Feeling stressed at work? Perhaps you're struggling with depression or anxiety? Have trouble sleeping?
Workplace stress and daily worries can take a toll on health. In the long run, your productivity may suffer.
Although nine in 10 Australians believe that mentally healthy workplaces are important, many of them feel stressed and overwhelmed. In fact, about 13 per cent of depression cases in men and 17 per cent of depression cases in women are related to work.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
Start by making a healthy habits list and take it from there. Simple changes, such as taking a break every few hours and exercising more often, can help you cope with workplace stress.
Remember, it's never too late to change your lifestyle, regardless of how stressful your job is.
Need some inspiration? Here are five workplace healthy habits for a more productive day!
1. Don't Hit Snooze
What you do first thing in the morning sets the tone for the day. If you're always feeling drowsy and sleepy when you wake up, blame the snooze button.
Hitting snooze can disrupt healthy sleep patterns and affect your mood. This habit throws off your body's wake up routine and causes you to enter a deeper sleep stage. As a result, you'll end up feeling like you've had a bad night's sleep.
So what can you do instead?
One option is to keep your alarm clock away from you. Or purchase a body clock alarm that wakes you up by filling your room with natural light.
Another strategy is to set the alarm for the actual time you want to wake up. Your body will get used to this new routine within days. Plus, you can always reach for a cup of coffee to energize your senses.
2. Start Your Day With Meditation
Heavy workloads, work pressure, and conflicts all can increase your stress levels. But this doesn't mean you should quit your job — unless you're dealing with an extreme situation.
One way to deal with workplace stress and its consequences is to meditate. Do it first thing in the morning to start your day on the right foot.
This centuries-old practice is clinically proven to reduce stress and improve mental well-being. Furthermore, it may help decrease anxiety and depression as well as chronic pain.
But that's not all.
Meditation may also boost your productivity and increase grey matter in the brain. With regular practice, it can improve your work performance, alertness, and mental focus.
Make a habit out of meditating for 10 or 15 minutes in the morning. Do it after drinking your coffee or while waiting for your breakfast to be ready.
3. Take Small Breaks at Work
Put "small activity breaks" on top of your healthy habits list. Taking breaks every 30 minutes or so may help you prevent and relieve back pain, reduce blood pressure, and increase your productivity.
This may come up as a surprise, but sitting is the new smoking.
This habit can put you at risk for hypertension, high blood sugar, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. It may also take years off your life and lead to premature death.
Stand every half an hour and move around the office. Stretch your muscles, go out for a walk, or use a foam roller to relieve the tension in your neck and back.
Consider switching to a standing desk or a balance ball chair to squeeze more exercise into your routine.
4. Bring Your Own Lunch
What you eat has a direct impact on your mood and productivity. Not to mention your health!
A meal based largely on junk food can leave feeling nauseous and sleepy. Sugar, on the other hand, causes blood glucose spikes followed by crashes.
Prepare your lunch at home and bring it to the office instead of going to the nearest store.
There are plenty of delicious, healthy recipes that take just a few minutes.
Try these lunch ideas for a balanced meal:
- Shrimp and avocado salad
- Chickpea salad
- Grilled chicken sliders
- Turkey lunch bowls
- Chicken fajitas
- Bean and cheese burritos
- Chopped Cobb salad
- Egg salad with veggies
- Edamame hummus wraps
Sounds delicious, isn't it? Do the same with your snacks. Prepare them in advance so you don't have to rush to the vending machine.
Homemade granola bars, trail mixes, high-protein pancakes, and roasted nuts are all a healthy choice.
5. Keep a Water Bottle at Hand
Adequate hydration is one of the most important yet overlooked aspects of good health. It's not uncommon to see people who drink little or no water while at work.
Believe it or not, dehydration can hinder productivity. If your hydration levels drop by just one per cent, your productivity can decrease by a whopping 12 per cent.
Every cell and tissue in your body needs water to function optimally. Your brain is no exception. Dehydration not only makes you thirty but also affects physical performance, energy levels, and kidney function.
When it comes to healthy habits, drinking more water is one of the best things you can do.
Keep a water bottle at hand at all times. Take small sips every 10 to 15 minutes to stay fully hydrated.
Start the New Year With a Healthy Habits List
These are just a few of the things you should put on your healthy habits list. Stick to your list to function at your best, feel healthier, and focus better on the tasks at hand.
Depending on your schedule, you may also hit the gym in the afternoon or after work.
Ask your employer if the company offers any wellness programs. Many organizations nowadays provide free massages, fitness classes, discounts for gym memberships, and activities that promote a healthy lifestyle.
What you do at home matters too. Consider disconnecting from technology after leaving your office. Take a break from social media to give your brain some rest and prevent eye strain.
If, for some reason, you're struggling with anxiety in the workplace, check out our guide on how to deal with it. This condition can lead to burnout and stall your productivity, so don't wait until it's too late.