and exchange them with a glass of water.
If you’re having difficulties drinking enough water at work, there are several days you can increase your water intake:
- Buy a reusable water bottle to bring to your workplace and set goals for yourself. For instance, you can add markers to remind you to consume that amount of water by a certain time or point of the day.
- Refill your water bottle as needed.
- Add a natural fruit to infuse flavor and encourage more drinking.
- Utilize a drinking water app to keep track and stay on top of your daily hydration habits.
- Set reminders on your phone, computer, or fitness tracker to drink a glass of water.
- Eat water-rich fruits and vegetables like oranges, grapes, watermelon, zucchini, apples, grapefruit, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, and cucumbers.
Remember, you must drink enough water at work. Otherwise, expect to suffer from dehydration and other symptoms like fatigue, headache, dizziness, dry skin, weakened immunity, and difficulty concentrating.
2. Maintain good posture
Improper posture can cause an array of health conditions like neck pain, back pain, shoulder strain, eye fatigue, and so forth. Not to mention that it can also affect your focus and productivity. To avoid such scenarios, here are some tips for maintaining good posture:
- Look for an ergonomic chair model that offers padding to support your neck, back, and lower body.
- Adjust yourself once you realize that you’re hunching your shoulder or you’re leaning towards your computer or laptop screen.
- Set and move your chair to ensure that your feet lie flat on the floor while your wrist and forearms both lay straight on the table.
- Research and do postural stretches from your desk.
- Keep your computer or laptop screen at eye level. Set font sizes larger and adjust the display settings brighter to prevent straining your eyes.
- If you’re making phone calls regularly, use headphones or a headset to decrease strain from leaning or propping up your phone in your neck.
3. Plan, prepare and pack your own lunch
Meals from restaurants, fast food chains, and convenience stores often come in large portions and are high in calories and preservatives. Choose healthier food by planning, preparing, and packing your own lunch. After all, proper nutrition begins when you know what you’re eating and making them is an excellent way to do so.
Start by picking the healthiest and freshest ingredients that are sure to make you healthy and fit. Plus, you also get to spend less money if you make your own lunch. Plan your meals during the weekend and prepare them the night before so you can avoid rushing in the morning or getting something unhealthy while you’re on your way to work.
Some of the food types that you must add to your meal include fruits, vegetables, salads, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Get more ideas by researching healthy and delicious recipes online. That will not only make your meals healthy but will also improve the variety, giving you something exciting to crave for every lunchtime and keeping you in a good mood.
4. Bring healthier snacks
Apart from lunch, you may also bring healthier snacks. Those chips, chocolates, and sweets you see on the desk of your co-workers may be tasty, but they can quickly add up to hundreds of calories to your diet, causing fluctuations in your sugar levels. If you’re not cautious, regularly stopping by the vending machine or your co-worker’s candy dish can result in lots of unwanted pounds.
Skip those unhealthy snacks and opt for healthier options like granola bars, hummus, cheese sticks, baby carrots, cucumber slices, nuts, savory crackers, or dried fruits. Stash them in your desk drawer for easier access.
You can eat a small snack every 2-3 hours to get out of an afternoon slump and prevent being over-hungry. Take note that snacking throughout the day is good in supporting your energy levels compared to solely consuming one large meal.
5. Limit your caffeine consumption
Some people turn to coffee or tea if they’re feeling sluggish or having trouble focusing at work. The catch is caffeine is only beneficial if taken in moderation. While it can make you more alert, the effect only lasts for a short lead and will eventually lead to a crash sooner in the day.
When taken in excessive amounts, it can result in other side effects like dizziness, upset stomach, nerve restlessness, insomnia, and increased heartbeat, which can all disrupt your workplace performance.
So, limit your daily consumption throughout the day to reap its benefits safely. Do the process slowly to prevent suffering from withdrawal headaches. Eventually, you may consider steering clear from coffee completely and switching to healthier drink choices like water or decaffeinated teas and coffee.
6. Move as much as you can
Don’t spend your entire workday sitting in front of your desk as it can lead to a number of health concerns like obesity, increased blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and high blood sugar. Sitting down all day is also linked to other conditions like weaker legs and glutes, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), tight hips, bad back, stiff shoulder and neck, varicose veins, and increased diabetes, heart disease, and cancer risks.
Stand and stretch every now and then. Take breaks every one to two hours to move your body and use every opportunity to burn some calories. For instance, you can walk around the office while waiting for large files to download or go straight to your colleague’s desk when you need to discuss something instead of sending an email or making a phone call.
7. Take breaks regularly
One of the common mistakes that employees make is skipping their breaks and not leaving their desks. While most deem that it’s productive, it actually turns out the other way. Lack of breaks can cause you to become psychologically attached to your work which isn’t healthy at all. Later on, it will lead to faster burnout and mental fatigue, with your brain and body not having time to relax properly.
So, taking regular breaks to relax and rewind is vital for your health. It will help you re-energize your mind, relieve stress, and restore focus. Thus, improving your productivity. With that, find time to step away from work, even for a few minutes, and use it to take a short walk, eat something healthy, or get some sunshine and fresh air.
Being busy at work doesn’t exempt you from skipping breaks. To avoid forgetting your breaks, you can set reminders, such as every hour or two, to take at least a five-minute break from work. You’ll be surprised at how it can improve your mental health and well-being and in making you overall more satisfied and engaged in your work.
8. Maintain the cleanliness of your workspace
Your work area and environment post a direct impact on your emotional and mental health. If your workspace is unorganized and full of clutter, it can easily cause a lack of concentration and drive at work. On the contrary, a clean and tidy workspace can quickly improve your productivity and efficiency at work.
As such, make it a habit to spend some time organizing your work area. At the end of each day, put away things you won’t need the following day and keep only the essentials like your keyboard, mouse, pens, and notebook. You can use good storage tools like bins, wall organizational racks, and mobile filing cabinets to keep everything organized and accessible.
As desks also tend to collect dust and bacteria, don’t miss out on cleaning all items regularly with disinfectant products like cleaning solutions and sanitizing wipes.
9. Incorporate exercise into your day
Among the most important things you need to stay healthy and fit is to exercise. So, try to look for ways to incorporate exercise into your day. Exercising can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of elevators and parking farther away from your office building so you’ll be forced to walk more distance across the parking lot. Such little changes can also increase your activity levels.
Moreover, there are also several exercise options you can do in the office while sitting at your desk. For example, you can perform simple calf raises and leg lifts or short exercises like high knees and lunges.
Also, try to be as active outside of work. Instead of doing it after work, consider exercising in the morning. It can be at a gym or a walk or jog in the park. If you’re having a hard time finding some motivation, look for a partner that will drag you out for your daily walk no matter how busy you claim you are.
10. Get enough sleep
Getting sufficient, regular, quality sleep of about 7-8 hours is as important to staying healthy as diet and exercise. It helps improve your mood, health, and brain performance. Not getting ample sleep increases your risks of many disorders, ranging from obesity to heart disease, stroke, and dementia. When you have enough, count on that you can perform better and stay motivated at work, ready to take on all of the day’s responsibilities.
While it may not be available for all workplaces, some offices offer nap areas for their employees. Take advantage of it and get a short break to rejuvenate yourself. If you’re working from home, also get that effective nap for about 20 minutes to reset your energy levels.
11. Practice meditation
Never forget to take care of your mental health at work. If you feel too overwhelmed with your task or stressed about your responsibilities, try meditating. Meditation is a fantastic way to reduce stress, calm your mind, and be at peace with your inner self.
Incorporate it into your breaks by closing your eyes for a few minutes and practicing deep breathing exercises. To get more ideas, you can download apps or watch videos guiding you through short meditation exercises. You can do it on your desk or somewhere more peaceful in the office.
Even just five minutes of meditation can provide you with increased tranquility, raised energy levels, and a better ability to deal with your surroundings effectively. Plus, you’ll enjoy other amazing benefits of meditation, like improved immunity, happiness, concentration, and a whole lot more.
12. Observe good hygienic practices
You can easily contract colds and flu around offices, so it’s best to observe good hygienic practices at all times. Some key practices include washing your hands regularly after going to the restroom or visiting high-traffic areas and after sneezing or coughing.
Do it thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, even if it’s not visibly dirty. If they’re not available, make sure that you have hand sanitizer or alcohol spray at your desk.
Moreover, try to keep your distance if you notice someone is feeling sick. If you yourself are feeling unwell, take a day off and consult your doctor. Lastly, always abide by other mandatory signs and policies in your workplace. All these can help you and everyone around you to prevent the spreading of germs and stay healthy.
13. Learn how to manage stress
Your job may entail handling numerous tasks and responsibilities each day, easily draining you out and making you feel stressed. Thus, immensely impacting your physical and mental health. Such can be detrimental to your performance, your health, and your life. That’s why you must learn how to manage stress properly.
What’s great is that there are various management techniques available to help you in handling stress at the office, which include:
- Identifying your triggers – determining what your stressors can do wonders in helping you control your reactions.
- Creating boundaries – set a clear boundary, so you don’t miss work and life. For instance, never check your work email after leaving the office.
- Listening to your favorite podcasts or music
- Utilize time management apps – such tools can help you track and prioritize tasks
- Make healthier choices – avoid stress-eating, smoking, drinking, and staying up too late, instead eat healthily, get enough sleep, and exercise
- Ask support – never hesitate to seek help from your coworkers or supervisor when you need a hand in completing a certain task, or talk to someone you trust like friends, family, or a professional, to help manage your stress
14. Put down your phone at work
Though they’re very helpful in a lot of ways, smartphones are among the biggest distractions when it comes to work, constantly reminding you to check your notifications and affecting your concentration levels at work. If you pick it up, you impede your brain’s ability to rejuvenate, resulting in decreased performance and stress.
Take care of your mental health by putting your phone down or keeping it inside your desk drawer when working to prevent it from distracting you. Set pre-planned times of the day when you can check your own. If you need to use it, use it appropriately. For example, business calls and short conversations with your family are okay, but downloading music, streaming videos, or playing games are not.
By putting down your phone, you let your brain have a break from consuming too much data and instead allow it to rest. Therefore, boosting optimal mental health.
Another way to improve your mental health at the office is by socializing with your co-workers. Find some time to chat with them, whether in the break room, during lunchtime, or even when briefly passing by. Interact and collaborate with them, especially when they need assistance, to establish healthy relationships. You can also share your problems and vent out your concerns, so all the thoughts and frustrations won’t be kept inside you. Also, you can use this to ask for valuable insights on anything you might be working on.
16. Take vacations
Though workers have allotted paid vacation time, most don’t take enough vacation time or don’t use them at all – a big no-no if you want to stay healthy at work. Think of yourself as a battery, vacations serve as your getting a break and recharging yourself. Use your vacations to disconnect from work, spend time with your family, or do something you love. That will help you achieve work-life balance and make you feel refreshed and more productive on your return.
17. Encourage walking meetings
Meetings shouldn’t be confined to the conference room. If you’re discussing something light and non-confidential, suggest taking walking meetings. Whether it’s going outside for a brisk walk or taking laps around the office, meetings on the go are a good way to awaken and stretch your muscles, boost energy and mental alertness, and perhaps get your creative juices flowing. If taken outdoors, you’ll get to breathe some fresh air and a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun, a crucial vitamin that can help control infections, decrease inflammation, and reduce cancer growth.
18. Reward yourself
Last but not the least: reward yourself! Whether it’s after completing an arduous task, a presentation, or other difficult matters, you definitely deserve a treat for your hard work. Rewards can vary depending on your preferences, such as grabbing your favorite healthy snack or taking a 15-minute break.
Having rewards gives you something to look forward to, motivating you to work on your hardest and complete a task. Plus, it’s a good way to recognize your efforts and appreciate your value. Thus, brightening your mood and helping you maintain a cheerful attitude and positive self-esteem. Remember, being happy is one of the first steps to improving your overall health.
These tips don’t require you to make a huge overhaul of your life at the office, but they are rather little ideas that can bring major positive effects to your work life and health. By incorporating these habits, you can stay healthy at work and in all aspects of your life.