Are your workplace habits damaging your health?
Throughout your lifetime, for the majority of us, you will spend in total 10.3 years at work, 5 years of which will be sitting at a desk. Therefore, the habits and behaviours you adopt when working are bound to have a huge impact on your health and wellbeing – be it positive or negative.
There a plenty of unhelpful and unhealthy habits that are common among the workplace, these include:
- Skipping breakfast
- Skipping lunch
- Eating lunch at your desk
- Eating a lunch that’s heavy on simple carbohydrates e.g. white pasta, white bread, white rice
- Snacking on foods high in sugar, salt and fat
- Not drinking enough water
- Drinking too much caffeine
Whilst there is more to your health and wellbeing that a number on a scale, it becomes almost inevitable that you will gain weight if you don’t focus on instilling healthy habits if you spend your time sat at a desk. Focusing on eating healthy, satisfying and filling meals consisting of healthier food choices is key to weight maintenance. Combine this with several hours of standing at your desk if possible, along with a lunchtime walk. Sedentary jobs can easily lead to sedentary lifestyles, as the less we do, the less we feel like doing.
Your energy and motivation is a direct reflection of your health and wellbeing and should remain stable throughout the day, enabling you to be as productive as possible. Skipping breakfast, consuming too much caffeine, not enough water, high fat/sugar/salt snacks of a simple carbohydrate dense lunch is likely to lead to a slump in energy, most likely having a negative impact on your mood.
We also have a tendency to adopt the habits of those around us. So think about your colleagues close by – are they regular vending machine visitors, or do they encourage you to join them at the closest fast food outlet at lunchtime? Research has suggested that the more unhealthy your workplace, the more unhealthy you become.
Maintaining your own plan when it comes to nurturing your health and wellbeing will enable you to focus on making healthy habits a thing of frequency, putting you in control.
In order to establish solid foundations for your health and wellbeing to become embedded, here are some top tips:
- Drink no more than 4 cups of tea/coffee each day
- Avoid highly processed snacks and instead choose fresh fruit, a small handful of dried fruit or plain nuts, vegetable crudités, or oatcakes. All of these can be topped with low-fat cream cheese, nut butter, guacamole, salsa or hummus
- Have breakfast within an hour of waking. If you find this impossible, have a small snack and eat a more substantial breakfast once you arrive at work
- Drink 1.5-2L water each day (approximately 6-8 glasses)
- Have a lunch consisting of lean protein, vegetables and complex carbohydrates such as couscous, brown rice or whole wheat bread or whole wheat pasta
- Leave your desk at lunchtime for a change of scene and go for a walk outside, or even just around the office to get yourself moving