I have been pretty active my whole life. I was an athlete in college and worked two jobs through school. After classes, I would head to my job at a tanning salon where I constantly was running around cleaning and making people dark! I was on my feet a lot. So much so that I didn’t really have to think about health and fitness outside of school and work. Today is a different story. In the two years I’ve been working at my current job, I’ve learned how very different it is working at a desk job. While I enjoy the stability, flexibility and weekends off etc. there are certainly downsides. Those downsides include the health detriments that come from sitting in one place 8-9 hours per day. But hey, that’s part of adulting, right?
Sitting for more than six hours every day can cause significant health risks. Whether you love your job or are searching for a new one, there will be those inevitable days when you arrive at the office and feel a little blue. To help remedy this, today I’m sharing some tips to stay happy & healthy at a desk job.
Take Regular Breaks
When you’re really in the groove of a task or project, the ideas are flowing and you feel great. But it doesn’t last forever. Stretch yourself just a bit beyond that productivity zone and you might feel unfocused, zoned out or even irritable. Every hour, get up from your desk and move your legs. Take a walk around the office, do a couple lunges or get a drink of water. The important thing is just to get a little movement.
Stretch at Your Desk
While it’s important to get away from your desk once in a while, there are things you can do while you’re still sitting at your desk! Sitting at your desk and typing for the majority of the day can cause all sorts of aches and pains. Stretch out those hands, arms and shoulders, rotate your neck and stretch out your legs. Doing a couple jumping jacks (depending on your attire) can help get of those kinks out and boost your mood.
Take the Stairs
This one seems so obvious, but I’m willing to bet most of us skip it! I remember living on the 3rd floor at my first apartment and always felt like I was dying. It was my afternoon workout. Obviously if you work on the 19th floor that is not ideal but maybe take three flights and then take the elevator the rest of the way. I know this is something I definitely need to improve on.
Change Your Work Environment
It is becoming more common for HR departments to provide special work equipment for employees who need or want it. Two examples are standing desks and exercise balls in place of chairs. Creating a work environment that places emphasis on wellness is the key to a healthy environment. Get a group together to do yoga or meditation which is an incredible stress reliever. Start a “Wellness Wednesday” program that focuses on health around the office. These small additions make a significant impact on happiness and productivity and really help to encourage a light-hearted attitude among employees.
Avoid Gossip & Drama
There are always one or two people at every office that are known for being the source of drama. They are always on the alert for any gossip they can get and can’t wait to pass it on. However, their detective work is anything but reliable. It might seem harmless to engage in office chatter but your workplace relationships have a major impact on your health. By not engaging yourself in the environment, you will avoid the negativity and can keep your own personal morale in good standards. If you do this often enough, people will stop including you in their rumor mill.
Use Your Sick Days
If you have a fever or might be contagious, you owe it to yourself and your co-workers to stay home in bed. You won’t get better without rest and you risk spreading your germs to the rest of the staff if you try to power through. Your company provides sick days for this reason. Every now and then you just need a day to yourself. Think of it this way; Being sick is just your bodies way of saying you are awesome and everyone else needs to catch up!
Rejuvenate With a Walk
Pop in your earbuds and go for a walk with a colleague or during that mid-day conference call. Walking while on a call can improve your confidence so it is a great way to stay motivated. This will get your energy level back up to help finish out the day strong. It also burns some of those calories from lunch. Try to set a timer every hour to get up out of your seat and walk around the office or grab a snack. Get up and move!
I know that sometimes an entire afternoon will go by and I’ll realize I haven’t filled my water bottle a single time! It’s so important to remember to hydrate. Sitting at a desk all day can make it difficult to forget. Once you get in the habit though, it’s so much easier! The more water I drink, the more I have to get up to use the bathroom which in turn can be a chance to refill my water bottle. Staying hydrated will boost your metabolism and keep your energy levels high throughout the day.
Pack a Healthy Lunch
When I was in college and on my feet all day between walking to classes and practice, I could easily get away with eating pizza, burgers, and huge subs for lunch every day without gaining weight. Now, not so much. I have to be far more conscious of what I’m eating during the day. I know if I go out to lunch I won’t eat as healthy, so I bring my lunch everyday (except for special occasions). Packing your lunch the night before makes your mornings easier and your wallet happier.
Take Advantage of Time at Home
I know the last thing I want to do when I get home from a long day at work is hop on the elliptical or go for a run. I really just want to lay on the couch and watch The Bachelor! But after sitting at a desk all day, my body needs movement. If you’re sitting all day at work, take advantage of your time at home to make up for all that sitting. At home workouts are a good alternative to going to the gym. Check out Pinterest for the latest and greatest at home workouts.
What are some things you do at work to stay happy and healthy?