Some people are so busy at work that they let their normally-healthy habits “fly out the window,” says personal training and nutritional consultant Abbie Bennett. But stressful times are when you really focus on staying healthy, Bennett contends. “If you spend just a few minutes each day planning on how to take care of yourself, you’re going to feel better and be more productive.”
Here are some tips for staying healthy at work:
Walk whenever you can. Take the bus to work? Get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way, Bennett suggests. When at work, opt for steps over the elevator, and try to walk to people’s desks rather than send them emails. “The idea is to keep moving as much as you can,” Bennett says. Track your progress using a pedometer or fitness band, and set a goal for yourself.
Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water keeps you hydrated and can also help you avoid adding calories throughout the workday. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking about eight full glasses of water a day. To reach that goal, try substituting water for carbonated or caffeinated beverages you’re already drinking.
Bring your own lunch. Most work cafeterias and restaurants lack the healthy options you can prepare at home. Pack yourself a simple lunch, like a turkey sandwich or other protein on whole-grain bread, and consider snacks like cottage cheese, fruit and Greek yogurt. Also, avoid the work vending machine and bring in carrot sticks, granola bars and other snacks.
Allow yourself some quiet time. Find a quiet space within your workplace (or outside) to do some quick meditation, Bennett recommends. “Just giving yourself a moment of silence will do wonders to re-energize your spirit,” she says. Even better: Take a yoga or meditation class at lunchtime near the office.
Protect yourself. A typical office is a breeding ground for germs. Protect yourself by keeping frequently-touched common surfaces clean, says the Center for Disease Control. These include telephones, computer keyboards and doorknobs. And if possible, don’t use other workers’ phones, desks, offices or other work equipment. If you must do so, clean the area first with an antibacterial spray or cloth.