The pursuit of health and happiness is difficult enough at the best of times but when you factor in a demanding office job, it can seem almost impossible. Long hours, constant sitting, unhealthy snacks and general stress can all take their toll on your wellbeing. Fortunately, there are ways to adapt your working day, to ensure a happier and healthier outlook.
We are continually discovering the dangers of sitting for long periods of time. Research has found that continuous sitting or lying down can lead to chronic health problems such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, as well as poor mental health. In an office environment, it can be easy to forget to move but this is crucial to avoiding these consequences.
Take regular breaks to walk around the office, for example whilst waiting for a document to print or a program to load. You could try to incorporate more exercise into the day, for example walking your commute instead of driving or even just taking the stairs, instead of the lift. Some office workers have gone even further and installed a standing desk, removing sitting altogether. When it comes to exercise, every little helps.
Energy can dip thorough the working day, leading to cravings for sugary snacks and high calorie drinks. This is understandable and everyone deserves a treat, however when it becomes a regular routine, it can become problematic. With a few small and easy changes, you can incorporate, healthier foods into your day. Many people skip breakfast, but this can lead to a crash in blood sugar, general fatigue and low mood. Try to start each day with a healthy, high energy breakfast such as porridge, wholemeal toast or eggs. High protein and whole grains will keep you feeling fuller for longer, allowing you to be at your best for longer. You could also make a healthy lunch at home and take this to work, removing the temptation to order something unhealthy.
Another common problem that affects many of us is dehydration. Coffee may provide much needed energy but it also has a diuretic effect. Having water nearby, for example in a reusable cup, can remind you to drink regularly. If water isn’t your thing, you can incorporate herbal or fruit teas, which can be just as beneficial. It goes without saying that hydration has a substantial effect on the body and mind, including focus, energy, mood and metabolism, just to name a few. The working day can be difficult enough, don’t make it harder by suffering through the effects of dehydration.
Socialising with colleagues isn’t just a good way to build working relationships, it’s also fantastic for both physical and mental health. Research has shown that those who socialise often have stronger immune systems and even live longer.
Even if you ignore the health benefits, socialising at the office just makes the working day that much easier. Chatting with your colleagues helps to take the pressure off and breaks the routine.
Take advantage of any office-based events as a way to improve these relationships. Even just asking for help when you need it, is a good way to build a rapport with your fellow workmates.
Bring a piece of home to the office by personalising your desk or workspace. Whether it’s pictures, inspirational quotes or just a little ornament, anything that makes you feel more comfortable will help to reduce stress and improve wellbeing.
Your workspace can also be used as a base for your healthy habits. For example, ensure that you always have healthy snacks, water and maybe even a small desk fan to keep cool. Some workers swear by devices such as stress balls, which help to distract the mind. However you choose to personalise your desk, as long as it feels welcoming and comfortable, the working day will feel that much more manageable.
Health, wellbeing and happiness are big concepts but with a few small changes, you can make the office a much healthier and happier place.