Believe it or not there once was a time when I sat behind a desk a few days out of the week. I was on conference calls, design meetings, contacting numerous vendors, making hundreds of phone calls and working that daily keyboard ninja grind. AND to top it all off, I worked for a full service catering company. So trust me when I say, the unhealthy lifestyle was apparent. Between sitting all day, tastings that involved the most delicious foods and desserts, and having to attend many different kinds of events, somewhere in there I gained 15 pounds! It wasn’t until I decided to leave that job was I introduced to a healthy way of life. Now, I often hear from members about how hard it is to maintain a healthy life at work because of skipping lunches, pumping your veins full of sugar/caffeine to stay awake, or super stressful meetings. Creating a work space and workday that incorporates healthy habits, mindfulness and self-care and is simple and realistic for the typical office environment is very important so here are a few of my favorite strategies for being healthy at work.
Your Healthy Space
Make your work space personalized! Something that you are excited to go to as your second destination every day. I mean think about it…most of us spend more time at work during the week than we do our own home! Try to make the space as relaxing and comfortable and you as possible. Hang artwork that you love to look at. Fill your desk with personal pictures and items that mean something to you. Remember to bring headphones and listen to calming music or something that makes you feel the most relaxed in between meetings.
Standing desks are all the rage right now and I highly recommend them for any profession. We simply spend too much time sitting at work. A standing desk will aid in better posture and decrease back pain, you’ll be more likely to move and less likely to fall in to that post lunch slump.
I also encourage you to fill your work space with plants. Air plants or succulents are great for the office because they are incredibly easy to care for and bring a sense of serenity to the room.
I was super stressed out at work one time and a co-worker gave me a few drops of peppermint. If you suffer from migraines and a drop or two of peppermint rubbed into the temples is so soothing. Citrus oils are also great. Citrus is energizing so instead of reaching for an afternoon caffeine jolt, I take a few breaths of orange, grapefruit, or tangerine oil.
Movement at Work
You need to move more. Period. Without prompting, most of you could probably go the entire day without really getting up or leaving the office. Am I right? Set an hourly calendar reminder to get up, stretch, use the restroom, drink some water and take a walk. Other options could be to close your office door and spend a few minutes doing yoga at your desk to loosen up tight muscles, reduce your stress and naturally energize you. Something as simple as a a few various stretches will help move the blood in your body and get you feeling more energized.
Another one of my favorite tips for forcing yourself to move more at work is to drink more water. The more water you drink throughout the day, the more you’ll have to get up and walk down the hall to the restroom. 😉
Eating at Work
If your office is anything like mine was, it probably seems like it’s someone’s birthday or last day just about every day. Or the chef’s are planning a new “geniusly” delicious menu. Which means cake, cookies and pastries, fried this or fried that. Or lunch meetings full of pizza and sandwiches and chips. I recommend that my clients crowd out all of those items by being prepared. Keep a snack drawer filled with raw nuts and seeds, nut butters, clean protein bars (Pure Protein or Quest Bars, I highly recommend), and dark chocolate. I bring a few apples, celery, or carrots at the beginning of the week so I always have something easy to reach for.
And as much as possible, bring your own lunch. But not just a simple (aka boring) salad. Bring dinner leftovers, an amazing salad filled with veggies, protein and healthy fat or lettuce wraps and a thermos of soup. Even easy minute cups of rice, deli meat, and raw veggies are a great balanced meal! You want to actually look forward to your lunch so you’ll be less likely to eat the catered food at your meeting. Because, let’s be honest, that food is usually great tasting, but not so good for the waistline.