Spring-clean your desk habits to improve your health and well-being.
For most of us, working is a necessary fact of life. And while you can’t do much about a toxic boss or a job that you don’t love, you can control some aspects of your work environment. These tweaks can help you be your healthiest self at work.
Stand up when you can.
Workers who used a standing desk burned more calories compared to those using sitting desks, says a study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. And using a standing desk may help improve your posture. But remember: to use a standing desk correctly you shouldn’t be standing all day long, so alternate sitting and standing. If a standing desk isn’t an option, try getting up during phone calls, meetings and presentations.
Lunching “al desko” could set you up for a more stressful day at work. People who took a 30-minute walk during their lunch break felt less tense or nervous and more enthusiastic compared to days where they spent their lunch chair-bound, found research from the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. If your boss expects you to work through lunch, mention that a break can improve your performance by preventing burnout.
Clean your snack shelf.
The food at your desk affects your eating choices. For example, studies suggest that people may eat more candy when it’s placed in a close location, such as on their desk, than when it it’s several feet away. “If healthy foods are available at your desk, it’s easier to make good choices when you’re looking for a snack,” explains Sean Cash, Ph.D., food economist and professor at Tufts University. Opt for fruit, nuts or dried chickpeas.
Set a walking meeting.
A lot of recent research has focused on the adverse effects of sitting down all day. If your employer isn’t in favor of employees using standing desks, try suggesting walking meetings, rather than those held in a conference room or across a desk. This works best with just a few people, but you may find that the meeting is more productive and elicits more interesting solutions when it’s a moving meeting than when it’s a sitting one.
Bring lunch from home, rather than eating out.
Chances are, lunch bought from a snack cart, sandwich shop or food court is going to be higher in fat and calories than a lunch brought from home. Make it easy to avoid the morning rush by packing leftovers up into storage containers the night before. If you’re already making a salad for dinner, make an extra portion and tuck it into a container before you dress the rest of the salad. In the morning, all you have to grab is the container and the dressing of your choice.
Set a timer for a stretch break.
It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re buried in a project. But if you set a timer that reminds you to get up and take a quick walk or stretch break, you’ll be more likely to break up all of those hours spent hunched over a keyboard.