By: Emily Lockhart
Start the Workday with a Healthy Breakfast
The number one reason why your candle burns out before noon, not to mention the prime reason for that daily 3 pm snack attack, is that you don’t eat a nutritious breakfast, or gasp, you don’t eat breakfast at all! Focus on morning meals that are high in complex carbohydrates (like oats), low-fat proteins (like Greek yogurt or low almond milk), healthy fats (like nuts and eggs), and fresh fruits and veggies. If you don’t eat breakfast, start with a light bowl of yogurt and fruit, and be sure to steer clear of white starches (i.e., white bread and bagels) and sugar-filled pastries.
Sitting up straight like your mother told you to is good for your health—thanks, mom! Physically, maintaining good posture in your desk chair protects your back from repetitive injury and supports the muscles in your core. However, there are mental benefits too, according to research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, impressive posture boosts self-confidence reinforces confidence. So, show yourself some self-love by pulling those shoulders back and lifting that chest and chin forward!
Take a Little Stroll
Even if I only have a 20-minute lunch break, I use that time to leave the office and take a brisk walk around the block. If you sit most of the day, it’s important to stand and frequently stretch during the day to prevent repetitive stress injuries. So make an excuse to go the bathroom on another floor, get coffee at the farthest work kitchen, and volunteer to run for office supplies when a coworker needs more paper clips.
Make Face Time
I know it’s much easier and faster to email your boss back—even though his or her desk is less than 50 feet from yours. However, making face time, or addressing a question or conversation in person, will support human collaboration and teamwork, keep your brain active, and break up the time you spend sitting in a chair all day long.
De-Clutter to De-Stress
If your desk has a stress-filled cloud looming over it, take a look at your messy desk. If you work in a cluttered environment, chances are it’s stressing you out, according to a study published in Psychology Today. Findings support the fact that clutter sends signals to our brains that we have unfinished work by overloading us with visual and tactile stimuli and distracting us from the project at hand. So take a quick 10-minutes before the end of the day and straighten your workspace, so you don’t return to work anxious and overwhelmed.
Squirrel Away Healthy Snacks
Take inspiration from the squirrel. Our furry friend always ensures that he has healthy snacks at hand, so he doesn’t get hungry during winter. Stash a healthy array of fruit, raw almonds, trail mix, natural granola bars, and herbal teas in your desk drawer to prevent a vending machine dash for Cheetos or chips at 3 pm.
Drink Plenty of Water
One common source of mistaken hunger is dehydration. We often feel like a snack, when in fact we’re actually in need of h20. So fill a large water bottle and keep it desk side all day. When it’s empty, either refill or make a trip to the coffee station for a hydrating herbal tea. If you don’t like the taste of plain old water, try slicing lemon, lime, orange, or cucumber for a lively infused water.
S-T-R-E-T-C-H and Breath
“Take a breather,” you understand the importance of this term, and should take it literally when the stress sets in. Daily mini breathers can be practiced as needed throughout the day to reduce stress and muscle pains, improve concentration, lower blood pressure, and calm your mind and body. In fact, Laura Maciuika, clinical psychologist and author of Conscious Calm: Keys to Freedom from Stress and Worry, suggests taking a brief mini meditation with gentle stretching on your lunch hour, whenever you feel anxious throughout the day, and at the end of the workday to create a clear boundary between work and the rest of your evening.