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Tag Archives: healthy at work

It’s that time of year—the time when illness is rampant and, at any given time, two or three of your team members are home sick. If you’re like most people, you’re exposed to dozens of different opportunities every day to pick up germs—in the conference room, at the grocery store, at your kids’ daycare or in the bleachers of their sports games, at your hair salon, in the gym…the list goes on and on!

How can you possibly avoid germs and stay healthy without having to stop and slather on the hand sanitizer? Try these 7 quick tips:

Be aware

This is probably the most basic and important tip of all. Pay attention to your surroundings. Notice where you sit and what you touch during the day. Have other people touched that door handle before you? Have other people handled the grapefruit at the grocery store? Your awareness can lead to better health hygiene.

Keep active

Though it may seem like the gym is swarming with germs (and it probably is!), staying active is a great way to give your immune system a boost and help everything from your circulation to your mood. Just don’t forget to wipe down your machine before and after you use it.

Pack your lunch

Packing your lunch for work is a great practice in general (it saves you money and helps you make conscious, healthy choices), but it’s an especially good idea during cold and flu season. You won’t expose yourself to potential germs when dining out or eating in the company cafeteria, and you can throw in some vitamin C-rich foods, like clementines or leafy greens.

Slow down

If you’re like me, this is the hardest piece of advice on the list. However, it is vital to your health to slow down every once in a while, breathe, and clear your mind. If you don’t have the patience for meditation, try practicing yoga or nightly journaling.

Drink plenty of water

I know you’ve heard this one, but it is SO important. Most people don’t drink as much water as they should, and that can affect your entire system. As the Mayo Clinic says, “Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly.”

Avoid caffeine and soda

On the flip side of drinking more water is avoiding certain beverages. Though you may love your coffee or sugary drinks, they can cause unhealthy highs and lows that can potentially stress your system. Try switching to herbal or green tea for a while—it’s rich in catechins, antioxidants and a range of other beneficial nutrients (according to PushDoctor.com)

Recognize when you ARE getting sick

Health expert Pilar Gerasimo recommends that we look at illness symptoms as “signals for change.” If you don’t want that sore throat to become a full-blown cold, start getting more rest, cutting back on activities, pumping yourself full of vitamins, and catching up on sleep. Your preventive measures could nip illness in the bud before it fully blooms.

A final note: Your health is vital to your happiness, productivity, and mental wellbeing. If you find yourself over-worked or stressed, take a step back, take a break, and start saying NO to certain projects (click here for strategies to effectively say no). It will be worth it in the long run.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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woman reaching for a donut in the office

We’ve all read the dreaded (and irresistible) announcement:

 There are donuts in the break room. Help yourself.

Recurring temptations combined with fatigue from early mornings, computer screen stares, and constant desk sitting, make it too easy for a person to abandon any sort of healthy diet in exchange for an easy treat and a sugar rush. There are, however, a few strategies you can incorporate into your work-day routine to combat the dreaded “office diet.”

Plan your meals.

The first and most important strategy is to plan your meal for the next day. If you’re running late one morning and you don’t have time to grab a lunch, fast food and break room treats will most likely be your solution. By packing a healthy meal with plenty of high-energy snacks to graze on throughout the day, you’re giving yourself the ammunition and energy to say no to unhealthy temptations.

Take breaks.

Oftentimes snacking serves as a distraction—and the mindless eating will only get easier as your eyes blur, your neck stiffens, and your legs cramp, all from sitting at the computer for too long. Don’t reach for food when your body really craves a break.

Get up and walk away from your desk to get your blood flowing. This helps to avoid sugar and caffeine cravings brought on by lethargy. If breaks aren’t on your radar when bombarded by your hefty to-do list, try setting a timer to go off at intervals throughout the day as a reminder to step away from your desk—even if just for a moment. By introducing daily buffers to stretch and move your body, your energy levels stay up and your mind (and willpower) stay sharp.

Drink lots of water.

This isn’t news. Water makes us feel good and dehydration hurts. Unfortunately, while it’s easy to snack at the desk, it’s also easy to become dehydrated, which leads to feelings of hunger, fatigue, cravings, and headaches—all symptoms that point to water, but ultimately lead to sugary snacks.

Find office allies.

Everything’s easier with a little encouragement and company. With a communicated purpose, your team can resist temptation by changing the culture around the office—by celebrating good health, together.

 

It may be difficult, but your eating habits at work will make or break your health routine. Rearrange your priorities—take care of yourself so you can take care of your work (and feel great doing it).

 

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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Incorrect seated posture

You might want to be sitting down for this news…then again, that’s the point! You should NOT spend so much time sitting, according to several new studies that have been released over the past few years. In an article I read last month, Doctor J.A. Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, stated that, “prolonged sitting is associated with 34 chronic diseases and conditions, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, back pain, and depression.”

Wow, that’s a lot of maladies from something that seems harmless! But it all boils down to this: Humans aren’t meant to sit around all day. We aren’t designed to remain stationary for hours upon end. According to the same article I read, after just a few hours in a chair, “changes occur in your cells, slowing your metabolism, stiffening arteries, and increasing insulin resistance.”

And the worst part? Your hour-long workout at the end of the day won’t make up for all the sitting you’ve been doing prior to working out. It’s a cumulative effect and you can’t shake it off with a single bout of exercise.

This all seems like terrible news, right? Fortunately, there are some easy solutions to combat prolonged sitting. Here are a few tips I discovered when I looked into this topic:

  • Take a stroll (This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget to move around if you’re busy with work. Make an effort to get up and about every 90 minutes or so)
  • Sit on an exercise ball (This practice is good for your core and helps your muscles move and tense throughout the day, without you hardly noticing. It may take a little getting used to, though!)
  • Drink lots of water (at least 8 glasses a day. This can prevent muscle fatigue and cramping)
  • Take the stairs
  • Use an activity monitor to help you track your motion throughout the day
  • Walk down the hall to visit your co-workers instead of communicating with them via email
  • Ask for a standing desk (many companies are now purchasing standing desks for their employees. Either they will move up and down electrically, so you can sit and stand as you please, OR they are stationary tall desks that come with a tall drafting chair in case you’re inclined to sit).

It is incredibly important to look out for your personal well-being at work. Human beings are breakable machines and we can only be pushed so far. The trick is to NOT get to that breaking point in the first place. With a little effort every day, you can avoid the problems associated with prolonged sitting. Invest in yourself! You’re worth it.

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