Corporate offices are not known for condoning a healthy lifestyle, which to me is sad considering that we spend a majority of our time at work. After all, for most of us a 9-5 usually means 8-6 or even longer. These are hours that you spend growing your career but why should your health have to suffer? The good news is that it doesn't and I have put together a few tips, tricks and products to invest in in order to stay as healthy as possible throughout the day.
There have been many headlines about how sitting is the new smoking and how staring at a computer screen all day causes eye strain and headaches. If you are reading this, chances are you can relate to this and I certainly can too. I have witnessed co-workers head to kitchen for yet another cup of coffee because they think it will assist in concentration or alleviate the headache when combined with Advil or Motrin. Or ordering group lunches from fast food chains that cause weight gain, bloating and contribute to the mid-day sluggish feeling. What many of us don't know is that these "quick fixes" only contribute to the "headache" or the "3pm slump" because our offices don't offer better options.
I'm writing this blog post because I want to show you guys that your 9-5 can still be healthy, regardless of being stuck behind a computer, in a space with florescent lighting and typically frigid temperatures. There are many things that you can do throughout the day to practice wellness:
Move & Stretch
Every 30 minutes to an hour, get up from your desk and take a walk around the office. Any movement is better than no movement, so whether it's getting up to get an extra cup of water or tea, choosing a printer thats further than usual or parking a few extra blocks away- try to be creative with ways to get a little extra calories burned throughout the day. There are also a few stretches that you can do to help get your blood flowing and release some tension.
Shoulder Squeeze: reach over to your opposite shoulder and give it a little massage. We tend to build up tension in that area due to leaning on our desks, commuting with heavy bags, and bringing our necks forward to better see the computer screens.
Tricep & Chest Stretch: take both hands and place then on top of each other on the back of your neck, then try to bring your elbows as far back as possible and hold that stretch. This improves your posture and also relieves some upper body tension.
Neck Roll: very slowly, roll your neck to the left, right and down. Try to hold these stretches and make them last.
Doorway Lean: another posture improving stretch- take both hands to the doorway and lean away from it. Or take one arm at a time to stretch out your pectoral muscles (or chest).
Eat the right foods
Foods that give you natural energy, are anti inflammatory and easily digestible are the key to feeling your best. Making multiple trips to the kitchen for more coffee and turning to constant snacking because you don't feel satisfied shouldn't be the norm. Below are some foods options that are easy to make and are office friendly.
Avocados: Pack a half avocado and a slice of sprouted toast or fiber crackers (here & here) and enjoy as a snack!
Fresh (preferably organic) fruit: Berries, pineapple, apple are a few of my favorite desk options!
Nuts & seeds: almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, etc. Easy snacks that can be bought in bulk and stored at your desk.
Flaxseeds: known to improve digestion, lower cholesterol and reduce sugar cravings to say the least- these can easily be stored at your desk and added to your morning oatmeal or as a salad topping.
Olive Oil: for a healthy heart and a sharp mind- add a few teaspoons to your salad mixed with balsamic or apple cider vinegar or some fresh lemon juice.
Turmeric: known for its anti inflammatory properties, fresh turmeric can be a little difficult to store at work. You can keep a small bottle of ground turmeric spice to add to salad dressings, oatmeal or take a daily supplement like this or this. This is very helpful for those with joint stiffness and inflammation issues.
Organic Teas: Some of my favorite "desk teas" are a peppermint option for digestion, a lavender for stress relief and a green tea for a little pick-me-up.
What To Buy
Standing Desk- Some offices offer this option but if not, there are budget-friendly options that you can invest in: here, here & here.
Fluidstance- The balancing deck that I am using in the photo above allows your body to naturally move throughout the day.
Water Bottle- Having a water bottle at your desk, especially ones like this, this or this, will remind you to hydrate!
Air Purifier: The office air can get dusty and germ-filled, especially during the winter months. Here, here & here are some cute desk options that will help to improve the air quality around you and your immune system.
Oil Diffuser: Essential oils come with many benefits and I love to use some of my stress relief or focus oils during the work day. Some diffusers that I like are here, here & here. Here is a concentration blend and here is a stress relief blend.
Fitness Tracker: I find these helpful as an accountability partner to help track the number of steps I take in a day. If at the end of the day I don't hit my goal (for most people it's 10,000 steps a day), I will make sure to either walk home or take a walk to grab some dinner when I get home from work. Here, here & here are some cute options.
Matcha Kit- We know matcha for its bright green color and trendy social following, but the loose tea powder is loaded with antioxidants and health benefits. It might be on the pricey side, but the benefits are worth it! Swap your coffee for this, this or this!
Natural Sanitizer- Typical hand sanitizers and cleaning products are loaded with harmful chemicals. Try some natural options like this, this or this to keep the germs away- especially when a co worker has a cough or cold.
All of these suggestions have personally worked for me and although most offices offer free water, coffee/ tea and some snack options, it's important to make your own decisions based on what makes you feel your best. Of course, these tips, tricks and products will get you on the right track but continuing to make good choices outside of the office (think happy hour or client dinners) or when food is catered internally or at an event all contribute to your health- so think twice and stay healthy!