You might not think of your workplace as a health hazard, but the effects of sitting all day at the office, grabbing a handful of candy as you walk by your coworker’s desk every day, and not drinking enough water are just a few of the unhealthy habits that can take a toll on your health. Here are three Quality of Lifehacks that can make for a healthier you in the workplace and a more productive workday.
Take a stand. Many of us spend large chunks of our day sitting, especially when we’re at work. Excessive sitting (6+ hours a day) has been linked to high blood pressure, higher rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and an increased risk of death as compared to people who sit less than 3 hours a day. What can you do? Take a break from sitting when you can, and incorporate more activity into your workday. Stand up and move around every half hour or so—get up for a glass of water, walk down the hall to visit coworkers instead of sending an email, take a lap around the office, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you can’t move a lot at work, alternate between sitting and standing at your work station, and stand when you’re on the phone or in meetings. Try a standing desk or use computer risers to raise your monitor, keyboard and mouse.
Dine smart. A little preparation and planning can help keep “desk dining” from becoming an unhealthy eating disaster filled with sweetened coffee drinks and takeout lunches, which tend to be oversized, higher in calories and lacking in nutrients. Plan ahead for the week and pack your own nutritious meals. Try brown-bagging it with a healthy sandwich creation or experiment with “meal-in-a-jar” recipes like overnight oats or Mason jar salads packed with leafy greens, nuts, beans and veggies. Have a healthy snack stash at your desk to keep you from running to the vending machine for a bag of chips or soda when you have the mid-afternoon munchies. Non-perishable, grab-and-go foods like healthy snack bars; snack-sized portions of trail mix, dried fruit or nuts; peanut butter and whole-grain crackers; and plain instant oatmeal topped with cinnamon or nutmeg are smart and satisfying choices.
Drink up. Did you know that even being slightly dehydrated can leave you feeling tired and sluggish? Thirst can also masquerade as hunger, making it harder for you to stick to your healthy eating plan. Avoid less healthful beverages and make water your beverage of choice—it’s free, readily available, and has zero calories. Keep a personal, reusable water bottle at your desk or workspace to encourage you to sip water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Set a reminder on your calendar to pop up every 30 minutes as a cue to drink up. For naturally-flavorful water, infuse it by adding citrus fruits or fresh or frozen berries; herbs such as mint, thyme or basil; or veggies like cucumbers—the combinations are endless and delicious.
Share in the comments section below how you try to stay healthy at work.