Working 9-5 might be a way to make a living, but sometimes, it isn’t the healthiest type of lifestyle. You’re sat down for the whole day, your co-workers bring in tempting snacks, and it seems there is a birthday (and cake) almost every other day. When you get home from work, you’re too tired to do any exercise, or you get so caught up with overtime that your sleeping pattern gets disturbed. If this sounds familiar to you, don’t panic – there are plenty of ways to introduce healthier habits to your lifestyle without disturbing your work.
Yes, you’re busy in the morning as you try to get the kids ready for school, walk the dog or answer emails before you get in the office. However, you should never skip breakfast – this sets you up for the day in completely the wrong way. A filling breakfast doesn’t have to take much effort – yoghurt and granola will suffice – and it will give you the energy that you need to get through until lunch time. A healthy breakfast also stops you from making bad choices for the rest of the day, so make sure you make time.
Cut out the Sugary Snacks
Snacks are everywhere when you work in an office. A co-worker has a bowl of candy on her desk. The boss brings in cookies to celebrate a job well done. A client is pleased with your work, so she brings you a box of chocolates. The cycle is endless. However, snacking on sugary stuff throughout the day will leave your energy levels crashing constantly, and you won’t be full. Bypass the bad stuff, and bring in your own snacks like hummus and carrots, fresh fruit or nuts. If you really need a sweet hit, a piece of dark chocolate will do the trick without the guilt.
Bring in Your Own Lunch
It’s boring, we know. You have to watch your co-workers send the group message asking if anyone wants a Taco Bell, or a Dominos for Pizza Friday. You have to respond with the same old response ‘No thanks, I’ve brought in my own lunch’. However, preparing your own lunch won’t just do wonders for your waistline, but it will line your pocket too. If you spend $10 on your lunch every day, that’s $50 a week that you will save. Look online for recipes and prepare your lunches on a Sunday – a couple of hours cooking will set you up for the rest of the week.
Drink Plenty of Water.
Avoid coffee and soda, and drink plenty of water during the working day instead. Drinking water has so many benefits – it will keep you hydrated and awake, fight off unhealthy food/soda cravings and replenish your skin. If you get bored, try and add fruit to your water – lemon, lime, and strawberries work well. Set yourself goals; one litre by 11am, another by 2pm and another by 5pm. Lastly, get your office to invest in a plumbed in water cooler – this type of water cooler uses your office’s water supply to provide cool, filtered water that tastes a million times better than it does from the tap.
Keep it Moving
If you find yourself sitting down for the majority of the day, try to get creative. Take client phone calls walking around. If you need to discuss something with a co-worker, walk to their desk instead of emailing them. If you need to go elsewhere in the building, use the stairs instead of an elevator. The key is to move around at least once an hour – walk around or stretch, whichever works best for you.
Try and stand up as much as possible. In some offices, you can have a standing desk, which does wonders for your posture. If you can’t persuade your boss to get you a standing desk, try swapping your chair for an exercise ball which engages your core and burns more calories.
Be Active Outside of the Office
It’s difficult to want to be active at the end of a long day, but if you get yourself into a routine, it will really help your general health. Join a gym which has plenty of classes at 6pm, so you can head there straight from work and avoid the temptation to slump on the sofa at home. If you can’t afford a gym, walk! You could walk home from work, or join a local walking club.
We all know that we should get eight hours, but sometimes this just isn’t feasible. If you can’t, try sleeping in cycles – it’s recommended you get 5-6 90 minute sleep cycles to wake up refreshed. You can use a sleep calculator to work out the best time to go to bed, in line with when you need to wake up. The better you sleep, the more productive you will be the next day.
Try and allocate time in the morning, and the evening to practice mindfulness. If you’re new to meditating, there are plenty of apps available for your phone that can help you. Taking this time to reflect can relieve stress.
Look After Your Immune System
Working in an office is like working in a hotbed of germs. You get rid of a cold, and then your co-worker gets one, and the next week you have one again! So, take time to look after your immune system. Eat well; take plenty of vitamins and exercise.
Avoid Tension Neck Syndrome
Tension neck syndrome becomes a problem when you hold your neck and upper shoulders in a set awkward position for a long period of time. It happens mostly to people who type or talk on the phone a lot. To combat tension neck syndrome, use a speakerphone or headset when you need to speak on the phone.
Eyestrain is one of the biggest health issues for office workers. Staring at a computer screen for the whole day can cause headaches, light sensitivity and difficulty focusing. There are a few things that you can do to prevent eyestrain. Position your computer about an arm’s length away, and you should be able to read what is on the screen without having to squint.
Use Your Vacation Time
It’s always beneficial to take time away from the office to de-stress and recharge, so use all of your vacation time. It helps to spread it out – take a longer holiday in the summer, then fill the rest of the year with weekend breaks. Vacations can really help if you’re stressed at work, and you’ll arrive back in the office ready to face any issues head on.
Disinfect your desk
Your desk is full of objects just waiting to make you ill. Your keyboard, mouse and phone are all surfaces that can hold onto viruses for a long period of time, so set aside time every week to entirely disinfect your desk.
Working full-time doesn’t have to lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. Working regular hours can do wonders for building a healthy routine – it just takes commitment and self-control. Start with making sure you get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and stay active – the rest will follow.