Public awareness about the health risks of inactivity and poor diets is steadily on the rise. However, the majority of people still seem to struggle to incorporate a healthy lifestyle into their daily routine, making positive behaviours the exception rather than the norm
If have an office job, chances are you’re stuck at your desk for the better part of the day with restricted movement and plenty of opportunities to get stuck in bad habits that can have detrimental long-term effects on your health. According to WHO, a healthy workplace model incorporates all aspects of their employee’s overall wellbeing but unfortunately, the reverse is often true of most organisations.
If you have a stressful job, it’s likely that the stress-triggered hormone cortisol is leading you to crave unhealthy foods and encouraging fat storage. Moreover, stress also negatively affects our mental wellbeing and productivity levels.
Fix: Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of quality sleep every night to counteract the effects of stress. While at work, practice some deep-breathing exercises and take frequent breaks to calm your nerves and destress.
Your Work space
If you spend a lot of time sitting at your desk, it’s easy to get carried away in your work and not realise you’ve spent 4 hours straight in the same position. Apart from lack of movement, most of us tend to slouch in our chairs, leading to bad posture and neck strain. Moreover, clutter and messy workspaces can disrupt our mental wellbeing, making it harder to concentrate.
Fix: Sit up straight at your desk, focusing on keeping your shoulders back and down and your stomach pulled in. Make it a point to stand up and take a short walk around the office every 45minutes or so. Declutter your desk at the end of the day so that you can start every morning with a clear space and a clear mind.
They may mean well by urging you to take that second doughnut or heaving another slice of birthday cake on your plate, but sometimes colleagues’ bad habits have a tendency to rub off on us despite our best efforts at resistance. Ever wonder why your waistline just tends to keep on growing despite trudging yourself to the gym every week? You may feel obliged to partake in the collective unhealthy behaviour to avoid feeling like the odd one out.
Fix: Stand your ground. As the mature adult that you are, you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable to say no and not give in to peer pressure. If you don’t want to be rude, simply ask for a smaller piece of cake, take half the doughnut and make your excuses to ensure you don’t stay for more than one beer.
Your Office Building
Most modern office buildings are fitted with elevators or escalators so taking the stairs is only viewed a last resort (read: in case of a fire or power cut). Additionally, most buildings tend to repel natural sunlight and are fitted with internal air ventilation systems so that employees get little access to fresh air.
Fix: Make it a habit to take the stairs at least twice day to counter all the sitting you do the rest of the time. Try to get outside more during the day to take in some sunshine and fresh air.
With most of us spending long hours of our day at the office, it’s easy to forgo the healthy behaviour we work so hard to cultivate during our time away from work. Employers should also do their part to encourage and promote healthy behavioural incentives; making fresh fruit an office kitchen staple, rewarding employees who walk or bike to work, setting up an office gym are just a few simple ways to take better care of your staff’s health and make a healthy taskforce part of your organisation’s prerogatives.