Though we’ve seen a ton of offices across the nation start to prioritize health (gym memberships, healthier snacks, standing desks), the office can still be one of the biggest pitfalls for unhealthy habits. Which is scary since it’s where so many of us spend the majority of our days! Whether you’re working from a home office or a corporate one, there are definitely ways to make things healthier. Here are six!
Take standing calls
If you can get a standing desk (or work from a taller one) for at least part of your day, then great, but if not, utilize meetings for your “standing hours.” Even if that means standing in a conference room or behind your desk, it gets you off your butt and lets your body not only burn calories faster, but limits the health risks that come with chronic sitting.
If you can do laps around your office or even around the block, that’s best case! This can be done with in-person meetings too, which yes, might seem weird at first, but I’m pretty sure everyone would love the opportunity to walk and chat vs. more sitting.
Find a health buddy
Back when I worked at a corporate job, I was 15 lbs overweight and hardly my healthiest self. Above that, I just really didn’t know too much about nutrition. But I noticed that one of the guys at my table did, so I basically begged him to be my health buddy at work. I started going to the gym with him before work and kinda mimicking his lunch choices (instead of constantly going for Chinese food across the street). Because he was so healthy, he enjoyed teaching me his ways so it was a win-win.
Even if you don’t want to ask someone, find someone you work with whose health you admire and follow suit. Are they getting up often? Sitting on a stability ball? Bringing lunch or getting yummy salads from a new-to-you place? It’s a lot easier to be healthy when you have someone to help keep you on track.
Force smaller portions and reasons to get up
Yes, having a huge water bottle is convenient, but if you have a smaller cup, you’ll have to get out of your seat way more often. And instead of using one of the bowls the office provides for snacks, bring your own tiny cup or bowl to fill up to keep portions smaller. When you eat out, immediately wrap up the second half and save it for lunch the next day. Find small ways to cut down the portions while finding reasons to get up more often and it’s a good equation for happier working days.
Take a brain break
Eating lunch at your desk while scrolling Instagram doesn’t count either. Truly give your mind time to disconnect from go-go-go and consuming while at the office. Instead, find a place outside to sit and breath for a few minutes (bathroom stalls work, too). No talking to anyone, no consuming, no multi-tasking – you deserve more!
You can also use a conference room and the Headspace app with headphones, but the main goal is to give your brain a break. This has been life-changing for me and my work, and I really think it does wonders.
Ditch the car (if possible)
Before you immediately think “no way, I have to drive to work, I live 20 miles away!” do me a favor and consider it for one sec. Even if you were to take public transportation (if possible), you’d probably have to walk to a bus or train stop and then your office – which is a lot better for you than the 20 steps it takes to your driveway. Or, can you bike or walk to your office but just haven’t considered it? Maybe one day a week on Fridays when you don’t have to rush to get home? Just something to consider!
Choose one favorite snack
I’m not one for depriving myself of my favorite foods, but when you work in an office that carries basically every cookie and candy imaginable, that can end up being a lot of junk food! Believe me, it happened to me (queue the extra 15 lbs I gained while working there!).
Once I got healthier (thanks to my health buddy), I started picking one favorite food a week. Maybe it was M&Ms or chips, but I’d switch it up each week so that I was excited for it. Then, on Fridays, it was my treat to myself to have a big ol’ serving of said treat – but all the other days it was off limits. By setting that simple “rule” for myself, it stopped me from grazing on whatever I wanted all day, but I still had my favorite Friday treat to look forward to.
Now, I’d love from hear from you since I’m always looking for ways to improve my health. How do you stay healthy at the office? Where do you really struggle? Let’s chat!