12 Tips to Improve Your Health at Work

Since the days of our youth, we’ve heard it said, “health is wealth,” but with deadlines and hectic schedules filling up our work day, our health is quite possibly the last thing on our minds while at the office. The good news is that it doesn’t have to stay this way. Incorporating small, realistic changes to your everyday work routine can make all the difference. We have compiled our top 12 tips to help improve your health while at work.

1. Just Say No

We all know it’s hard to pass up the tempting candy so sweetly displayed on our coworker’s desk. But before you go consuming hundreds of unnecessary calories and wonder why your khakis don’t fit next week, start avoiding their desk like the plague when hungry. Those little candies will only give you an unhealthy sense of enjoyment. Start by keeping healthy snacks at your desk and trading in the candy jar for a fruit bowl.

Need help on what to bring to work? Check out this list of 33 healthy snacks for work provided by Healthline.

2. Guzzle H2O

It is easy to avoid drinking enough water when focused on getting work done. Many turn to caffeinated beverages to stay alert during the day, but this is actually counteractive due to their diuretic effects, which lead to dehydration and a decrease in productivity. So instead of grabbing that second cup of coffee, try replacing it with a glass of water.

Guzzling water throughout the day comes with clear bodily benefits:

  1. Maintains the balance of body fluids
  2. Controls calorie intake
  3. Energizes muscles
  4. Enriches healthy skin
  5. Aids in kidney health
  6. Maintains normal bowel functions

One simple way to ensure you are drinking water is to mark your water bottle with the hours 11am, 2pm, and 5pm. Try to drink past each hourly line before the hour arrives. This will ensure you are drinking the right amount of water each day.

3. Work it Out

Did you know that exercise offers benefits like a boosted metabolism and better sleep? In fact, early morning workouts are proven to boost your energy, self-discipline, and focus throughout the day. Not only is a morning workout great for you, but also try incorporating a few of these exercises into your work day:

  1. Hit the gym on your lunch hour.
  2. Walk with a coworker during your afternoon break.
  3. Schedule walking meetings in the afternoon.
  4. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  5. Park in the back of the parking lot.

4. Preppin’ and Savin’

Gone are the days when mom would pack our lunch, but the importance of meal preparation still remains true for all of us. It can be difficult for most of us to make good choices when we are hungry or when we eat out, especially if the restaurant has free chips and salsa. One way to help what goes on your plate is to pack your own lunch. Not only will your body thank you, but so will your wallet.

How Sweet Eats has made lunch planning easy with this list of 45 healthy lunch ideas.

5. Be Like Gumby

Sitting at a desk and typing for the majority of the day can cause all sorts of aches and pains. Try setting an alarm to stretch every couple of hours. Prevention lays out some perks to stretching that are worth mentioning:

  1. It increases blood flow through your entire body.
  2. It could help muscle coordination and help to avoid awkward tumbles.
  3. It loosens you up to make the most of your workout session.
  4. It helps you focus and lessens your chance of injury.
  5. It lowers your blood sugar.
  6. It tames the tension both physically and mentally.  

To get you started, be sure to check out these 17 desk stretches.

6. All About the Eyes

If you sit in front of your computer all day, you are most likely aware of the strain it has on your eyes. Eye strain causes headaches, difficulty focusing, and increased insensitivity to light. The best way to help your eye health is to ensure that your computer screen is arm’s length away from your face and that your computer’s brightness is turned down. If you have trouble seeing the screen, it’s ok to up your font.  

The Mayo Clinic recommends blinking often to refresh your eyes and to give your eyes a break by looking away from the monitor. Have you heard of the 20-20-20 rule? Every 20 minutes look at something at 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

7. Take a Vacay

This is the tip we all want to hear. Vacations are an important part of staying healthy at work.Taking time off helps recharge, reduce stress, and it allows your mind to rest. Stress can impair your immune system, which increases the risk of illness. Fortunately for all of us, vacations are just the way to minimize the stress in our lives. So, go ahead and book that trip to Tahiti. Your cheeks deserve to be sun-kissed.

8. Prioritize Your Day  

We all have those seasons where we have focused on a task and feel the need to stay later in order to get it done, but most of us are unaware of the impact it has on our health. Staying longer days at work affects our relationships, our mood, and our productivity. This can lead to burnout. Burnout, like stress, can impair a person’s immune system, as well as interfere with sleep and the ability to concentrate.

Prioritization is a highly effective way to not only get your work completed but to eliminate stress. Learning how to prioritize at work and in your personal life will leave you feeling more productive and less anxious.

9. Disinfect – Disinfect – Disinfect

Your keyboard, mouse, and phone can harbor thousands of germs that are just waiting to make you sick. So, grab the disinfectant!

According to the Science Daily, researchers at the 100th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology reported, “We know that viruses can survive (remain infectious) for hours to days on a hard surface…if a virus such as the rotavirus were on the surface of a telephone receiver, infectious doses could easily be transferred to persons using the telephone.”

10. Gratitude - Attitude

The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have a stronger immune system. The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to notice new things you’re grateful for each day. Gratitude journaling works because it adjusts our focus and slowly changes the way we perceive situations.

Incorporating this into your work day is simple. Before grabbing your morning brew, try sitting down and writing out three things you are grateful for.

11. Time to Move

Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns that include:

  1. Obesity
  2. Increased blood pressure
  3. Increased blood sugar
  4. Excess body fat around the waist
  5. Abnormal cholesterol levels
  6. Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer

It’s hard to ignore the evidence of the downsides of sitting. To ensure you are moving hourly, try setting a reminder for every 30-60 minutes. Remember any activity that involves movement is beneficial to your health. Examples of movement while at work include:

  1. Taking a break from sitting every 30 minutes.
  2. Stand while talking on the phone or watching something on your computer.
  3. If working at a desk, try a standing desk – or improvise with a high table or counter.
  4. Walk with a coworker for meetings rather than sitting in a conference room.
  5. Position your work surface above a treadmill – with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand so that you can be in motion throughout the day.

12. Lunchtime Siesta

Daytime drowsiness can affect concentration, mood, productivity, accuracy, and creativity. When it comes to boosting your productivity, sleeping on the job may not be so bad after all.

The Huffpost lists out 6 convincing reasons why you should take a nap today:

  1. Boots alertness
  2. Improves learning and memory
  3. Increases creativity
  4. Boosts productivity
  5. Lifts your spirits
  6. Zaps stress

Don’t worry if your workplace doesn’t have a designated area for naptime. Try one of these ways to sneak in a quick nap at work:

  1. Park your car away from the front door and take a quick nap inside.
  2. Lay your head on your desk and snooze away.
  3. Hide behind a plant.
  4. Sleep sitting up in the bathroom stall.

Whichever option you choose, don’t forget to set a timer for 20 minutes.

The last and final tip is this: do everything in moderation. Healthy habits are about balancing work and pleasure, vegetables and cookies, sitting and standing. You don’t have to completely change it all, but if you slowly start incorporating these 12 healthy tips, you’ll get to a better, healthier you all while working the daily grind.