For many of us, spending 40 hours or more a week sitting at a desk is the norm. Even when we’re going to meetings throughout the day, we basically just transport our bodies from one chair to the next. Given the high percentage of time we spend at work, our office behaviors and routines can impact immediate and long-term health. The benefits of practicing wellness at work are obvious. The healthier you are, the less likely you are to get sick and fall behind not only at work but at home as well. Consequently, it literally pays to work healthier this coming year.
Here are some ways to work healthier in 2019
1. Cut Back on the Coffee
One of the most common office benefits is access to seemingly boundless free coffee. However, if you overindulge, that free coffee is going to cost you. Excess caffeine can be harmful to your short- and long-term health. Furthermore, going heavy on the cream and sugar can lead to weight gain. Try limiting your intake to one or two cups of coffee a day and drink water the rest of the day. It’s a good idea to invest in a large water bottle and aim to fill it up twice every day to ensure you stay hydrated.
2. Get Moving
An inactive lifestyle is an unhealthy lifestyle. It’s also bad for circulation and can result in blood clots and back problems. If your job involves a lot of sitting at the computer, see if your employer will provide an adjustable desk so that you have the option to stand throughout the day and sit when necessary. Also, take breaks to walk around the building and stretch. Even just a couple of minutes of movement every hour can make a big difference in how you feel. You can also park farther away so that you can take advantage of the extra steps and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Another way you can easily work healthier is walking over to a coworker’s desk to discuss work issues rather than sending an email. Face-to-face interactions are also good for your emotional well-being.
3. Take Brain Breaks
Your mental health needs attention as well if you are truly going to work healthier. Failing to take regular mental breaks can increase stress levels and shatter your concentration. Make sure you are taking a couple of substantial breaks each day. It doesn’t matter what you do – eat lunch, talk or just go outside – as long as you are getting away physically and mentally from the computer screen.
4. Keep It Clean
Mountains of papers cluttering up your workspace not only makes it harder to find what you need, when you need it. These paper piles can trigger allergies and other respiratory problems due to the additional dust on these surfaces. If your desk is currently buried, don’t stress. Just make some time to get organized. Also, develop a filing system and actively use it everyday so that papers don’t accumulate again.
5. Pass on the Unhealthy Free Snacks
Many organizations have free snacks for employees as both a benefit and a way to keep them from leaving every time they have a craving. However, if these snacks are lacking in the nutrition department, indulging can cause weight gain and even dental problems. If your office doesn’t have nutritious items, pack your own vegetables or fruit to reach for throughout the day to work healthier rather than heavier. Also, address the snack variety with your boss and see about including some healthier options in the future.
6. Wash Those Hands Often
Throughout childhood, we are encouraged to wash our hands frequently to limit contact with germs. Many of us start disregarding this habit the moment we receive our diploma. But this habit should carry over into the workplace. You never know if someone with a cold touched a door handle or sat in the conference room before you. Obviously, you can’t and shouldn’t avoid human contact in a traditional office environment. However, while you may share a communal space, you can avoid sharing illnesses by washing your hands frequently.