Modern professionals are notoriously bad at balancing work and health. Whether you work remotely or have a traditional office role, there’s a good chance that your daily health habits could use a tune-up.
But rather than try and overhaul everything at once, consider where you can make the most effortless changes and begin there.
8 Ways to Stay Healthy at Work
For some people, staying healthy at work might mean swapping their afternoon coffee for a glass of water. For others, it might be investing in a standing desk or taking a conference call while going for a walk. And for others still, it might be eating healthy snacks or packing a nutritious lunch from home. No matter what, there are small changes that everyone can make to stay healthy at work.
1. Take a Break From Sitting
It’s easy to get stuck in a sedentary lifestyle, especially if your job is computer-based, but it’s essential to ensure that you get up and move around regularly.
Setting a timer to remind yourself every 30-40 minutes to stand up and stretch or take a quick walk down the hall and back will do wonders for your health and focus.
2. Prioritize Healthy Meals and Snacks
It can be tempting to indulge in unhealthy snacks, but it’s important to ensure you eat healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. Vending machines and fast food can be easy but damaging.
Planning and preparing healthy meals can help you stay on track. Consider starting out with some prepackaged nuts or veggies to make it easier to get in the habit of having whole foods during the day.
3. Connect With Others
Focusing on growing your career makes it easy to feel isolated from the rest of the world. Take time to connect with friends and family in person or online. Talking to others can help you feel more connected and less alone.
And if there is an existing health group at your work, joining can be a great way to stay motivated with healthy living habits while building a stronger professional network. If your workplace lacks such a group, consider talking to your employer about creating one.
4. Exercise Daily
We’ve all heard that exercise is vital for overall health and can help improve your mood and energy levels. But you don’t have to invest in a costly gym membership or sign up for a triathlon. Small changes can make a big impact, and exercising at work is more manageable than you’ve probably imagined.
5. Stay Hydrated
It’s incredible how quickly you can dehydrate without even noticing the signals. Ensure that you’re drinking enough water throughout the day—consider keeping a water bottle near your desk so you can take sips regularly.
6. Build in Routine Breaks
Whether it’s for lunch or your days off each week, make breaks a part of your work routine. They give your mind a chance to rest and your body the opportunity to do something different than the repetitive motions your role calls for.
And don’t forget about longer breaks so that you can fully recharge. As a culture, Americans are notoriously horrible at taking vacations. However, a complete break from work is a very healthy decision. Not only can you de-stress, but you can also enjoy a bit of time to relax and refocus.
7. Focus on Sufficient Sleep
It can be tempting to burn the candle at both ends while balancing your career with personal commitments, but it’s essential to ensure you’re getting enough sleep. Sufficient rest can help you boost your immune system. As a bonus, you’ll be more productive during the day.
8. Don’t Neglect Your Mental Wellness
While focusing on your physical health is vital, don’t stop there. Take the extra steps to ensure that you’re maintaining your mental health as well.
Keep tabs on your stress levels; if you’re consistently feeling high anxiety levels, it’s time to take action. Perhaps you can take time throughout the day to practice some deep breathing activities or do some yoga on your lunch break.
And if you’re finding it difficult to cope with work-related stressors, don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional who can offer support and guidance.
How Flexible Work Options Support Health
Another way to stay healthy at work is to take advantage of flexible work policies if they are available. Flexible work policies can take many forms, but all aim to give employees more control over their time. This could mean working from home one or two days per week, starting and ending the work day early or late, or taking longer breaks.
When employees have more control over their time, they can better manage their work-life blend, which is beneficial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Consider just a few of the health perks that flexible workers enjoy:
- Reduced stress
- Avoiding office germs
- Getting more sleep
- Shorter (and fewer) illnesses
- Increased happiness
- More opportunities for fitness
- More energy
Thrive With a Healthier Work-Life Balance
Both employers and employees experience the benefits of flexible work policies. By having more time and less stress, employees can get more sleep, have more time to enjoy life, and can be healthier at work and at home. All of these benefits create a happier and more productive team.
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