Let’s face it, a huge portion of our lives revolves around work. As we become more technologically advanced, our office lives are becoming more and more sedentary based.
While it’s tempting to blame our office life and busy schedules for our lack of focus on health, that isn’t a valid excuse.
Our work isn’t going anywhere so we have to find a way to seamlessly integrate health and wellness into our professional lives.
The number one area to make a change, which will have the biggest impact on your health, is at your office. After all, you spend a lot of time there.
Revamping your office environment and culture doesn’t require drastic action. Aim for the highest yielding habits which could lead to creating the biggest shift in the office. Start with these three tips to make you and your office environment healthier.
1. Swap out the candy bowl for a fruit and nuts bowl
All the CrossFit workouts in the world mean very little if your nutrition isn’t being properly addressed. Nutrition is essential to looking and feeling your best as well as fueling your daily energy levels.
Eating from the vending machines or snacking on “pretend healthy”energy bars full of sugar isn’t going to give you the quality nutrients you need in order to be the best entrepreneur you can be.
These types of foods may provide a short-term boost in energy, but afterward, a huge dip in energy will follow along with poor decision making.
You’re going to eventually reach for the office snack bowl due to convenience and routine habit. Instead of relying on willpower (a limited resource), it’s easier to just replace the bowl with healthier alternatives such as fruit and packets of healthy nuts (almonds, walnuts, and pecans) for snacks.
Besides being good for optimizing our hormones, healthy fats provide energy that sustains us throughout the day as opposed to the quick burst and sudden drops of energy from the junk food. Eating fruit gives us energy and fuels our brain with quality nutrients that allow us to be more productivity and make better decisions.
2. Stand for 5-10 minutes, every 25-30 minutes
It’s easy to get in the flow of our projects and let hours pass by before taking a break. When you’re in front of your laptop or just sitting for hours, it’s vital to stand up, stretch, or just move your body for a bit.
Besides helping your tendons and joints, taking a standing break helps with the quality of your work. The majority of us can only sustain focused work for so long before we experience the law of diminishing returns.
We may keep working, but it’s not focused work anymore, we’re surfing Facebook, checking email, and answering text messages. Only around 2 percent of us can effectively multitask successfully, therefore it’s not only in our best interest in health to take routine breaks, but our productivity will benefit as well.
A great strategy to break up your day while adding structure to your workflow is to aim to stand up every 25-30 minutes and commit to only 5 minutes if you need to. This can be implemented by using the Pomodoro technique where you eliminate all distractions and tabs but the one you commit to working on during that time frame. After the timer goes off, use the 5 – 10 minutes to take a small walk, stand, stretch, or just decompress.
When standing, you can also use a lacrosse ball on the ball of your feet to help your tendons and joints (extremely valuable for women who wear heels on a daily basis). And lastly, you can use a resistance band to stretch your muscles and compensate for your posture while typing for hours each day.
3. Stay hydrated, there’s an app for that too
It’s around 2:30 and it’s been a long day. Clients, business calls, and many other tasks that come along with being self-employed can leave you feeling stressed and drained. You feel hungry and think you need to eat a snack (often on something not ideal for your health).
Often times, these afternoon food cravings that you’re experiencing isn’t actual hunger, but instead is a sign that you’re dehydrated.
Dehydration can often disguise itself with hunger cravings and therefore leads you to be tempted to reach for the junk food snacks. Maintaining proper hydration has many benefits such as improved weight loss, mood, and brain function. All of which lead to a better and more productive version of yourself throughout the day.
A helpful tip to remind yourself to drink water is to download the Water Drink Reminder app. Enter your current weight, and a water tracker app will help you determine how much water your body needs every day and notify you when to drink up. If you don’t have a good source of filtered water in the office, consider providing a office water machine to help keep everyone hydrated.
As entrepreneurs, small business owners, and high-achieving professionals, our health equals our personal wealth. Living in today’s technological world has added a few degrees of difficulty to our professional lives.
It’s easy to let out work environments take control of our health. But we must remember that our health is the head of an octopus and without the head operating at its top efficiency, those tentacles (i.e. all other facets of life) aren’t going to operate up to the best of their capabilities.
This article has been edited.
Julian Hayes II is the founder of The Art of Fitness & Life. He is an author, health and wellness consultant, and speaker operating at the nexus of creativity, health, and business. His mission is to help lifestyle entrepreneurs, small business owners, and busy individuals integrate health and wellness into a life they love while increasing their energy, productivity, and performance at work. Connect with @thejulianhayes on Twitter.