Staying Healthy at Work: 7 Easy Tips
Whether you work at an office desk, kitchen table, or anywhere in between, heed these 7 easy tips for staying healthy at work.
Whether you work from an office, home, or some other location, staying healthy at work can be a real challenge. If you’re in the office, you’ll certainly be exposed to germs or doughnuts in the break room. If you’re at home, you might reach for the remote on your lunch break instead of taking a walk. No matter where you work, you might be tempted to grab greasy foods or sugary snacks instead of a healthy snack. And anywhere, you might succumb to bad posture or reach for an extra cup of coffee instead of drinking water.
While it’s easy to fall into bad habits, it’s actually not that hard to start and stick to healthy habits. Especially once you’ve experienced the positive results of improved physical health, mental health, and overall wellness. The great thing is that you don’t have to make huge, sweeping changes to your daily life to achieve a healthy life. It can be as simple as setting a timer for a walk during your 10-minute break. Or choosing a granola bar over a piece of cake at snack time.
Try incorporating these 7 ideas on a daily basis to stay healthy at work for the long term.
you don’t have to make huge, sweeping changes to your daily life to achieve a healthy life. It can be as simple as setting a timer for a walk during your 10-minute break.
1. Keep hand sanitizer at your work station
… and in your backpack, purse, briefcase, or pocket. Granted, hand sanitizers can’t protect you from everything. But they can reduce the germ load carried on your hands from public transportation, office equipment, door handles, and the office kitchen and water cooler. Public health experts recommend thorough hand washing anytime your hands might be contaminated (after using the restroom, nose blowing, etc.). But when you’re nowhere near soap and water, a vigorous application of hand sanitizer can reduce person-to-person spread of infections.
Consider how often an asymptomatic sick coworker comes to work spreading sniffles or the making of upset stomachs. And if you’re not feeling well, help the cause. Call in sick to avoid spreading germs and contact your healthcare provider for medical advice.
2. Stay hydrated
You may have heard that the average person should drink 8 glasses of water per day to stay healthy. But according to The Mayo Clinic, your needs may vary based on your activity levels, health, medications, gender, and age. It’s a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider for hydration advice specific to your needs. Then keep a water bottle with you so you can track how many ounces of water you drink daily.
Your body can also get water from healthy snacks like fruit and vegetables, as well as milk, coffee, tea, and other beverages. But keep in mind that soda can contain excessive amounts of sugar, and afternoon coffee may keep you up late. Basically, if you feel thirsty, reach for a glass of water.
3. Take a walk at lunch
Slipping a walk into your daily routine is a simple and effective way to boost physical health and mental health in many ways. Experts tout a host of health benefits from walking. They include:
- Lower blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and stress levels.
- Better weight management outcomes.
- Reduced excess body fat.
- Higher energy levels.
- Higher focus and concentration levels.
- Reduced health risks for type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more.
- Improved sleep quality and emotional health.
Best of all, walking is free. You can do it alone or start a walking club, have a walking meeting, or take phone calls while walking. And walks don’t have to take long periods of time. A 10-minute walk 3 times a day is fine. Using any number of fitness trackers on your phone or watch can help you keep track of steps. And you can work to increase your step count to boost your mental and physical well-being.
4. Take frequent stretch breaks throughout the day
Studies this past decade have shown that prolonged sitting sessions are practically as bad for your health as smoking.
Studies this past decade have shown that prolonged sitting sessions are practically as bad for your health as smoking. Increasing your level of physical activity throughout the day can help prevent the effects. Set a 30-minute timer and take a few moments to stand, stretch, and walk around the office to relieve muscle tension and increase blood flow.
Instead of emailing a colleague down the hall, get up and walk to their desk. Consider investing in a sit-to-stand or standing desk to reduce sitting time even further. The main goal is to break sitting sessions into smaller chunks with more active movement and stretching throughout the day.
5. Practice good posture
In addition to adding more walking and stretching to your day, it’s important to practice good posture. Slouching at a desk, looking down at a phone, and other forms of bad posture take a toll. Bad posture can cause headaches, back pain, and even carpal tunnel or tension neck syndrome. Those aches and pains can make it harder to focus and enjoy the day.
6. Set up an ergonomic office space
Sometimes posture issues can happen because your office space isn’t set up properly. Whether you’re sitting or standing, your monitor should be at eye level. That way you can look straight ahead with your neck in a neutral position, avoiding forward head posture.
An organized workspace should also include a chair with good lumbar support to help you sit up straight. Sit in it with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the floor or a raised prop. Your keyboard should be positioned so that your elbows are also at a 90-degree angle. The Mayo Clinic offers a helpful office ergonomics guide with a diagram.
7. Pack a healthy lunch and healthy snacks
It’s common knowledge that good nutrition is essential for good health on all levels. If you work from home, stock the kitchen with plenty of healthy foods you actually enjoy and will eat. You know the drill: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, lean protein, etc. Slather some peanut butter on an apple. Toss back a handful of blueberries and a slice of your favorite cheese.
Eating well doesn’t have to be high-maintenance or time-consuming. And it will promote better energy levels and focus than unhealthy snacks. Junk food might taste and feel good in the moment. But the sugar crash that follows will do you no favors.
Healthy habits to stay healthy at work
Staying healthy at work and healthy at home doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. Put these 7 tips into action, and you’ll experience a more balanced life no matter where you are. Learn more about wellness at work and help yourself and others feel great.
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