10 Habits for a Healthier Workday
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is more about habits than effort. If everyday, you commit to a few healthy habits, you’ll be on the right track to a healthy life.
Health and wellness have a lot of meanings, but looking at health with a holistic approach means focusing not only on physical health, but emotional, social, and intellectual health, too.
Work Healthy: Since we spend most of our time at work, here are some tips to make your workday just a little bit healthier. Whether your company has a corporate wellness plan or not, you can practice workplace health on your own.
1. Stay Hydrated
Water is not only something our bodies need, it can also make us feel better and give us some much-needed energy. Being sufficiently hydrated can fend off headaches and reduce fatigue. Try keeping a reusable water bottle on your desk and refilling it a few times a day. It can also be a great excuse to get up from your desk to hit up the water cooler.
2. Take a Stroll
Humans are not made to sit at a desk all day, so be sure to take plenty of short breaks throughout the day. Whether you walk down the hall or around the block, fitting movement into your day can keep you energized and boost your mood. It may seem counterintuitive, but these small breaks can increase productivity. Taking breaks can reduce stress and anxiety, too.
3. Stand Up, Sit Down
A sit stand desk is a great tool that allows you to move and adjust your working position throughout the day. Most people are sitting too much, and periodically standing while you work can help you get more movement in your day. The right height adjustable desk should allow you to sit with your feet flat and legs at 90° angle, your forearms resting on the desktop and elbows at a 90° angle. When standing, arms should remain in the same position and your spine, hips, and ankles should be in a straight, vertical line. The key to proper ergonomics is movement, so make use of your adjustable desk by change positions before fatigue hits. To learn more, check out this article about sit stand desks and ergonomics.
Most people are sitting too much, and periodically standing while you work can help you get more movement in your day.
4. Go on “Do Not Disturb” Mode
The modern office is full of distractions. There are phones ringing, desktop notifications, and constant emails, which might all be making you stressed out. Minimize distracting notifications by putting your cell phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode or silent, and adjust your computer settings to disable any desktop notifications that are not urgent. This simple change will help with stress management and keep you focused on your top priorities.
5. Check Your Posture
Have you ever looked over at your co-worker to find them hunched over their laptop or slouched in front of their computer screen? Maintaining proper posture while you work can ensure you stay comfortable and reduce the risk of chronic injury to wrists, neck, and back. Bad posture often leads to lower back pain, neck pain, and wrist injury, and for some, multiple trips to the chiropractor. Sit up straight or reclined slightly, and make sure you’re not reaching or bending to do your work.
6. Bring Your Lunch
A brown bag lunch is not only a great way to save money, it can be much healthier than it’s fast food counterpart. Try bringing leftovers, a sandwich, fruit, or granola bar, whatever you enjoy that’s fairly easy for you to pack and eat on the go. There are tons of healthy lunch recipes out there for quick and easy work lunches. Added bonus, a packed lunch takes much less time to eat than driving to buy food, so you’ll have more time to yourself during your lunch break. You can also keep some healthy snacks that are shelf stable in your desk drawer for quick energy.
Try bringing leftovers, a sandwich, fruit, or granola bar, whatever you enjoy that’s fairly easy for you to pack and eat on the go.
7. Read a Book
Taking a mental break is just as important as taking a physical break. Next time you need a break from the seemingly endless list of work tasks and emails, read a good book! Try an interesting novel or whatever will help take your mind off your work. This kind of mental reset will actually help you be more productive and relieve stress. Just 6 minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by nearly 70%!
8. Rest Your Eyes
As we spend more and more of our time working on computers, our eyes are taking a hit. Eye strain, pain, and vision problems can result from staring at a screen for too long. Some people even experience burning eyes, watery eyes, itchy eyes, or sore eyes from too much uninterrupted screen time. To give your eyes a break, follow the 20-20-20 rule: look 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
9. Nurture Your Network
Social connections are a great way to boost happiness, better manage stress, and feel a sense of belonging. Whether you work with just a few people or a full building, take some time everyday to nurture your social network (in person!). Invite a co-worker to take a stroll, take a break to chat with someone down the hall, or ask someone what they did last weekend. Even casual work friendships are beneficial for your overall happiness and job satisfaction.
10. Leave Work at Work
Finally, a healthy workday means it ends when you go home. Stressing about work when you’re not working will only take away from your personal or family time. Develop an end-of-day ritual that allows you to shut down and enjoy your evening without stress. Practice simple relaxation techniques like a 5-minute meditation or some stretching exercises to transition out of work mode. Ultimately, if you’re happy and stress-free, you’ll be a more valuable employee who produces higher quality work.