How To Achieve A Healthy Office Life
(3 minutes to read) / Click here to download the infographic
For most people, a full-time office job means sitting at a desk for a third of their day. Although it seems easy this can take a toll on both your body and your mind. Lucky for you, there are several simple steps you can take in order to maintain a positive and healthy lifestyle while in the office. Here are 6 tips on how to improve and maintain your physical and mental health in the workplace. These steps can help boost your job satisfaction and in turn help you become your most effective and productive self.
Do pestering headaches accompany you at work from time to time? Do you find yourself craving a strong cup of coffee during that long late afternoon drag? Well, set aside the Advil and caffeine because studies have shown that simply drinking a sufficient amount of water can not only cure headaches but it can prevent them while also increasing energy. A few other benefits include cushioning joints and organs, transporting essential nutrients to specific parts of the body, maintaining internal temperature, balancing electrolytes and eliminating waste (Hall, 2014). Water makes up 73% of the human brain and heart. When the brain is not hydrated, symptoms such as memory loss, mental confusion, and mental fatigue can be experienced. This can be extremely frustrating and even detrimental in the workplace. Increasing your water intake replenishes your body and allows water to continue doing its job properly.
Always have a cup or bottle of water at your desk to ensure that you’re constantly staying hydrated. If you have a hard time remembering to drink water throughout the day, make a goal to drink at least an 8oz cup of water every hour and even set reminders on your phone to help you stay on track. Studies have found that for water to be the most beneficial for your health, women should be drinking at least 74 oz of water a day and men should be drinking 100 oz.
2. EAT HEALTHY SNACKS
You wouldn’t expect a car to run properly on an empty tank. Just as importantly, you wouldn’t expect a gas-powered car to run on diesel fuel. The same concept applies to your body and the food you fuel it with. When it comes to properly nourishing your body you must be conscious of the foods you are choosing to eat. There is a drastic difference between eating food and eating the right food. While at work it is important for you to be focused, alert and motivated. Eating foods that are high in sugar, fats, and sodium can potentially have the opposite effect on outcomes such as tiredness, stress and lack of concentration. Healthy snacks are often rich in vitamins and minerals and provide the necessary nutrients that make you feel good and give you the energy you need.
Your body is constantly producing energy meaning you need to constantly be fueling it. Eating healthy snacks throughout the day is one of the easiest and tastiest solutions. A few healthy snack ideas include:
- Fruits & Veggies (grapes, oranges, berries, apple slices, carrot sticks)
- Yogurt with granola
- Trail mix
- String Cheese
3. BE MINDFUL OF POSTURE
Whether you spend all day standing or sitting, it is important to be mindful of how you do it. Having poor posture is actually considered a bad habit, and one of the most difficult ones to break at that. Not sure if you have bad posture? Two main ways to identify poor posture is a hunched back and slouching shoulders. Though this often seems to be the most relaxed and comfortable position, it can cause major long term problems such as chronic neck and back pain.
Good posture can be described as sitting and standing with straight vertebrae, chest out and chin up. This simple change in the way you hold yourself can prevent lifelong injuries and ensure the proper use of muscles and joints. It also helps you breathe easier and deeper, getting more oxygen to the brain. Studies have shown that oxygen in the brain can improve performance on mental tasks (Chandrasekaran, 2017). You might find yourself less frustrated and encounter fewer mental blocks. Not to mention, walking tall with your head held high gives you a confident powerful look that in turn can make you feel more confident. This can prove to be especially important in the workplace.
4. PERSONALIZE YOUR WORKSPACE
With the hours and days that you spend at work, your office can naturally become a home away from home. Researchers have found a correlation between work environment and creative thinking. The more pleasant the environment, the more productive and efficient the employee becomes. It has been said that being in a comfortable and open workspace allows your mind to relax and “stretch” (Perkins, 2013). Adding a personal touch to your workspace also serves as a visual ice-breaker between you and fellow colleagues, increasing trust and cohesive relationships.
Although extremely effective, personalizing your workspace can be rather easy. Bring a few personal items from home, such as photos of family, spouses or pets. You may also consider bringing a piece of decor that you enjoy looking at or a nice desk plant to help liven up your work area. Succulents, aloe vera, spider plants and snake plants add a nice pop of color to your workstation and can even help improve the air quality of your office. A major upside is that they are extremely easy to keep alive requiring just a little sunlight and water, making them appropriate for even those not gifted with green thumbs.
5. TAKE BREAKS
Recharge your mind and your body by taking short breaks throughout the day. Brain breaks have actually been proven to promote creative thinking and help regain focus. In a study found in the Industrial Engineer, the researchers explained, “Workers who texted family, played “Angry Birds” or checked their Facebook accounts for a few minutes during work were happier at the end of the day because they were able to recover from work stress” (Break for Success, 2014). Listening to music, stretching or walking around the office for even a few minutes can rejuvenate your mind and support your cognitive thinking.
6. SMALL TALK
Feelings of inclusiveness and unity in the office often stem from positive workplace relationships. Employees who feel included at work also claim to have higher job satisfaction. One of the best ways to establish a healthy and personal friendship with co-workers is by initiating and engaging in small talk. In order to yield the most positive outcome, small talk should be kept light and non-controversial, discussing topics such as sports, music, tv shows, books, etc. Engaging in small talk with colleagues is also a perfect opportunity to bounce ideas off of one another and get feedback. It can even serve as a time to give and receive recognition and appreciation for the work that has already been done. By continually encouraging one another to improve, this creates an uplifting work environment where you and your co-workers can be open and creative without fear of rejection. This type of inter-office support can make all the difference when it comes to feeling motivated and inspired.
Break for Success (2014). Industrial Engineer: IE 46(9)
Chandrasekaran, S. (2017). Walking Tall in Years to Come! Right Posture Gives Immediate Benefits. Women’s Era, 44(1045)
Hall, M (2014). Hydrate Well for Health. Environmental Nutrition, 37(8)
Perkins, S (2013). Work Environment Can Influence Creativity. Innovationedge
Infographic: “How to Achieve a Healthy Office Life”