Staying Healthy In The Office
Eating a balanced diet, getting enough exercise and experiencing low stress levels are all things most people struggle with when working in an office five days a week.
With this in mind, we have put together a few ideas on how to combat some common issues in office workplaces, and help you lead a healthy lifestyle...
Drinking Enough Water
Keeping hydrated throughout the day is incredibly important. By getting around 8 glasses (2 litres) a day, you’ll feel much better and a lot less tired. Certain foods such as grapes, melon, apple and cucumber are a great source of water as well - why not try to incorporate these into your diet if you struggle to drink 2 litres of water in a day?
Ways to Enhance Your Water Intake
A smart and easy way to try and get enough water is to bring a 1 litre bottle of water with you to work - try and finish your first litre of water by lunchtime, then refill and try and finish another litre before you go home for the day.
Hygiene and Illness
No one wants to get sick, and missing work because of illness can be frustrating. By making sure you’re washing your hands regularly and keeping your work station clean you can help prevent you and your colleagues from spreading illness around the office.
Keeping Your Hands Clean
It is very important that you make sure your hands are kept clean, especially when you cough or sneeze and continue to touch your computer or documents, which could mean your workstation will harbor germs.
Hand Sanitiser is a very popular liquid used to keep your hands and work surfaces clean, it also helps stop illnesses such as cold and flu spread throughout the workplace. Therefore, we recommend keeping a bottle on you at all times to fight away harmful bacteria so if you are unable to get away from a meeting or your desk to wash your hands, you are always prepared.
Declutter and Clean
Why not try spending 5 minutes at the end of the day to tidy your desk and your workstation? You can wipe down your workstation with some sanitizing wipes or antibacterial spray. This helps to keep your desk clutter free, and prevents the spread of illness. Not to mention it will save you time and stress when you come back to your desk the next morning!
When a colleague is ill, try to avoid close interactions, and if you are to do so, make sure you wash your hands or use sanitizer, to help limit your own risk of catching the illness.
If you’re ill yourself, cut the risk of spreading the illness by staying at home until you’re feeling better.
How to Prevent Eye Strain
If you spend too much time looking at a computer screen you heighten your chances of getting eyestrain. This will cause you to suffer from headaches, and affect your ability to focus at work. Combat this by:
- Taking a computer break every couple of hours - get away from your desk at lunchtime or take a trip to the coffee machine to give your eyes a break.
- Ensuring you sit with your eyes at least an arm's length away from the computer screen.
- Making sure you’re able to see/read your computer screen properly without squinting, enlarge your text or zoom in so you see what you’re doing clearly.
Eating Properly & Snacking
In order to maintain a nutritious diet, why not make yourself a light lunch the night before work? This will give you more time to prepare your meals and will ensure you do not have to rush in the morning.
When preparing your meal, ensure you include some lean protein and fresh fruit and vegetables, an example meal from this would be a chicken salad. Not only will this help you maintain a balanced diet, it will also help you to not feel the need to run to the nearest fast food outlet and grabbing whatever's easiest, this can often make us feel sluggish.
Having a nutritious and filling breakfast before you go into work is also key to a balanced diet and will keep you going throughout the day. Why not try eating something with slow releasing energy such as wholemeal toast or sugar free cereals and fresh fruit?
As maintaining a healthy lifestyle at work can be a struggle, with many co workers and clients bringing in sugary treats, why not try to bring in healthy alternatives like low sugar cereal bars, fresh or dried fruits, nuts or yoghurt.
Having a healthy lunch and regular snacks can help prevent your blood sugars from dropping, which happens when you go too long between meals. This can not only make you feel tired and sluggish, but you will feel more likely to reach for more unhealthy, sugary or fast foods, which will only result in you feeling more sluggish and tired later on.
If your office doesn’t already have one, talk to your line manager about getting a fruit bowl or water cooler for the office, which they should be able to provide you with for free!
Try and limit your caffeine intake to just one cup of tea or coffee in the morning, as consuming too much caffeine in the morning can cause you to have an afternoon caffeine crash, which will just make you feel more tired. If you really can't go all day without tea or coffee, try switching to decaffeinated types instead, you won’t feel deprived of your favourite beverages and you won’t get the negative effects of caffeine, it’s the best of both worlds.
When sat at your desk all day it can be hard to make sure you’re getting enough exercise. Here’s a few ideas to help you get active:
- Walk to work if you can, if you live too far away try getting off the bus or train one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. Alternatively, if you drive, try parking a little further away from the office and walk down.
- If you need to talk to a colleague, rather than emailing them or calling them, walk over to their desk or office and talk to them face to face. Not only does this get you up and about, you can also get a response from your colleague straight away.
- Use your lunch hour to go outside and take a walk, even if it’s just to go and grab a healthy lunch. Getting out of the office and giving your body some fresh air will help you feel more energised, with the added bonus of walking helping to keep your body in shape.
Sitting at a computer for a long amount of time can have negative effects on your posture and actually start to give you a bad back. The NHS suggests a few ideas on how to keep a good posture while sitting, and reduce the risk of getting a sore back and neck.
Millions of workdays are lost each year due to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and stress. By learning to recognise the symptoms of stress we can seek help before it leads to further illness. There are a number of ways to prevent stress too, with the simplest way being to just do enjoyable things such as:
- Spending time with friends and family outside of work and doing things that make you feel happy, relaxed and take your mind off work.
- Taking a few weeks off work every year to give yourself a break, whether you go on holiday, or just spend a week with family, a break from work will help prevent you from getting too stressed.
Most of us are guilty of not trying our best to stay healthy in the workplace but, by following some of these tips we’ve provided, you can easily stay healthy and feel better whilst at work.