Sitting at a desk for a long time can make it difficult to find the motivation and energy to work efficiently, never mind consciously work towards being healthy at the same time. However, there are some small things and very subtle changes you can make today in your routine that can really help boost your energy, increase your health and in turn have brilliant benefits to your output at work.
1. Stay Hydrated
Water is vital to support our bodies' natural functions, including getting rid of waste products from the body, regulating body temperature and helping brain function. Being dehydrated can cause drowsiness, headaches and nausea, and often your body mistakes thirst as hunger, so it is common for people to reach for a snack rather than a glass of water. One easy way of increasing your water intake during the day is to invest in a good reusable water bottle or canteen to keep on your desk or workstation and take regular trips to the water cooler during the day to top up with fresh, cool water. If you struggle drinking plain water, try adding some fresh natural ingredients such as lemons, berries or even mint to your bottle for that added extra flavour.
2. Plan your Meals and Snacks
If we want to perform at our best both mentally and physically we need to feed our bodies with the correct, well balanced nutrition. Within the workplace, even with all the best intentions of eating well, it is very easy to get tempted to rush out at lunch and grab something fast to eat, or nip to the vending machine for a quick snack, and that’s not to mention the endless birthday cakes being passed around, and freshly baked pastries and biscuits in morning meetings! The best way to keep on top of this is to plan your meals around your schedule each week, get yourself prepared and bring some homemade meals with you to work. Not only will you save some well earned pennies, you will be able to manage the ingredients and portion sizes and keep yourself ahead of the game. Try some healthy home prepared snack options too, so in those moments of hunger you have some better alternatives. Importantly, don’t skip breakfast, instead start your day as you mean to go on and give yourself the fuel you need to power through your morning emails.
3. Step Away From The Keyboard
Most of us have a heavy workload, where we will always have one more thing to do before we take a break, but many consecutive hours of staring at a computer screen can actually be counterproductive. Taking a break and stepping away from the desk even for a few minutes every hour to stretch your legs can really help keep you feeling refreshed and ready to work productively. At the end of the day you will feel less lethargic and achy by breaking up your hours of static sitting. If there is a risk of you forgetting to take a break, try setting an alarm on your phone every hour just as a gentle reminder to press pause for two minutes.
4. Take a Break
Likewise don't cancel your lunch break to work through and pick at your food as you continue to work. You may feel as if you are using your time effectively, but it isn't always a positive to multitask in this manner, and could prove detrimental in the long term. Take a break, even if it is for 30 minutes to get moving! If your surroundings allow, get out of the office and away from the work environment, try timing yourself by making time for your favourite podcast on a stroll around the block or arrange a phone call catch up with a friend as you take a walk through a nearby park. 30 minutes later when you get back to your desk you will feel more alert and less stressed. In general it is really beneficial to those that spend a lot of time in a seated position throughout the day to try and incorporate some further exercise into their day, this will boost circulation, and muscular function as well as increase energy levels. Try changing how you commute to work, for example, cycle to work instead of driving, or if you travel on a bus, get off a stop or two early to help increase your ‘on your feet’ time throughout the day. Better yet, try and squeeze in a workout into your day a few times a week, join a gym or yoga studio nearby that you can use conveniently and start to enjoy the physical and mental wellness benefits. Exercise can help you not only reduce stress and improve mental health but also improve sleep quality.
5. Sit Up Straight
Just like we always were told at school, it is important to sit up straight and check your postural alignment. Make an effort to align your chair or workstation in the correct manner that works for you and make sure your monitor is at the right eye level to prevent you getting a bad neck. To stop tension building up during the day, try and incorporate some gentle stretches. It doesn't have to be anything over the top, just some small joint rotations of the ankles, hips, shoulders and neck and some gentle stretching of the calves, arms and neck. You can use a 2-minute stretch to focus also on breathing and effectively meditate into a more focused mindset, which is the type of multitasking that can really help your working day!