For those of us working in environments similar to typical office work places, the struggles of developing unhealthy habits is a daily reality. Whether we are working behind the scenes of successful businesses or freelancing from our desks at home, it’s easy to get into less than ideal rhythms at work.
This is potentially dangerous as it can equate to a plethora of negative outcomes: from physical side effects to added levels of anxiety and stress. Identifying these habits before they are concrete will benefit your mental and physical health.
It’s truly in your best interest to realize if these habits are a part of your daily life, and address them head on!
Protect Your Posture and Your Eyes
Sitting all day presents several challenges to our health. Poor posture and slouching oftentimes creep in after hours upon hours of working. An article by Healthline points out the following common side effects of sitting all day:
- Weight gain
- Tight hips and a sore back, weak legs/glutes
- Increased risk of anxiety, depression, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes risk
- Formation of varicose veins in legs
- Stiffness of shoulders and neck
The best way to combat these workplace pitfalls are fairly simple but require a level of consistent, deliberate practices.
First of all, proper sitting position and posture is critical. Remember to sit with your hips as far back in your chair as possible and make sure the armrests are set so that your shoulders are relaxed. When working from home, I oftentimes find myself gradually slouching over the course of several hours. It’s important to catch this and correct your posture accordingly.
If you are constantly having to readjust from slouching it may be a good idea to invest in a standing, or hybrid desk setup. Hybrid desks allow for quick changes in sitting and standing positions by using basic hydraulics, similar to those in office chairs.
Avoid Overeating and Snacking Too Much
It’s easy to get wrapped up in desk work and put your need to eat on the backburner. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid overeating on the job.
First and foremost, don’t let stress become a catalyst for overeating. The two are intertwined and can result in poor eating habits.
Portion deliberate amounts when snacking at strategic points in the day–avoid eating “straight from the bag.” Also try to keep food out of sight, store it somewhere where you aren’t tempted to snack every ten minutes.
It’s important to refrain from excessively overeating, especially when seated for the majority of the work day. Overeating and under-exercising can lead to unwanted health issues. For example, diabetes is on the rise in the US, affecting almost 10% of the population, and there is a known link between obesity and prediabetes.
By getting your eating habits under control you’re preventing the onset of diabetes and other diet-related conditions, and you’ll feel healthier and more focused on work while doing so.
Don’t Skip Breakfast And Always Pack a Lunch
On the opposite side of the spectrum in regards to eating habits, is the phenomenon of burying yourself in work and forgetting to eat for hours upon hours. This can certainly get the best of us, especially when rapid deadlines and busy schedules collide. Start by making sure you are always eating breakfast. Even if it’s something really basic just get something in your stomach as early as you feel comfortable eating.
In regards to lunch, prepare meals in advance so that you aren’t tempted to jet to a nearby restaurant every day. This will save you money, time, and likely equate to healthier eating habits.
Use the Microwave As Minimally As Possible
Also consider the method in which you’ll be reheating your meals, on top of preparing lunch for yourself ahead of time. Strive to eat at least one raw meal a day: whether that’s fruit and yogurt for breakfast or a creative salad for lunch or dinner!
Avoid simply buying frozen meals that will be reheated in the microwave. These types of food tend to be heavily processed and are lack-luster for your health.
Too Much Coffee, Not Enough Water
Another common workplace pitfall is getting overly caffeinated. As a coffee drinker myself, I’m always careful to balance the number of cups of coffee I drink with an equal number of glasses of water. Make the office water cooler your friend and remember – while a caffeine boost can increase productivity, becoming dehydrated over the course of the day can be detrimental to success.
Keep Your Workspace Air Clean
For the sake of your physical and mental health, invite plants into your workspace. There are many benefits to surrounding yourself with houseplants as you work.
You’ll likely notice accelerated levels of productivity when you have a green, inviting desk to work form. Your head will thank you too, as you’ll likely experience less headaches and stress due to bad air quality. Since plants filter our air they can actually help us focus. Plus they are just interesting to look!
We all want to give it our best at work every day, but oftentimes variables get in the way of our success. Remember these tips and work smarter, not harder! These gateways to healthier work habits are evergreen.Your body and mind will thank you for taking these bits of advice and applying them to your day to day work!