It’s no secret that a healthy body translates to a healthy mind, and a healthy mind means increased productivity at work. However, with busy schedules and full calendars, a focus on personal wellness often falls to the bottom of our list of priorities. Putting your health first might seem time-consuming initially, but small lifestyle changes can actually improve your ability to focus more fully on all the other aspects of your life, accomplish more, and be happy while doing it!
Health and wellness in the workplace is more important than ever, with the average person spending about 21% of their total waking hours at work. Coworking communities provide a more flexible lifestyle than traditional office environments, allowing for more time to focus on making healthy choices. And people have been taking notice—recently, we were featured in a Washington Post article which highlighted shared workspaces in the Washington D.C.area focusing on wellness.
At MakeOffices, we view membership as a holistic experience and make members’ health a main priority by providing fresh fruit, massage chairs, wellness rooms, and in most cases, free gym membership. With so much time spent working, making small changes before, during, and after work can make a big difference in your physical and mental wellbeing.
Taking the first steps toward a healthier lifestyle can be difficult, but there are simple ways to incorporate new habits into your daily routine. Here are 8 ways to make health a priority this year:
1) Eat breakfast…no matter how busy you are
Not only will eating breakfast prevent you from being “hangry” all morning, but this essential practice also helps keep your glucose levels in check throughout the day. Because the gap between between your evening meal and breakfast is the longest, your morning meal has the biggest impact on the way you metabolize glucose, according to Consumer Reports. Skipping breakfast also causes overeating later in the day, and ultimately leads to weight gain and other health problems. On the contrary, eating breakfast gives you more energy, improves mental acuity, and promotes an active lifestyle. Making a healthy breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Try some of these quick and easy recipes from Greatist at home before heading to work and you’ll start to notice the difference.
2) Bike or walk to work
Kill two birds with one stone by turning your morning commute into a workout. In fact, research shows that 30 minutes of biking can burn up to 355 calories and 30 minutes of walking can burn up to 200 calories depending on your weight. Listen to a podcast or crank up your favorite tunes, and the commute will fly by in no time. Plus, you’ll have more energy at the office with the boost of extra endorphins from your morning workout.
3) Pack a healthy lunch
Not only does packing a home lunch save money, but it also allows you to be more intentional about portion control and calorie count. For people who are busy during the weekday nights, meal prep once a week may be a solution to preparing lunch each day. Read this article for everything you need to know about healthy meal prep. You’ll need to purchase some quality containers for packing your lunches, but the money (and calories!) you’ll save in the long run will be well worth the investment.
4) Always eat lunch away from your desk
Eating lunch at your desk might seem like a time-saver, but it actually hinders your productivity and prevents your brain from taking a much-needed break. You’ll also be able to take time for yourself or socialize with coworkers, which will boost your mood in the middle of the work day. Even a 30-minute break will give you renewed focus and energy to pick back up where you left off before lunch. Encourage employees to take a lunch break too, because really, what can you realistically achieve while stuffing your face with last night’s leftovers?
5) Take small breaks each hour
It’s normal to feel glued to your computer screen with approaching deadlines and clients to please, but you can actually get more work done and increase productivity by taking regular breaks throughout the day. Studies show that taking a break at least once an hour prevents brain numbing, enhances creativity, and allows you to return to a task with more energy. Getting up from your desk and walking around also helps with circulation and helps break up the day.
6) Drink a lot of water throughout the day
Our bodies are made of roughly 60% water, so it’s important to stay hydrated all day long. Without proper reminders, the recommended eight cups of water a day is nearly impossible for most people to stick with. Get some help from water-drinking apps like Waterlogged , which tracks your water consumption and sends reminders via push notifications. These helpful apps can help motivate you to keep drinking even when you’re not thirsty.
Staying hydrated, however, is more than just a game. Studies show that even mild dehydration can negatively affect mood, ability to concentrate, and overall wellbeing. On the contrary, drinking more water can promote weight loss, can help clear your skin, and also increases your energy levels. The bottom line is that there really is nothing to lose from drinking more water, especially if you have an excuse to use fun water-drinking apps.
7) Replace coffee with natural tea
Instead of curing your afternoon slump with coffee, opt for tea (natural or loose-leaf, not bottled, sweetened, or with added preservatives) for its health benefits. Green tea is chock full of antioxidants to boost your immune system, a studydemonstrated that white tea can actually help promote healthy joints, and black tea is said to reduce stress levels according to University College London research.
8) Find a workout buddy
If you have trouble sticking to a regular workout routine, it might help to find a buddy. It’s much harder to skip a workout when you’ve already got plans to meet a friend. You’ll be able to keep each other accountable for missing workouts, and use the time to catch up about. Group workouts are even more fun when you have a friend by your side.
Making just one of these simple changes is an important step towards improved health and wellness. If you’re new to the game or feel overwhelmed by the prospect of making changes to your routine, these tips can jumpstart your progress. Taking the first step towards a healthy lifestyle is always the toughest, so grab your friends and colleagues and start the journey together.