If you are like most office workers, this is the first month of the “I’m going to be healthier next year” resolution effort or “Time to get back on track!” game plan. From our experience, January can be one of the toughest months to stay motivated. Unfortunately, reverting back to bad habits at work is many times the cause for the wheels to fall off.
We wanted to offer some basic but effective ways that you can stay motivated and stick to your goals. Rather than trying to develop and share crazy, unrealistic ideas for staying healthy in the office, we decided to poll our own office staff – as well as some of our customers’ teams – to learn about some simple, practical approaches.
Give these a try, and let us know how they work out for you. In the meantime, do you have advice for maintaining a healthy office lifestyle? If so, tell us your secrets below!
1. Pack Your Lunch – After You Eat Dinner
Portion control is key to any diet. While health and fitness experts may disagree about whether to eat six smaller meals instead of three large meals per day, everyone agrees that managing your portions is crucial.
A few people we talked to found success packing their lunch after dinner the previous night. The theory? It is like going to the grocery store when you are hungry: Expect a high bill, because everything looks delicious. If you pack your lunch after you have eaten and are satisfied, it is easier to plan out your meals and think about smaller portions.
2. Bring a Cooler to Work
This is a very simple concept: Bring a cooler packed with all the food you have planned to eat during the day, and then only eat what’s in your cooler. Period.
Someone has a smorgasbord of leftover holiday candy that they are trying to pawn off? Politely decline. It’s someone’s birthday? Be that guy or girl – wish them happy b-day and many more, and pass on the cake.
Bringing a cooler also allows you to eat healthy snacks that are meant to be chilled whenever you want while simultaneously avoiding the crowded, funky-smelling office refrigerator.
3. Be Active, and Plan to Be Active
There are little things you can do throughout the day to be more active and burn more calories. These include taking the stairs when possible to meetings or parking a little further away from your office building’s front door.
However, many people are actually planning to be more active, as more and more reports are being published about the dangers of sitting all day at work.
One way you can maintain an active office lifestyle is to block your time to include taking “walk breaks” throughout the workday. You can also try to stand while on conference calls or when talking on the phone to break up lengthy times you are sitting. Being conscious about these elements can help you plan better to be active.
4. Stretch to Beat Stress
Daily stretching has various benefits, and battling stress is one of the major ones. Stress can cause us to be in a bad mood, tightens our muscles, and challenges our immune system. And let’s face it – stress and work go hand in hand.
Taking time to stretch 3 times a day for 10 minutes can do wonders for our bodies. Since it is an exercise, stretching boosts endorphin levels, which helps us feel better in general.
So rather than throwing your keyboard or screaming at your co-workers, take a deep breath, stretch your body, and let the anger melt away.
5. Drink. Water. All. Day.
It’s no secret: Drinking water is crucial to our health. You have heard the old recommendation, “drink 8 glasses a day.” We started to wonder…why is this so difficult?
Answers we received included “it’s just boring”; “it’s annoying to keep filling up bottles”; and “there’s no taste”. Imagine that! (Adding fruit to your water can be helpful, we have found.)
Like any routine, it takes time to get in a groove. So start by trying to knock back a bottle every hour or two. Your body will thank you for it!