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Examples of Staying Healthy in the Workplace

Reviewed by Melanie Blake, MD, MBALifestyle Medicine at Galen

Whether you are working from home or going into the office or field, it’s really important to be aware of little things you can do to help boost wellness and stay healthy. Today’s typical work environment for many involves long periods of sitting, quick take-out lunches and working through breaks altogether, and long hours staring at computer screens. These things can take a toll on physical and mental wellbeing, so it’s critical to be aware of steps you can take to mitigate the adverse effects they can have. Consider the following suggestions.

1– Flex Your Time

One way you can reduce stress and achieve a better work-life balance is by working flexible hours. If your employer will allow you to flex your time, you can take more breaks during the day, maybe leave early for a yoga class, or stagger your in and out times to avoid stressful traffic for a calmer commute. 

2– Invest in a Standing Desk
Extended periods of sitting are not great for the body. One thing you can do if you have a desk job is to invest in a standing desk. Standing more during the day can help to lower your risk of weight gain and obesity, may lower blood sugar levels, can alleviate back pain caused by excessive sitting, and can even boost energy levels and productivity.

3– Plan Meals and Snacks
When you’re in the throes of a busy work week, it can be hard to practice healthy eating. Sometimes it’s easier to order a pizza or grab chips from a vending machine, but a little planning ahead can help you eat healthier during the work day. Stock up on healthy snacks like protein bars, fruits, and veggies, and try to incorporate meal planning and prep into your routine so your quick lunches are already prepared and ready to go for the week. Your body will thank you.

4– Stay Hydrated
The importance of drinking enough water throughout the day simply cannot be stressed enough. Water helps your body regulate temperature, delivers oxygen throughout the body, boosts skin health, provides cushion for the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues, helps maintain blood pressure, and regulates the digestive system. Make a point to always have water handy  at your workstation as a reminder to stay hydrated! Get a fun water bottle or tumbler to help encourage your effort throughout the day. 

5– Protect Your Eyes
If you have a desk job and rely on screens to function in the workplace, you are putting a lot of strain on your eyes day in and day out. That said, there are ways to minimize the adverse effects of so much screen time. Take frequent breaks. Step away to brainstorm with pen and paper. Go for short walks during the work day. Another way to protect your eyes is by wearing blue-light-blocking glasses when you’re working at your computer.

6– Practice Mindfulness
Another way to boost wellness during the workday is to practice mindfulness and breathing. You can actually train your brain to focus more efficiently by incorporating mindfulness exercises into your day. It’s important and healthy to slow down from time to time, fully focus on your breathing, and let go of stress. Try to start the work day with just five or ten minutes of attending to your breath.

Regardless of how or where you earn your living, taking better care of yourself can only improve your work performance, as well as your overall wellness. Our team at Galen wants to help bolster your wellness efforts in every way. We suggest you start first with baby steps. Set small, achievable work wellness goals, and take them on one day at a time. Try making one healthier choice each day. You might be surprised at what a difference the smallest adjustments can make.    

Lifestyle Medicine at Galen can provide you with great resources to help you make the lifestyle choices you need. As a lifestyle and internal medicine physician, Dr. Melanie Blake works with patients to define what is healthy and motivate them to take the appropriate steps to accomplish their health goals. Call and set up an appointment today so we can help you make positive lifestyle changes!