Being healthy requires a serious commitment. You need to pay attention to what you’re eating, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and reduce stress. But if you are like many Americans, you spend the majority of the day at work – and all of those hours at your 9-to-5 can get in the way of a healthy lifestyle.
Just because you spend many of your waking hours at the office doesn’t mean you have to abandon your hopes of being healthy. But it does mean that sometimes you have to evaluate some of the bad habits you have fallen into over the years to see how they’re sabotaging your health. Once you identify what those habits are, it’ll be easier to come up with a plan to make changes that will lead to a healthier you.
Here are 5 work habits you should consider changing:
You sit too much. If you have a typical desk job, you may find yourself sitting for hours on end without even thinking about it. Even if you head to the gym after work, this may be jeopardizing your health. In fact, research has shown that sitting too much can lead to an earlier death. So get into the habit of walking to a co-worker’s desk instead of picking up the phone or emailing. Set an alarm to remind yourself to get up every hour to stand, stretch or pace.
You ignore your posture. Slouching, leaning the phone on your shoulder or not positioning your computer monitor at the correct angle can all cause poor posture. This not only leads to back, neck and shoulder pain but it can also cause headaches, make you tired and may even affect your breathing and digestive system. To improve posture, sit in an ergonomic chair with your knees at least level with your hips, your feet flat on the floor and your spine straight. Make sure your monitor is eye height, and if you spend a lot of time on the phone, use a headset.
You eat at your desk. Just as you lose track of how much you eat when you munch mindlessly in front of the TV, it’s also a bad idea to eat at your desk. This habit makes you more likely to graze whenever you’re bored, stressed or angry. Or to ignore the fact that you’re eating because you’re too engrossed in work. Instead, take your lunch or snack to a designated place and enjoy what you eat rather than snacking aimlessly or wolfing down lunch while finishing a project
You take work home with you. Working hard is the key to being successful, right? But when you leave work at the end of the day and don’t actually leave work at the office, it gets in the way of your mental and physical health. Being a workaholic can negatively impact your family and social connections, takes time away from athletic pursuits and increases stress levels. All of these things are not only bad for your health but may cause burnout.
You don’t take your vacation days. Americans leave millions of unused vacation days on the table each year. While you may think being in the office more will help you get ahead, it’s been shown that taking the time to get away to relax, have fun and de-stress can make you more productive. It’s good for your overall well-being – and your career.