10 Easy Steps to Help Keep You and Your Workplace Healthier
Written by: Barb Marco
You spend a significant amount of your day in the workplace and you come in contact with a lot of people, germs and, of course, work. Staying healthy is imperative for employers in order for them to keep their business running smoothly and prevent lost time from work, increased medical costs and lowering the stress levels of employees who have to cover for coworkers who are out due to illness.
No matter where you work, you have these common exposures, whether you are in an office, a retail/customer service station or even out in the elements.
You likely spend a lot of your time working, so making sure to take care of yourself while there is important. Here are 10 great ways to do just that!
1. WASH Your Hands
And I don’t mean rinse them off and dry them. Wash them like a surgeon; scrub the skin with soap for as long as it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song TWICE! Do it before you eat, after using the bathroom and anytime you have been wandering around touching surfaces. Hand washing is the best defense we have against the spreading of disease.
2. Drink More Water
Yes, I know, it means frequent bathroom trips, but hydration keeps our energy levels up and our minds clear and alert (both of which can promote increased productivity). Your boss will appreciate that energy. Keep a reusable water bottle at your desk and refill it frequently (all those bathroom trips help you move around a little too – Double bonus!). Aim for at least ½ your body weight in ounces daily.
3. Limit The Trips To The Coffee Machine
Coffee is an office staple and, like all good things, enjoy your morning Joe with a little moderation. Limiting caffeinated beverages can prevent the crash that occurs just a few short hours later. Caffeine is also a natural diuretic and may contribute to dehydration, so use it in moderation. Watching the cream and sugar can also pay off in the calories saved (a win for your waistline, blood sugar balance and inflammatory markers too!). Here are 2 alternative recipes to your daily cuppa joe!
4. Manage Your Stress
This is a big one. Stress leads to many health issues over time and, as a society, we live hectic, crazy lives. In the workplace, we do more with less, which can contribute to increased stress in our lives. Simple stress relievers are breathing exercises, short meditations and really trying to find a healthy work/life balance. Pay yourself first with a self-care activity, like a massage, a pedicure or a really nice vacation.
5. Take Breaks
Small stretching breaks at regular intervals can not only improve your health, but can also decrease the risk of injury. Simple stretches like reaching to the ceiling with your hands extended or stretching your neck by leaning your head from side to side are great ways to start, especially if you work an office job. If you are at a computer, switching the direction of your gaze to a distant object every 20-30 minutes for just a few seconds can reduce eye strain significantly.
6. Snack Smart
Keep healthy snacks in your desk drawers to ward off the mid-afternoon stomach grumbles and an unplanned trip to the vending machine. A little planning can go along way. Have veggie sticks or an apple available, maybe a handful of raw nuts or homemade trail mix as well. Snacking during the day can be helpful for energy levels, whereas a large mid-day meal can leave you fatigued or sleepy in the afternoon.
7. Get Outside And Walk
Sitting under fluorescent lights all day can also hinder your health. These types of lights can influence our health negatively in many ways, such as causing eye strain, headaches and even the alteration of our normal melatonin secretion, which can ultimately alter your sleep and stress patterns. So get outdoors in the natural sunlight (without sunglasses) and soak up that vitamin D!
8. Sharing Is NOT Caring
If your desk mate is sick or coughing, encourage them not to cover their face when coughing and sneezing and also suggest that they don’t come to work. If they are already there, ensure your own health by frequent hand washing and avoiding close contact with them. And the same goes for you – if you aren’t feeling well, stay home and recover. Sharing is caring, but not with the flu! You can always keep a bottle of instant hand sanitizer close by as well, whether you’re in the office or at home.
9. Keep Your Workstation Tidy And Clean
Don’t trust the cleaning people to disinfect your desk. Your keyboard, phone and mouse can all harbor bacteria carried to them from other places. Certain germs can live on surfaces for days, so wiping down those areas regularly can help keep you healthy.
10. Move More
Exercise and work are words that don’t typically go hand in hand. But you can get some extra moving time in, even on the busiest days. Energy begets energy! Take a conference call standing up using a headset, have a walking meeting, use a bathroom further down the hall and of course, take the stairs. These small actions can raise endorphins and boost immunity, which both help you stay healthier.
Taking these easy steps to overall health can really pay off for both you and your employer. You may save some money on doctor visits and health premiums and your employer has a happier, more productive employee. It’s a win-win for all!
Stay well, friends!
About the Author
Barb Marco is a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Certified Health Coach with a passion for helping individuals reach their health goals while focusing on improving their overall well-being. She specializes in weight management, pre-diabetes and managing excessive stress. Barb leads nutrition, health and wellness seminars and workshops. In addition, she offers health and nutrition coaching to individuals, groups and families. She is also a Certified Personal trainer and teaches group fitness, including Yoga, Martial Arts, and Resistance formats. Her approach encompasses the entire scope of wellness, which goes beyond just the food we eat and the habits we hold. She supports her clients to engage and integrate a healthy lifestyle program for long term success.
Connect with Barb: Website, Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn
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Disclaimer: The techniques, strategies, and suggestions expressed here are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The author, Drew Canole, and the associated www.fitlife.tv are not rendering medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, condition, illness, or injury. It is imperative that before beginning any nutrition or exercise program you receive full medical clearance from a licensed physician. Drew Canole and Fitlife.tv claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented here.
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