Healthy habits for people who sit at the desk all day.

Like it or not, many of us are spending long hours in front of a computer these days and that means long hours at a desk. While necessary, our bodies simply weren’t meant for this and will often let us know that in no uncertain terms. You may notice things like eye strain, tendonitis or repetitive strain injury aka mouse arm, stiffness in the lower back and hip flexors and shoulder pain. So how do you cope effectively and live your most healthful, radiant Instagram-Goddess life without giving up your day job? 

The simple answer is a few new habits.

Here are some ideas for how to take better care of your body at work.

Force yourself to take breaks

There’s a reason why school kids are given regular breaks throughout the day, and our bodies don’t stop needing that just because we’ve grown up. Schedule in regular breaks to just get up and stretch….. an hour in between at most. Take a 5 minute walk, even indoors, and especially get your back, shoulders and hips moving. Maybe even try a little desk yoga or some simple poses you can do at the office.

Stay alert

When you’re hyper focused at work, it’s easy to let the hours slip by. It’s only later when something tenses up and starts to hurt do you realize that you need to get up more. And as our bodies become stiff, so do our minds. This can be when you get stuck on a project or are finding it difficult to be creative. Try setting an alert on your phone or your computer to remind you to move, eat, drink and maybe even talk for a few minutes. Your body and your productivity levels will thank you.

Drink lots of water

We all know we should be drinking lots of water, but when you’re sitting at a desk all day, it’s easy to get lazy… and dehydrate. Keep a bottle of filtered water on your desk at all times and remind yourself that when your mouth feels dry or you notice you’re thirsty, your body is already slightly dehydrated. Drinking enough water can help you stay alert, keeps the joints lubricated and keeps the internal fluids pumping.

Fuel yourself with superfoods

Boredom or fatigue can make you want to reach for a sweet or salty snack to give you a little jolt and just keep going. Be prepared with healthy versions like dried fruit and nuts so you’re not tempted by the vending machine. These will be good to your body and much easier on your budget as well.

Pack or prepare your lunch

It may be hard to resist going out on your lunch break with coworkers but, you’ll start noticing a difference in your diet, your body  and your wallet by preparing your food ahead of time. This applies even more so if you are working from home. Being at home all the time can really encourage snacking instead of balanced meals. A well planned lunch has a better shot of giving you the nutritional balance and energy you need to feel healthy and productive throughout the day.

Practice mindful eating at lunch

Be sure to get up and walk away from your desk to eat lunch. This signifies to both your brain and your body that this is important and time to switch gears. Eat in the common work kitchen or outside if you can, and try to buddy up with someone. Take the extra couple of bites to savor the food, taste it and enjoy it. It’s a great way to practice extreme self-care. 

Read more on Mindful Eating here.

Make conscious activity choices

Do you have to grab something from that cabinet behind you?

Why not use this as an opportunity to stand up rather than rolling your chair over there. Maybe pop over to a co-workers desk occasionally rather than sending a DM and do that task on the other side of the office now  rather than grouping them together. 

Invest in helpful tech tools

There are so many cool gadgets and devices that can help with your health and wellness goals. Things like the Apple watch and FitBit are obvious choices, but as the saying goes “there’s an app for that”. Try grabbing an app to remind you to move, drink water, take a break or even meditate. 

Like anything else, it may not be easy at first to implement – every change requires effort and commitment. But with a little bit of patience you’ll be able to see, and more importantly feel, the benefits of taking care of your body and health.