1. Floss on your way to work.
• For those of you picturing me using traditional floss with two hands driving down the freeway, don't worry. I use those little one-hand-held flossers with the handle and the "U" that holds the floss. It's a great solution to have a bag of these in your car, because we're all in too much of a hurry in the morning to squeeze that in, and too tired at night to make ourselves do it. But we're trapped in the car for however long our commute is. Just keep a bag in an open console so you see it and it reminds you, and just be careful; if you're not a good one-handed driver, do it at a stoplight please.
2. Bring a big water bottle that you can refill.
• In my humble, non-medical-professional, opinion: water is a non-negotiable when it comes to being healthy in any setting. But so many people forget that and just refill on coffee all day or have a water bottle on their desk but really don't drink much from it. One article from the Mayo Clinic suggested thirteen 8oz. cups of fluid for men and nine 8 oz. cups for women. They say "even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired." (source). One of my previous coworkers bought a nice size green jug and put sharpie marks on it for where the water level should be down to by certain times of the day. And she said she got the idea from Pinterest, of course.
3. Bring homemade lunches from home.
• If you are at a place in your life where it doesn't hurt your wallet to eat out every day, or it is part of your job to meet people for lunch, then that's ok. But for a semi-newlywed like me, lunches out can add up so I try to bring lunch from home most of the time. In addition to saving you money, it is likely to be much healthier. Leftovers are what I rely on for lunches; but if you don't normally have a ton of leftovers, bulk pack some lunches on the weekends so you don't have to worry about it in the morning.
• One objection might be that you say you want to get out of the office. In that case, do what I do and take your lunch out to your car and eat it there. I'm an introvert, so I need some alone time. But if you're an extrovert and love going out to lunch with people, have at it, more restaurants are offering healthy options these days.
4. After lunch, or some time during the day, go on a short walk.
• The amount of time people have for lunch can vary from no time to unlimited so this may or may not be possible for you. But usually in 30 minutes, I am able to eat lunch in my car then walk two laps around the building and then up and down the five flights of stairs twice. This really makes me feel better as opposed to sitting all day, you will notice the difference.
• There are many studies coming out about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. Dr. Sarah Ballantyne says that even if you do an intense workout before you go to work or when you get home, you still need "gentle movement" throughout the day (source). This can involve getting up throughout the day to get water, go to the restroom, or discuss something with a coworker. Other options include getting to work a little early to walk a few laps or doing an afternoon stair climb. The afternoon is a time when a lot of people get sleepy so it's nice to take a quick refresher to walk up and down a few flights of stairs. I'd be willing to bet that your productivity will go up when you return.
5. Have nutritious snacks available at work.
• Even though amazing donuts and kolaches are sure to frequent your break room, try to have some snacks in a drawer for when there aren't any nice treats available and you need a little pick me up. Strong hunger at lunch time or right when you get home from work can lead to poor decisions because you want something quick. So keep some good options like fruit, veggies, nuts or jerky to abate your hunger when it calls.
6. Get enough sleep
• Everyone knows that they need 8 hours of sleep but barely anyone gets it, myself included. I'm working on it. It would take pages if I tried to show all of the literature supporting the scary necessity of sleep for a healthy mind and body. Most people put eating healthy or working out high on their list of priorities. But, they miss out on great sleep because they make their lives so busy or spend needless time on television or tablets. Make sleep a priority and your boss will thank you.
Try choosing just one of these recommendations a week and see how much better it makes you feel. No one can do a great job when they're feeling crummy, so it's worth the extra effort to incorporate some of these practices.
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