Putting in an eight-hour day at an office job can take its toll on your body and your health over time. You’re at risk of eye strain, bad posture, and making poor food choices. With a bit of planning, you can make the time you spend at your desk a bit easier on yourself. Here are ten ways to improve your health at work that will pay off over the long run.
Have a healthy lunch
Try brown-bagging it instead of eating out every day, and watch out for portion sizes. It can be easy to go overboard on pizza, for example, and then fail to burn off the excess calories throughout the day. Try lean protein like a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread with fruit and pretzels. Sticking to this rule is much easier if you work from home like you’re a custom writer, but you can figure something out in the office too. Get into the habit of eating fruit and making your lunch in the evening, so you don’t have to waste your time in the morning.
Make a to-do list
Start by making a list of everything that needs to be done so you minimise the anxiety and the feeling that there’s just too much to do and not enough time. This might include card writing, party organizing, shopping, cooking, work deadlines, travel arrangements, and communications with your family and friends. Once you have things written down, you can make a big calendar and fit it all in.
Take a hike
Work some exercise into your workday routine. Get out and take a walk during lunch, take the stairs instead of the lift, and park your car as far as possible from your building’s entrance. Make sure you keep moving throughout your day to improve your fitness level Make sure you get lots of sleep. Make room for alone time to replenish your energy; even if it’s just a short walk around the block.
It seems there are so many food pitfalls you need to avoid in a typical office, from the co-worker who brings in doughnuts every morning to the receptionist with candy on her desk. Try stashing some fruit or granola bars at your desk in case hunger strikes and your willpower is low.
Water your body
Keep a bottle of water at your desk, and drink and refill throughout the day. This way, you can avoid dehydration and stave off those late-afternoon doldrums that can accompany it.
Easy on the eyes
Sitting in front of a computer screen all day can cause eyestrain, which leads to headaches, difficulty focusing, and a sensitivity to light. Make sure your screen is at least an arm’s length away, increase your font size, and be sure to look away and focus your eyes elsewhere regularly.
Bring the outdoors in
Sometimes work can be stressful, and the best way to combat that is to enjoy the peace that nature provides. Plants in the office reduce employee anxiety by 37% and also improve air quality, so make sure your office has plenty of greenery.
Take a holiday
Be sure to use your holiday days wisely. It’s important to get away from work periodically to avoid burnout and to reduce your stress levels. Plan a fun trip, which will help you recharge your batteries and return to the office feeling well-rested and ready to jump back in.
Keep it clean
Your computer keyboard, mouse, and telephone are germ magnets. Viruses can survive for hours or even days on these surfaces, so be sure to clean them properly to kill the germs and keep from getting sick. Try using a disinfectant that is registered with the EPA to effectively clean and kill germs.
Ease neck pain
Work can be a pain in the neck, literally. If you hold your head in the same position for long periods or tend to cradle the phone against your shoulder, you may be at risk for tension neck syndrome. Try using a speakerphone or headset, and be sure to do some neck stretches to avoid stiffness and tension.
Listen to your body
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to listen to your body. If you’re feeling tired or burned out, perhaps you’re entitled to take a sick day and simply rest. This is a good way to avoid burnout and give your mind and body a rest, so you can return to work feeling invigorated and ready to take on whatever comes your way.
If you feel your best at work, you will perform better, be happier, and fully enjoy what you’re doing. When you spend eight hours a day working, that’s a very good thing.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.