Have a hard time staying on track with your healthy habits at the office? You aren’t alone. Here are seven simple ways to stay healthy at work.
A wise woman named Rihanna once said “work work work work work work….” For those of us who have moved into the “adulting” stage of life, having a J-O-B is a necessary part of life. The average professional working 40+ hours per week spends more of their waking hours at their place of employment than anywhere else. So if we, as working folks, are going to live healthy balanced lifestyles, it is critical we find ways to keep our healthy habits up while on the job.
However as many folks who have an office job know, “the office” isn’t always an easy place to practice our healthiest habits. From sitting in front of a computer screen for eight or more hours each day to getting stared down by the donuts in the break room, the office can feel like a very unhealthy place. Here are some of my tips for staying healthy while you’re chasing paper.
Schedule breaks throughout the day
This is huge, especially if you have a desk job. Our bodies simply were not designed to sit in one spot for eight or nine hours. Sitting still that long isn’t doing your health or your posture any favors – it is important to do what you can to move throughout the day. I like scheduling breaks on my calendar to take a short walk outside or take the stairs in my building. If you schedule it (mark it private if you’d like), you are less likely to forget about it. Consider these daily movement breaks as important meetings you have with yourself. If you truly don’t have time to get up from your desk, get creative. Schedule regular posture checks on your calendar to remind yourself not to slouch, or stand up while taking conference calls.
Check your posture
I mentioned this in the first tip, but it is extremely important to be mindful of your posture if you work at a desk all day. It can be so easy to slouch or slump in your chair. Don’t be afraid to adjust your computer monitor to a comfortable point that helps you keep your shoulders back, and keeps your back in good alignment.
Drink plenty of H2O
Fun fact: I didn’t really start drinking adequate amounts of water until I entered the workforce. Awful right? In my youth, I never liked how plain it was and was usually more interested in pop and juice – I know, insert eye roll here. Fast forward to my first job out of college when I was sitting at my desk bored out of my mind. Basically, I looked for any reason to get up and not be at my desk. Frequent trips to the water cooler and subsequently, the ladies’ room, were the perfect distraction from my boredom. As embarrassing as that story is, I tell it because that scenario finally got me hydrating my body properly.
If you don’t suffer from the same boredom as me, try keeping a large water bottle, pitcher or Brita on your desk. When you get to work in the morning, fill it up and make it your goal to finish it by the time you go home. I swear this tip works!
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Don’t eat free food
This is actually a tip my mom taught me – if you’re watching what you eat, say no to free food. She’s so right. When it comes to office food (unless you work for a health-conscious company), nothing worth having usually comes for free. Donuts on your co-worker’s desk, bagels in the break room and sad boxed lunches usually don’t make you feel as good as what you can make for yourself.
Keep a stash of healthy snacks
On the other hand, while we are working most of us usually do need to eat something. Keeping nutritious snacks on hand can help make avoiding the donut box a little easier. Snacks like nuts, nut butters, snack bars, whole-grain crackers, etc. are great options to keep on hand. That being said, I prefer opting for portioned snacks so I don’t eat them all at once (a legitimate concern for me haha).
There are few things in life that are better than a good cup of tea. Keeping a stash of tea at your desk is another great way to ward off the sweet tooth and give yourself some extra antioxidants. Also, if you find yourself getting sluggish in the afternoon but know you’d be up all night if you had coffee after lunch, tea is totally the way to go. You can even use my mason jar matcha method if you need your matcha fix while at work (I do it all the time).
Recruit your co-workers
Last, but certainly not least, include your co-workers in your efforts! Encourage them to go on lunchtime walks and breaks with you to keep you accountable. A few years ago, some of my coworkers and I had a contest to see who could drink the most water at work for a week (not in a fratty chugging water kind of way though, we just counted how many water bottles we drank throughout the day). The friendly competition kept us all motivated,and hydrated. Can you challenge your colleagues to bring lunch from home for a week? Or see who can take the most steps? Get others involved, and you’ll be surprised what you can achieve together.
There you have it – some of my favorite tips that have helped me a ton as a working “adult.”
How do you stay healthy on the job?
Lestraundra is the founder of Balanced Black Girl and the host of the Balanced Black Girl Podcast. She’s a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, and natural beauty junkie who loves 90’s R&B, trying new skincare products, and creating recipes in the Instant Pot. She created Balanced Black Girl to provide content and experiences empowering women of color to live well.