Top Tips for Keeping Healthy in the WorkplaceStuart Taverner
Keeping healthy at work after sitting at your desk for over 8 hours a day, is a challenge. It takes its toll on both your physical and mental health. In particular, watching your weight is a constant struggle; most offices have a biscuit tin and at least one generous colleague who regularly rocks up with chocolates, the odd donut box, and maybe a homemade cake.
Combined with hectic schedules, deadlines, and not enough time, keeping fit and healthy seems near impossible. But there are some simple ways to stay healthy even if you are stuck at your desk 5 days a week.
Get Moving, when you can
Increasing the amount of movement you do on a day-to-day basis is essential for keeping healthy at work. Instead of staying at your desk to eat lunch, if you can, go for a walk and eat outside. Or, just take a short stroll before or after eating to get your circulation going, burn a few calories, and just have a change of scenery – the vitamin D and fresh air will also help your mood.
If you can’t get away from your desk at lunchtime, try taking the stairs instead of the lift, or get off the tram, train or bus a stop or two early, just to get some walking in.
When you’re focused on your work it’s easy to forget to drink water. But, it’s vital to stay hydrated and drink of fluids, especially in warmer climates. According to SA Health, women need to drink 2l (or 8 cups) and men 2.5l (or 10 cups).
Try these quick wins to give your workday the hydration it needs:
- At lunch, grab water instead of sugary drinks
- Keep a jug of tap water in an easy to access office location
- Have a re-usable bottle in your bag or on your desk
- If you can’t stand the taste of water, try adding fruits, such as lemon, watermelon, lime, strawberries or even mint to jazz up the flavours
Another positive – if you’re on a mission to lose a few pounds – is water and weight loss. According to the Royal Australian College of General Practice, drinking 500 ml of water before each meal has a direct correlation with weight loss. The best of both worlds; keeping healthy at work and losing weight!
Lunch well, snack well
Want to save a little money? Pack your own lunches instead of eating out. This way, you know exactly what you’re eating and can pick healthy options. Try to aim for a balance of protein, slow-release carbohydrates (pasta, rice, potatoes), fats (eggs, nuts, avocados) and colourful veg.
It’s also a good idea, when keeping healthy at work, have junk free snacks at reaching distance just in case you get hungry. There’s no need to be cruel to yourself and cut out junk food altogether, just monitor and moderate your consumption. Try to maintain a healthy balance.
If you are sitting down all day, make sure your seating arrangement is ergonomic – this is extremely important for keeping healthy at work. Have your feet flat on the floor and use a chair that supports your lower back well. There are also a few desk exercises you can try, to keep things exciting. Our favourite is ‘The Stapler’.
Take care of your eyes
Using an electronic device whether it’s a mobile, laptop, tablet, or PC, is a part of our everyday work life. As a result, staring at a mobile or computer screen for hours a day, causes eyestrain. It can lead to headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes and difficulty focusing.
To make sure you don’t hurt your eyes, maintain an arm’s length distance from your computer screen. A useful technique to help with tired eyes is the 20-20-20 rule. Take a 20 second break, every 20 minutes by looking at something 20 feet away.
A rule of thumb is making sure you can comfortably read text on your screen without having to squint.
With busy work schedules and long hours, stress levels can start to negatively affect physical and mental health. Trying to incorporate self-help techniques into your daily routine significantly improves concentration and stamina.
- Mindfulness – Many people feel anxious when they think about the daily tasks they need to complete, to get their job done; it can be overwhelming. Mindfulness can help alleviate those symptoms. As a meditation technique, mindfulness guides you to focus on your present thoughts and feelings, helping to calm those panicking feelings and move on with the rest of your day.
- Socialise – Keeping in touch with friends, colleagues and family members makes a huge difference to stress levels. Socialising with like-minded people and maintaining connectedness with loved ones, can help fight loneliness, anxiety, and depression and it is a vital aspect to having a happy workplace. We are social creatures by nature, so chat with colleagues and talk through your stresses – you never know, someone may have a tip to make your life easier.
Keeping healthy in the workplace is essential for personal and professional success. Encouraging healthy habits for your employees, colleagues, and for yourself, is a vital aspect of workplace culture and should be implemented from the beginning of your professional journey.