Job roles are now more demanding as you're always expected to perform at peak levels. When you fall short of your expectations at work, stress often follows. But if you feel your best most times, you can rest assured it'll reflect on your productivity.
It's popular knowledge that default office routines aren't so good for health. Sitting hunched in front of a computer for hours on end is likened to smoking.
You can avoid this by using a standing desk so you can alternate sitting and standing. However, that isn’t enough to keep you in the physical and mental shape to make you do your best work.
If you’re looking for routines that’ll keep your physical and mental health in shape during gruesome office hours, keep reading.
Easy Hacks to Help You Stay Healthy While at Work
1. Get off your seat at intervals
It’s commonplace to have so much to do that you’re stuck on your seat for hours trying to meet deadlines. While that might show you off as a dedicated employee, you’re sacrificing your health.
Studies have shown that sitting too much opens you up to the risk of serious health complications such as obesity, depression, cancer, heart diseases, etc.
To make things easy, you can automate this hack. Set the calendar on your computer to alert you every 1 hour. You can choose to label it “Get up and move!” It’s one thing to set the reminder, it’s another to stick to it. Remember it’s for your own good; only healthy people can be productive.
Once the alert comes up, get up, do a little stretch and take a walk around the office. Research has shown that short breaks can help you put in more effort in the activity you’re doing and remain focused.
2. Reward yourself for completing a milestone
This is one of the mental hacks of the process. Breaking down your work goal into smaller chunks is a good way to get things done efficiently. This approach will also prevent you from being overwhelmed, thus avoiding stress.
If you’re the type that copes with stressful situations with eating, this will work great for you. For every milestone you complete, reward yourself with a snack! No, not sugar; a healthy, yet tasty one. You’ll still get the shot of dopamine you were craving without hurting yourself.
This approach will give you a mental boost and motivate you to do more. It’s a form of reinforcement learning which is proven to improve performance.
3. Stay hydrated
As important as it is to drink plenty of water, a lot of people still aren’t downing enough of it. Studies have shown that dehydration can impair your concentration and mood and cause frequent headaches. Hopefully, this will motivate you to drink more water.
To help you with this, here’s a little approach you can adopt to ensure you stay hydrated.
- Get a water bottle; preferably 1 liter.
- Draw a line down the middle and calibrate each side into 4 equal parts.
- Label the demarcation on the left side 7 am, 9 am, 11 am, and noon. By noon, you should have finished the water.
- Label the right side starting at 1 pm, then 3 pm, 5 pm, and finish the bottle by 6 pm.
With this method, you’d have taken 2 liters of water spread across your workday. If you’re wondering how this benefits you, keep reading.
A study on young men shows that staying hydrated has a major influence on your energy levels and brain function. Remember that saying about doing your best when you feel the best?
4. Take a nap
Snoozing at your desk is not a good idea, even during breaks. However, if you consider the benefits, it’s something you should do. But not at your desk.
You need to get creative with this one. Fix your naps during your lunch breaks. If you’re lucky to be working at a company that takes employee’s well being serious, there might be a dedicated space to sit on the snooze button. If not, all hope isn’t lost yet. You can crash in your car. Hopefully, the AC still works.
Sleep Foundation says that naps can increase performance by 34% and alertness by 100% for a few hours afterward. A 2010 study declared that naps of 30 minutes and above can improve cognitive performance for up to many hours afterward.
So, don’t be scared to take a Z during your lunch break. Its benefits will reflect on your KPIs.
5. Stay positive
This might be a bit tough with everything going on around the world. However, you have to do this for your own good.
One way to achieve this is to practice gratitude. At the risk of sounding ‘New-agey’, there are always things to be grateful for. You just have to pay extra attention.
When you get to your desk in the morning, grab a pad and write 3 things you are grateful for and stick it where you can see it all day. You can reinforce this habit with your regular cup of delicious coffee. It’s the same trick as the milestone reward. This will help you do it on a daily basis.
So, start every day with gratitude and bask in the positivity that follows.
6. Take walks
Walking should be an important part of your day. It’s one of those activities that’ll keep you active and thus, healthy. So, take every chance you get to clock in some steps.
During those sitting breaks, take a walk. You can go over to a colleague’s office to discuss something with them instead of sending a mail or Slack message.
Another way to ensure you get some walk is to take your phone calls on the move. Studies have shown that walking can get your creative juices running. So, when next you’re stuck on an idea, take a walk!
One more! Endeavor to park your car in the space farthest to the entrance. This forces you to walk the distance at least twice a day.
Were you secretly hoping this won’t be on the list? Don’t worry, the exercises you need won't take too much. Stretching is a great one.
Start with stretching your wrists and moving them in a circular motion. This will release tension and improve its flexibility. You should also stretch your neck too. Bending it to the side as far as you can is a good one.
You can try sit-ups too by standing and sitting back on your chair. Doing 20 reps in 60 seconds will get blood flowing freely into your muscles. Yoga is also an ideal form of exercise you can do on your chair.
Using ergonomic office furniture will only keep you comfortable but does not replace the benefit of exercising.
Your well being is directly tied to how productive you can be at work. Inculcating these hacks into your daily routine will ensure that you stay physically and mentally healthy to serve your purpose at your workplace without risking burnout or stress.
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