Back before I found my dream job as a professional organizer, I worked a desk job. The hardest part wasn’t the job itself, it was managing my health in that work environment. I would get eye strain from staring at the computer and so antsy from sitting all day that I almost started pulling out my hair! It wasn’t long before I started bribing myself with daily coffees and baked goods just to get through the day. While a cookie at lunch sure made me feel better for 5 minutes, it wasn’t solving any of my problems.
Even if you’re doing work that you love, working at a desk can be taxing on both your mental and physical health. There may be a lot of restrictions in our work environment but with our recommendations and some organized planning you’ll be able to put to practice a few of these ways to promote your health while working a desk job.
Work Outside the Box
If you work in an office, chances are your workspace is defined by a cubicle or desk space. While falling into the trap of staying glued to this area out of convenience can certainly be tempting, our bodies were meant to move! So how do you balance the necessities of work with the desire to be active? Try to escape the box. Look at your schedule and decide which activities you need to complete. Can you make any of them more physical?
Eat lunch at your desk? Find a new spot to venture to inside or outside the building. Need to email a co-worker to discuss a project? Visit their desk instead! Or schedule a meeting with them in a different space. Even something as simple as printing out a document can be an opportunity to get up and stretch your legs while you are at work. It may sound daunting, but try taking the stairs instead of the elevator to get to your office. If you hate awkward sleepy elevator conversations in the morning, avoiding the crowd will be an added bonus! Any kind of movement you can build into your day will help keep you energized.
Do a Body Check
It’s no secret that the way you sit at your desk will affect your neck, back, wrists and physical health, in general. If you have the luxury of moving to a standing work area, do it as much a possible. If not, stretching is your friend. Try setting a timer on your computer that reminds you to do a body check a few times a day. When you get the notification, adjust your posture and do a quick stretch. If you are
It can be really easy to misconstrue hunger for other emotions: boredom, frustration, stress. When we eat to try to appease these emotions, we might feel better for a while but it doesn’t solve the problem. When you feel compelled to go eat, take a minute to check in with yourself about what you’re really feeling. Then start coming up with solutions. For example, if you are stressed, take time to think about ways to adjust your workload. Can you delegate some tasks? Are you prioritizing what is urgent and stressing you most? Being more cognizant of your needs will help you address your health more accurately. Food brings us energy but eating too much can also make you tired and consume more calories than you need. Explore other ways to stay energized. For some, simply standing up for a moment and taking more frequent water breaks does the trick.
You can also consume mindfully by planning your meals ahead of time. We all know it can be difficult to make good dietary decisions when you’re starving on your lunch break. Instead of going out to eat with co-workers as often, bring your lunch. Pack yourself breakfast, lunch
It can be really hard to start new habits. Especially when you’re in an environment outside your home where there are likely distractions and external factors which are out of your control. A great way to combat this is to find other people in your work environment who have the same healthy and wellness goals that you do. Together you can keep each other accountable and your experience won’t feel so socially alienating. Have an office manager? Ask them about providing healthier food options. It’s likely that they will be willing to supply more healthful varieties if they see there is interest.
Schedule for Your Sanity
We all know that when it comes to getting things done, you’re more likely to make progress if you have a clear schedule of tasks you’d like to complete. You probably already schedule things like conference calls, but what about activities regarding your physical and mental health? Those tasks are just as important and should be added to your daily calendar. Schedule all of the tips we discussed on your calendar! Breaks for yourself, body checks for stretching and opportunities to get up and move are all far more likely to get done if they are on your schedule. Scheduling is especially key if you’re coordinating with an ally. Scheduling in things that are important may sound simple but it can take some getting used to. If you find yourself hitting a few road blocks Master Scheduling by Avoiding These 5 Traps.
Just like organizing, one positive change facilitates opportunity for another project. Once you’ve made your work environment a healthier one you will probably have more energy allowing yourself to Be More Productive at Work. Whatever your profession or office environment, there is always a way to make it a more healthy environment using the resources you have at your disposal.