Last week I had the pleasure of taking part in a local corporate wellness event. Although it is inspiring to see companies taking an active interest in employee health, it has me thinking about all of us and how we work. Whether it's in a corporate office, working at home, or working as the caretaker of your family (or all of the above!), your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health plays a critical role in how well you can function in ANY area of work and life. If you log 40 (or more!) hours per week in an office setting, or any work setting, it’s important for you to take precautions to prioritize your wellness. Otherwise, you may wake up one day to realize that the ravages of chronic stress have taken a toll on your body—and soul.
Here are 10 easy-to-implement strategies to dramatically increase your wellbeing in the office or home, starting today:
1. Tame Stress — If your nervous system feels like it’s approaching overload, step outside for a few deep breaths of fresh air. Let your eyes rest on a far distant patch of green. This will help soothe and calm your mind. If you can’t get outside, close your eyes and focus on your breath for 2-3 minutes. Always remember: This too, shall pass.
2. Bring Nature In — Plants help mitigate the toxic effects of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) that you are exposed to through computers, fluorescent lights, smart phones, and other tools typically needed to do your job. Plants help ground you and can also help purify the air. They’re hardworking! And fresh flowers always bump up my happiness quotient!
3. Clear Your Desk — A neat workspace can help you clear any clutter in your head as a result of demanding priorities and multitasking. Keep inspirational images on your desk or pinned to your bulletin board to help you stay motivated during crunch times. Even make a small vision board to give you a quick jolt of inspiration.
4. Get Ergonomic — If your office setup doesn’t feel comfortable and you feel hunched over or otherwise in pain when you sit to do work, talk to your supervisor about getting more ergonomic furniture. Some healthy options to explore include a standup desk or a treadmill desk.
5. Move — If you primarily do computer work, you’ll find that it’s easy to become sedentary from hours spend in front of a screen. Set a timer in your office so you get up and move around every hour to keep the blood flowing.
6. Socialize — Carve out time during for good ole water cooler talk. One of the benefits of working in an office setting is that you have an opportunity to build community each and every day. Even when you are faced with a big deadline, make it a point of at least chatting with work friends for a few minutes daily.
7. Eat Well — Of course! Don’t skip lunch and ideally don’t eat at your desk. Plan ahead so that lunch doesn’t become an afterthought. Bring leftovers as well as a host of healthy snacks so you aren’t tempted to go for takeout or hit the vending machine at 4 pm. Finally, make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. This will fuel you better than caffeine. (A good 21-Day cleanse program or quick 7-Day ReSet is a wonderful way to recharge your health! Contact me for more details.)
8. Set Boundaries — It’s OK to say no to meetings that feel redundant or aren’t a priority for you given your workload. It’s also OK to say no to overtime. Train your co-workers to know that you arrive at a certain time and you get your work done during work hours and there won’t be as strong an expectation for you to log overtime hours.
9. Delegate — Trust those around you enough to hand off work to them. Being a martyr is not good for your long-term mental health.
10. Take Time Off — Finally, take your vacation time. Even if you can’t take a week at a time to unplug, definitely give yourself the gift of a long weekend here and there to recharge. These rejuvenating periods of time can do wonders for your health and wellbeing.
And remember, taking care of your health is the best investment you can make in your life.