We’ve all been there – sitting at our desk for hours on end, eyes burning, stuffing a supermarket sandwich in our mouths along with a fizzy drink for lunch, before deciding we’re too tired to go to the gym or for a run after work.
It’s easy to blame the office environment (especially in the run-up to Christmas) but, fear not, we have some top tips to have you eating healthier in the office and pass on the roaming box of chocolates.
Bring your own fruit – and make it exciting
Who hasn’t found a piece of fruit in the bottom of their bag at the end of the working week? We can all fall into the trap of trying to eat fruit, then eschewing it in favour of those biscuits someone’s brought back from their hols.
So, try and make your fruit more exciting. Yes, it’ll take a little more time, but chopping up fruit and adding seeds and nuts suddenly gives you a cute salad, rather than ‘just an apple’. Ask your greengrocer what’s seasonal and bring that in the following week.
Make your own lunch
One step further than bringing your own fruit is making your own lunch. We’re so used to grabbing lunch on the go, but it’s not always the healthiest option. Not least because, after a stressful morning, we often decide to ‘reward’ ourselves with something a bit stodgy, and those crisps that come with a supermarket meal deal.
Stepping away from processed food is a very easy way to stay healthier at work. Try making your own soup at the weekend, or a rice salad packed with veggies. You’ll feel virtuous, too, as you won’t be paying loads of money for lunch.
Screen breaks are so important, but we often forget to take them – or close down a spreadsheet to simply browse the internet instead.
Have a clock on your desk, or set an online diary alert on the hour to remind yourself to get up and walk away from the glare of the screen. You could also ask for an anti-glare cover to help reduce the strain on your eyes.
Download a meditation app
Being healthy at work can start on the commute. Mindfulness and meditation apps can turn a stressful bus journey into a more peaceful one, and find you arriving at work all the more zen and ready for that challenging meeting.
They work at lunchtime, too. Get away from your desk, take that home-made salad to a local park or green area (don’t know where to go? Google maps, people) and put those headphones in. You’ll probably find you’re much more productive after some fresh air and time out in the middle of the day.
Have a herbal tea
We all know we need to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. It’s not just about keeping our insides happy – water is essential for eye health, as well as clear, healthy skin.
But if you’re a bit sick of plain old water, try skipping that afternoon cuppa or coffee (full of caffeine) and have a herbal tea instead. Peppermint and ginger will help your digestion, too.
Clean your equipment
Sure, someone might wipe down your desks at night or before the weekend, but it’s also very easy to keep germs at bay by keeping your workspace clean. Buy some anti-bac wipes for the phone and keyboard, especially if you’re moving around between different desks.
Add plants to your space
If you work from home, the sky’s the limit with this one. Plants can absorb nasty chemicals in the air, and pick up dust particles, too, if you choose the right ones. Having a plant on your desk is good for your mental health, too, as it gives you something to care for and makes the place look prettier.
Hot desking, or not allowed things like plants on your desk? Ask the office manager if they’ll consider some larger pot plants around the office. There’s even evidence they can help improve productivity thanks to something called ‘attention restoration theory’ – the idea that we’re better able to concentrate after spending time in, or looking at, nature.
Use your lunch break wisely
Sick of browsing the shops at lunch so you end up back at your desk? It’s time to get creative with what’s around you. Chances are, if you work in a city you’re not too far from a museum or exhibition space. If not, then we defy you not to find a spot of nature to indulge the senses.
Read a book, or download a podcast to make the most of that break in the day. Joining that office yoga class could be just what your body and mind need (and if the other people in the office go, too, nobody can say you’re shirking).