Five simple steps to stay healthy at work

Many of us spend seven or more hours a day, five days a week, sat down and fixated on a computer; and that’s just at work. As jobs have become sedentary and we spend most of our working day sat at a desk, it can sometimes feel impossible to make healthy choices.

There are many ways to try and stay healthy at work, possibly too many. The choices we can make can become overwhelming. And it turns out; we can’t all redecorate the office to enhance our creative thinking, or replace our desk with a standing one. So here are five simple ideas to try and incorporate into your day at work.

#1 Sit up straight – don’t stand for bad posture

Trying not to hunch over your computer as you slowly get drawn into your screen is hard. Maintaining a good posture involves a conscious effort. It’s easy to correct your posture and sit up straight and it’s just as easy to undo all your efforts as you start reading your emails.

After spending hours of your day sat at your desk, you don’t want to leave work with backache, eye strain or a headache. Your posture is important, and practise makes perfect. Setting up your desk and chair correctly is a start. There’s a lot of check points to remember so always look a workstation set up guide online to remind you. Use the 20:20:20 rule to reduce eye fatigue; every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds, simple.

#2 Take a break – just brew it

Even on your busiest days it’s important to get away from your desk, stretch, rejuvenate and come back more productive. Skipping breaks to get the work done can leave you less creative, contradicting your intentions. Take your breaks and you’ll be more likely to finish work on time.

Every half an hour, try and unglue yourself from your desk for a couple of minutes and take a walk, whether it’s while taking a phone call, or speaking with a colleague face to face rather than sending an email.

During your lunch try taking a ten minute walk, the more you do it the easier it’ll become. Start small and build on it, even choosing the stairs over the lift. Any increase from your normal daily activity is a positive.

Take breaks, take your lunch and definitely take your holidays.

#3 Stay hydrated – water you waiting for?

Do you want to improve your mood, your energy levels and your brain functioning? Do you want to reduce hunger cravings, headaches and that afternoon slump? The list of benefits can go on but the simple answer is water!

Staying hydrated could possibly be the oldest trick in the book. And no, coffee doesn’t count. Keep a bottle of water at your desk and drink plenty of it. If you find plain water boring, then perk it up! You could infuse it with lemon or cucumber, or even keep a bottle of cordial handy.

#4 Healthy eating – think about your apple-tite

You’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why would you skip it? If you’re not a fan of eating early, or always in a rush, then you can prepare it the day before and take it to work. Think smoothies, overnight oats or leave cereal at the office.

Whilst you’re planning breakfast, you could also prep your lunch. You can shave pounds from your waistline and save them in the bank by meal prepping or making an extra portion when cooking dinner for a healthy lunch the next day.

And finally, snacks. Snacking isn’t banned, but you should keep healthy treats stashed at your desk so you’re less tempted by the ‘bad’ stuff such as cakes, crisps and chocolate.

#5 Limit your caffeine intake – better latte than never

Caffeine is a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea and coffee. Don’t worry I’m not saying you have to stop drinking coffee. Caffeine has benefits such as increasing alertness, performance and mental ability by stimulating the central nervous system. However it can be addictive and should be consumed in moderation.

Caffeine withdrawal is real, so you should cut back gradually or you could get headaches and you’ll struggle to concentrate. You could start by swapping out a cup of coffee for herbal tea. Say no to sugar and swap to skimmed milk to cut the calories.

Bonus tip: Leave work, at work

That includes not checking emails, and switching off to spend quality time with friends and family.

Remember that everyday is a clean slate to make healthier decisions, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Even if you start by replacing just one habit with something healthier. A little bit of prepping and planning will set you up for success in the long run. Soon that three o’clock crash will be a thing of the past.

Check out these mindfulness exercises that will help you alleviate stress at work.

Take a break