Give yourself a break at work!
Small breaks increase workplace health and happiness
Taking better care of yourself at work can be as simple as making healthy breaks a regular part of your work day. Short breaks are easy to incorporate, and they can really make a positive impact to your long-term health.
UL’s Jonathan Jacobi, a certified safety professional with 25 years in the safety industry, advised that people should advocate for their own health in and out of the workplace — that includes taking the initiative to take breaks and share healthy tips with co-workers. “Everything we do for our wellness has impacts on the rest of our life. Taking that walk at lunch will not only make you feel better at work, but at home, too.”
In fact, Stanford University’s Environmental Health and Safety Department recommends a two-minute microbreak every 30 minutes to avoid strain during repetitive tasks. “Sometimes it helps to get outside for a fresh breath of air or even use your building’s stairs to have a more active work day,” Jacobi said.
Here are a few more simple recommendations to stay healthy at the office:
Keep healthy snacks at your desk and pack your own lunch. When you get a craving or need a brain boost, you won’t be left scrounging for change to head to the nearest vending machine. Planning ahead and bringing brain-boosting foods like almonds and fruit will keep you satisfied and help you avoid sugar slumps and caffeine jitters. Packing your own lunch is another great way to keep an eye on your healthy diet throughout the work week.
If your company offers a gym or wellness plan, sign up! Not only will you be more motivated to exercise (and become stronger) when you have to carry that gym bag along with your laptop into the office, you’ll probably make new friends and network, too. It’s a win-win!
Stand up and stretch. Try to find a way to include about an hour of stretching into your daily work. How about requesting that stand-up meetings become the new norm? Remove all the chairs, and see how much more efficient everyone becomes, and how the energy increases in the room. Standing helps guard against brain fatigue, and can also help you avoid cramps and muscle aches.
Look away, look away… Many of us are staring at computer screens for the majority of the day. But it is important to change your view every now and then. Make time to look out the window and check the weather for your commute home. Alter your sitting position as you work, lower the brightness on your computer screen and consider using a blue-light filter app available on all types of computer operating systems.
How about walking meetings? If possible, take your meetings on a walk. Not only is walking good for creative thinking, the more steps you take every day, the better your overall health. You may even get some immune-boosting vitamin D if you can take that walk outside.
Stay hydrated. Not only does walking to the water fountain mean more steps, we all know the benefits of hydration: happier cells, more energy, fewer headaches and increased clarity. The more water you drink, the less you may be attracted to caffeine, which can dehydrate you or steal a good night’s sleep.
Team up for good health. Sharing your health goals and tips with your co-workers helps create a culture of health for your whole office. Besides that, getting a group together to start some healthy workplace traditions is a great way to bond with your team. “If you have an idea that can make you healthier, or make things safer, you should share it,” Jacobi said. “Employees should feel empowered in taking their health into their own hands because healthier employees are happier and more productive.”
By taking a proactive approach to your well-being in the workplace, you can improve your overall health beyond the office environment.
SAFEBEE TOP THREE:
- Pack healthy food and reduce caffeine.
- Take short breaks throughout the day.
- Team up with co-workers to create a healthy work culture.