Wellness in the Workplace
By Gigi Steel
As many of us are finally back at work, it’s important to remember to take care of ourselves just as much in the office as we did while we were working from home. There are many ways to stay healthy.
Hand-washing always was and always will be the most important factor in the prevention of disease. It’s important to wash hands as soon as you get home, before eating, and after using the restroom. While hand-sanitizer can help, it doesn’t replace the effectiveness of a good hand-washing.
Sanitizing wipes are great for getting rid of germs on surfaces. Take a swipe at your phone, desktop, pens, keyboard, and all surfaces where germs can live and grow.
This habit will not only remove most of the germy-bugs, it will keep the dust bunnies from accumulating and may help with allergies. It’s best not to use anyone’s phone except your own, but if you must, try to wipe it off before placing it on your face.
When we were in high school, the lunch bell rang and we were excited to take a break and go outside for a few minutes. Find your inner 15-year-old and follow that example. A little exercise and sunshine during the middle of the day can refresh your spirit and motivate you for the rest of the afternoon.
For lunch, choose foods that won’t weigh you down or make you sleepy. A salad with a healthy protein source, or a sandwich with fresh vegetables will keep you satisfied and give you the sustenance you need for the afternoon.
Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Our bodies need water to function properly. While it’s easy to get caught up in a project and forget to drink, it’s important to stay hydrated for mental clarity and to avoid feeling sluggish.
Drinking water will also encourage you to get up from your desk frequently—if only to walk to the restroom.
Speaking of getting up, do you know that sitting for extended hours at a time is considered to be as unhealthy as smoking and obesity? Sitting at a desk all day can leave you feeling exhausted. By the time you get home, you may feel so lethargic, the only thing you want to do is to plop down in front of the television.
As many jobs require sitting, it’s important to find ways to work around this dilemma. You might adopt the habit of standing up whenever you talk on the phone, or setting a timer as a reminder to get up to walk around the office or block every hour.
A standing desk or an exercise ball used as a chair may be a solution for you. Technology can also help. Apps on your smart watch or phone can remind you to go for a walk, help to count your steps, and send congratulation messages to you when you meet your goals.
A 15 or 20-minute walk around the block can help alleviate stress and provide a new outlook for the rest of the day. Movement is important for weight loss, increased energy, and mental well-being.
You’ll find that by staying active during the day, you’ll have more energy during the after-work hours. Movement during the day also encourages more restful sleep at night.
Eye strain can cause headaches and make it difficult to concentrate and focus. Our eyes need a break from the computer screen every 20 minutes. This is easily accomplished by shifting your eyes from the computer screen to an outdoor window or the other side of the room.
Blinking can help by giving our eyes a refreshing break. Rolling our eyes while they are closed will help to exercise and lubricate them.
When the clock chimes in at 5:00PM, but you are working toward a deadline, it can be easy to ignore the hour. However, this is not always the smartest decision. It’s important for our mental and physical health to leave work behind and take care of our personal lives.
When we make a conscious decision to get exercise, eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, have good hygiene, and give ourselves a mental break, we are intentionally giving ourselves a healthy option for life.
The benefits of a healthful workplace outweigh any perceived negativity. Business owners and managers find that when employees are fit as a fiddle and happy as a clam, fewer days are missed and productivity goes up.