5 Ways to Remain Healthy at Work

By Kayla Rogan

As we move deeper into fall and closer to winter, now is a good time of year to consider the myriad of ways you can remain healthy at work. Without a healthy mind and body, we are limited on the amount and the quality of work we are able to perform at the office. Although it can be difficult to change your daily routine, it’s important that you try to recognize all of the bad habits you’ve picked up over the course of your career.

That being said, there are 5 main things that you should make yourself aware of at your desk and try to apply to your daily routine this fall.

Be Aware of your Posture

There are many benefits to maintaining good posture, however, sitting at your desk for long periods of time, day after day is typically where bad posture habits begin to creep in. According to Healthline, good posture can improve your balance, back pain, circulation, breathing, and decrease your risk of injury, fatigue, and headaches, which can all lead you into a more productive and healthy lifestyle.

The first step to good posture is to be aware of when you’re slouching. It’s easy to let your neck creep forward, toward your screen and your shoulders to hunch throughout the day. However, once you make yourself aware of it, you’ll begin to notice it more often and, as you begin to correct it, you will realize how much stress slouching and hunching puts on your body.

Some easy ways to correct your posture include:

  1. Arranging your Desk: Make sure your computer screen is at eye level by adjusting your chair or lifting your computer screen and make sure everything is within reach so you aren’t overreaching.
  2. Stretching at your Desk: Practice some simple movements at your desk throughout your day that can help you stretch and align your back.
  3. Try a stand up Desk: Standing for long periods of the day, automatically makes you think about correcting your posture. Try out a tall desk so you can stand, or look into standing desk converters to raise your computer on your existing desk. 

Get Up and Move

It’s no secret that sitting for prolonged periods of time can create a sluggish and unfocused mentality, but how are you supposed to exercise during work? Simple.

You can practice “deskercises” along with your posture stretches at your desk. This will allow you to circulate some much needed blood flow that will ramp up your energy level naturally and lead to an increase in productivity all in one.

You can also take the stairs as much as possible throughout the day, go for walks on your lunch break, and join a gym near your office to motivate yourself to go before or after work.

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercising regularly can help you lose weight, which gives you more energy, improves your mood, and promotes better sleep, all of which will benefit you at the office. Regular exercise can also correct bad health conditions created by sedentary lifestyles, such as high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and diabetes.

All in all, it’s important to get up and move throughout your day and try to get a 45-60 minute workout in 3-5 days a week as well!

Take Frequent Breaks

Taking frequent breaks from staring at your digital screen and being engaged with a project or meeting can actually help with productivity and focus. The human brain is not built for the kind of constant focus that today’s employees feel they need to maintain. Taking breaks allows the brain and the eyes to rest, diffuse and recalculate from constant critical thinking and exposure to digital screens.

Constant interaction with digital screens that emit blue light can cause digital eye strain, which leads to dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, reduced attention span, and irritability. Digital eye strain can be avoided by taking regular breaks from digital screens and buying blue-light glasses or using night shift mode, which changes the color temperature of a screen to emit less blue light based on the lighting around you.

Some easy ways to manage effective breaks throughout your day include:

  1. Strategic Methods: Try to practice methods such as the Pomodoro Technique, 90-Minute Work Blocks, The 52-17 Method or taking Two 15 Minute Breaks per Day.
  2. Productivity-Boosting Activities: Taking a walk, eating in a different location, grabbing a coffee, reading, listening to music, and napping can all promote productivity.

Keep your Workspace Clean and Hygienic 

When you’re sitting at your desk day after day, it’s important that you make sure it’s as clean as possible. Yes, that means keeping it organized and tidy, which promotes great productivity and efficiency, but it also means keeping it disinfected! With the changing of seasons upon us, you are much more vulnerable to germs and bacteria and your desk is a hub for them.

Some easy ways to make sure your workspace sanitary include:

  1. Cleaning your Keyboard, Mouse and Telephone: Items that pass through your hands regularly hold twice as much bacteria than other objects.
  2. Wiping Down your Desk: Wiping down your desk for dust and bacteria using disinfectant wipes will eliminate your risk for catching a cold or allergies.
  3. Using Disinfectant Spray and Hand Sanitizer: Having disinfecting properties around will be beneficial when a co-worker is sick or you don’t have time to clean.
  4. Reduce Clutter: Reducing the clutter on your desk will make it easier to clean and help it stay clean longer as clutter attracts dust and can introduce new germs to your workspace.

Nothing will slow down your work flow like a cold or the flu, so it’s important to sanitize your desk about once a week!

Eat and Drink Sensibly

What you eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner can really affect your productivity, focus, and energy level throughout the day. Eating unhealthy meals or portions that are too large can make you crash before the day is through or even before it starts.

Avoid stopping at your local bagel or coffee shop in the morning and start your day off with something light and full of fiber, protein, or antioxidants, like whole grain toast, eggs or fruit. Avoid greasy, oversized meals for lunch, no matter how tempting they are, and instead have something that will fuel you for the second half of your day, like salad, chicken and vegetables, or homemade soup for fall! Also, try to keep your lunch regimen going straight into dinner. What you eat before you go to sleep can have a big impact on how bright-eyed you are in the morning!

While working for 8+ hours a day, it’s easy to lose track of how many cups of coffee you’ve had and how few glasses of water you’ve consumed. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout your workday, as dehydration can cause fatigue and sluggish behavior. Try to maintain the six to eight glasses of water per day rule to stay energized and alert!

Also, try to limit your caffeine intake to one cup throughout the day. Ironically enough, employees often over consume coffee in order to stay awake and motivated. Caffeine not only dehydrates you, causing you to become tired and lethargic, but it also makes you crash after its initial stimulation.

It’s a Daily Practice

Practicing healthy habits requires attention to detail and effort. Changing the routine you’ve become accustomed to at the office won’t be achieved overnight, but it can be achieved. It just requires the desire to do better and be a better version of yourself in your day-to-day. And the good news, it becomes easier overtime – cheers to a healthy lifestyle and feeling good. 

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