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Well at Work

15 Healthy Resolutions for the Workplace

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Most people create New Year’s resolutions based on their personal lives. They resolve to lose weight, travel more, and spend more time with family. But few give much thought to how they might improve the part of their lives that commands the most time and energy: work. Though it’s natural to want to separate work and personal life, our modern technological culture makes it increasingly difficult to do so. Because of that, it’s even more necessary to take action to establish habits for a healthy workplace. With that in mind, here are 15 healthy resolutions for the workplace.

1. Bring your lunch.

You’ll save money and time. Plus, by bringing food from home, you’re more likely to make healthy choices rather than overeating. Bringing your lunch doesn't necessarily mean eating at your desk or losing out on networking opportunities. Make it a point to go outside or grab a fellow co-worker and eat lunch together.

2. Take movement breaks.

Most people make it a point on long flights to get up and walk around. So why do most of us not rise from our desks for hours unless nature calls? Take periodic five-minute breaks and do some simple Movement Prep — a series of dynamic stretches — like a Lateral Lunge, Drop Lunge, or Backward Lunge with a Twist. These counteract the effects of the modern sedentary workplace, which rounds our shoulders, locks our hips, and weakens our core. Try this sample Movement Prep routine.

3. Organize an office obstacle race team.

Participating in an obstacle race event is a great team-building activity and requires less commitment than an ongoing softball or volleyball league. Find a local event that’s two to three months out and challenge your co-workers to push themselves and each other through the mud and obstacles.

4. Hit the water cooler.

Start the day with a 20-ounce glass of water. When you leave the house, take a bottle of water with you. Drink on the way to work and keep a bottle on your desk. Even minor dehydration impairs concentration, coordination, and reaction time. Drink ½ to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day to maintain hydration.

5. Prioritize.

Without a list of priorities, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of putting out fires via the phone and email. Prioritize your morning with must-do action items and leave the afternoon for planning, returning calls and emails, work-related reading, and other business housekeeping.

6. Take snack breaks.

There are likely five to seven hours between your breakfast and lunch and a similar gap between your lunch and dinner. Keep your metabolism firing with a nutrient-dense, mid-morning snack that will keep hunger pangs at bay. Try fruit, veggies, nuts, sunflower seeds, or beef jerky. If you have access to a blender or shaker bottle, a shake or smoothie consisting of fruit and whey protein is also a good option. Check out "10 Energy-Boosting Snacks for the Office" for more.

7. Build a fueling station.

It’s important to have healthy snacks at arm’s reach, especially for those days when you don’t leave the desk for hours. Stock a desk drawer or two with oatmeal, tear-open packaged tuna fish, jerky, apples, oranges, and healthy snack bars. Include a jar of almonds, a loaf of whole-wheat bread, condiments in one-serving packs, one-serving containers of sugar-free applesauce, plastic utensils, paper plates, and hand wipes. 

8. Check your posture.

It can be difficult to maintain good posture while spending the bulk of your day sitting down. That’s why it’s important to check your posture throughout the day. Are your shoulder blades pulled back and down? Is your chest elevated? Have you kept your tummy drawn up and in? Read our rules for perfecting your posture.

9. Tighten your core.

Even if you’re stuck at your desk or enduring the PowerPoint from hell, you still can activate your muscles. Start with your glutes, which are taking a beating from you sitting on them. Alternate between activating (squeezing) your left and right cheeks. There’s no limit to how many of these you can do, but think in terms of doing a set of 10 every 30 minutes. Next let's move to the core region. Draw your belly button in away from your belt buckle. This isn't the same as sucking in your gut and holding your breath. Simply pull your belly button in. Do a set of 10 every 30 minutes. For more, check out our six tips to stay healthy in long meetings.

10. Catch a second wind.

It’s easy to fall into autopilot late in the afternoon, especially as mental fatigue sets in. But rather than surfing the web or spending too much time on email, make this time productive.

11. Declutter your workspace.

Freeing your workspace of clutter reduces stress, increases productivity, and shows respect for your co-workers. Make it a point to file, recycle, and discard at the end of the day, leaving a clear workspace. The Internet has removed the need for many reference books and most documents can — and should — be stored digitally.

12. Plan for tomorrow.

Once you’ve decluttered, make a list of three most important action items to attack tomorrow. Still have time today? Complete one of the three.

13. Improve your focus.

It’s easy to mistake being busy for being productive. The digital media era has made it more difficult to focus on the task at hand. Now more than ever, it’s important to avoid multitasking and digital distraction. Improve your focus with these tips.  

14. Adjust your commute.

Is it possible to walk or bike to work rather than enduring a stress-inducing auto commute? Could you take the train or carpool? Even if such options aren't available, you can reduce stress in the car by adjusting your mirror and seat for better posture and activating your core. For more tips, read "5 Ways to Make Your Daily Commute Healthier."

15. Work less.

Even if you’re expected to be present at your job, chances are you can work more efficiently by following the suggestions above. As a result, you can spend the last half hour of each day decluttering, planning, and getting ready to enjoy some hard-earned downtime. By working more efficiently, you can leave work behind at the office, wherever that office might be.

About The Author

Pete Williams – Pete Williams is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com and the co-author of the Core Performance book series.

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Tags: Hydration, Health, Work, Lunch