Tag Archive | Healthy workplace

Staying healthy at work

career-30s

Work can be a place where healthy habits fly out the window. Despite the daunting task of making time to take care of yourself, you’ll find yourself happier and more productive if you do.

Consider these five tips for staying healthy at work.

Hydrate

There’s a decent chance you don’t get enough water either because you don’t take in enough liquid daily or because you substitute water with carbonated beverages and other sugary drinks.

“Drinking lots of water is a secret weapon that helps you avoid adding calories throughout the day, says Jacqueline Twillie, author of “Navigating the Career Jungle.” “Not to mention the extra trips to the restroom from all of the water will help you to take mini breaks from your desk, so that you can recharge and go back to being productive in the office.”

Give yourself a break

Just because your schedule makes you feel like you should jump robotically from one task to the next without so much as a bathroom break doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

“Set a timer to force yourself to STOP! -every 30-45 minutes, the alarm (could be kitchen egg timer or an app) reminds you to stop, stretch, and take a break…walk the dog if you work from home, leave the office for a quick walk, or meditate with an app like Calm (on the app store)…allow yourself to refocus,” suggests Stacy Lindenberg, chief change agent and owner of Talent Seed Consulting.

Meditate

Whether you’re closing your eyes to pick a mantra, an intention, or giving yourself a moment of silence, you’re helping yourself. “This practice speaks to mental health,” says Maren Showkeir, and author and a certified yoga instructor.

“Meditation, even for short periods, has many benefits, including increasing the ability to stay focused, calm and non-reactive. It can lower heart rates and blood pressure. It can increase lung capacity. And it’s backed by research.”

Work together

“We like to encourage collaboration in our office, so we meet monthly to discuss new ways for our office to remain in a healthy state (physically and mentally),” shares CEO Tony Sorensen of Versique Search and Consulting. “One of our employees teaches yoga, and offers a class free to co-workers during lunch hour. We also have friendly office competitions like ‘The Biggest Loser’ to those willing to participate and join the movement.”

Put down the sugar

Eating healthy food instead of sugary snacks keeps you from hunger pangs and overeating, says speaker and fitness professional Lorraine Bossé-Smith. “Sugar is an immune suppressor, so you are more likely to get sick when you partake in too many sweets. Lastly, add glutamine to your routine by drinking a glass of water with one teaspoon of the powder mixed in once a day.” Getting older means a significant decrease in our production of glutamine, which boosts the immune system, so consider adding this supplement to your daily routine, advises Bossé-Smith.

 

By Hannah Hamilton for Monster.com

 

 

 

10 Tips to Improve Your Health at Work

Image result for health at work

Image thanks to Fit for Work

Eight hours in a chair in front of a computer, five days a week can take a toll on your body. From avoiding eye strain and tension neck syndrome to passing on those extra calories that co-workers leave invitingly on their desks, experts give WebMD 10 tips that will help you stay healthy and in shape at work.

1. The snacks that your co-workers so nicely place on their desk can add a few hundred calories to your daily diet if you’re not careful, and they can leave you with unwanted pounds if you help yourself day after day.

“If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind, so if you know someone has a candy dish on their desk, walk around his or her desk so you don’t feel the temptation,” says Dawn Jackson, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. “Take a break, get a breath of fresh air, and skip the candy. Or, if you are hungry, have fruit at your desk, like cherries or grapes.”

Three out of five Americans are overweight, explains Jackson, which means there is likely more than one person in your office who is dieting.

“In most offices, people are trying to lose weight, so go in with people and get fruit bowls instead of candy bowls,” says Jackson. “And see if you can get people to replace their candy bowls with something healthier.”

2. Drinking an adequate amount of water — eight to 10 glasses every day — can help keep you hydrated. Many foods are also good sources of water; fruits like oranges, grapefruit, grapes, watermelon, and apples can help keep you healthy and hydrated.

“The 3 o’clock lull that many people feel at work can be due to dehydration, so drink lots of water,” Jackson tells WebMD. “Set goals: Bring a 16 ounce bottle of water to work and try to finish it by lunch, and then fill it up again and finish that by 3 p.m. By 5 p.m., finish a third bottle.”

Another tip from Jackson: Set your computer alarm to go off so you remember it’s time to refill.

3. One of the most important things you can do during the day to stay healthy and in shape is to exercise.

“Walking during lunch is a great idea,” says Jackson. “Not only are you burning calories, but you’re de-stressing and refreshing.”

Jackson recommends you find a walking partner whom you can depend on for a daily walk –someone who will drag you out even if you claim you’re too busy. If you really can’t get out during lunch, park farther away than you normally do so you have a short walk to work in the morning and evening, or make it a habit to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

4. Eating a healthy lunch is an important part of a balanced diet. But eating reasonable portions is an important part of your health.

“Eat a healthy lunch at work, but also practice portion control so you aren’t consuming too many calories and then sitting in a chair all afternoon,” says Jackson. “Many times, it’s not that you are eating unhealthy food, it’s just that you are eating too much.”

For instance, Jackson explains that pizza isn’t inherently bad, it’s just that a person will eat three or four slices too many, and that’s where the problem lies. Instead, share a large slice of piece of pizza with a co-worker, and then eat a salad that’s packed with veggies.

5. Tension neck syndrome (TNS) can occur when the neck and upper shoulders are held in a fixed, awkward position for long periods of time, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. It can happen to people in the workplace who talk on the phone for a most of the day or type a lot.

“You want to make sure your neck isn’t bent to the side for long periods of time, ” says Alan Hedge, professor of ergonomics at Cornell University. “Tension neck syndrome can cause neck and shoulder pain, muscle tightness, and tenderness. So use a speakerphone, a shoulder cradle, or use a headset at work when you’re on the phone.”

 

6. Eyestrain is another problem that can be encountered in front of a computer. It can cause headaches, difficulty focusing, and increased sensitivity to light, according to the University of California at Davis.

To prevent eyestrain, Hedge tells WebMD, “The distance to the screen from your eyes should be about an arms length away. You should also be able to comfortably read what’s on your screen at that distance, without having to squint.”

If you can’t read your screen from an arm’s length away, simply increase the font size on your computer.

7. A healthy tip that all of us want to hear is that vacations are an important part of staying healthy at work.

“It’s very beneficial to get away for a long vacation that will help you recharge your ‘batteries,'” says Jonathan Kramer, a clinical psychologist and president of Business Psychology Consulting. “Vacations help reduce stress and get your mind off work, especially if you’re having a conflict, such as a problem with your boss, a co-worker, or a project.”

Stress can impair your immune system, increasing the risk of illness, explains Kramer, so minimizing it is essential — and fortunately, vacations are just the way to do that.

8. Another way to stay healthy at work is to avoid long stretches of long days.

“Occasionally, people focus on the task at hand and getting a project done, and they aren’t aware of the impact it’s having on their health,” says Kramer. “They may not be aware of it until the stress is at a really high level, and it’s affecting their relationships and their moods.”

This, explains Kramer, is another type of stress, commonly referred to as burnout. Burnout can also impair a person’s immune system, as well as interfere with sleep and his or her ability to concentrate.

9. Your keyboard, mouse, and phone can harbor thousands of germs that are just waiting to make you sick. So get out the disinfectant.

According to Science Daily, researchers at the 100th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology reported, “We know that viruses can survive (remain infectious) for hours to days on a hard surface … if a virus such as the rotavirus (a diarrheal virus) were on the surface of a telephone receiver, infectious doses could easily be transferred to persons using the telephone.”

To clean these objects, the National Consumers League recommends using a disinfectant cleaner or spray that is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and proven effective against a wide variety of viruses.

10. What’s the most important thing you can do to stay healthy at work? Kramer sums it up for WebMD.

“The most important way to stay healthy at work starts with self-awareness,” says Kramer. “Know yourself and know your limits and do the best you can to stay within those limits given your job. Know when to take breaks and know when to take a vacation. And get plenty of exercise, which helps you both physically and mentally, both at work and at home.”

Source: WebMD

Healthy Work/Life Balance

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For a lot of people, the pursuit of a healthy work/life balance seems like an impossible goal.

With so many of us torn between juggling heavy workloads, managing relationships and family responsibilities, and squeezing in outside interests, it’s no surprise that more than one in four Americans describe themselves as “super stressed.” And that’s not balanced—or healthy.

In our rush to “get it all done” at the office and at home, it’s easy to forget that as our stress levels spike, our productivity plummets. Stress can zap our concentration, make us irritable or depressed, and harm our personal and professional relationships.

Over time, stress also weakens our immune systems, and makes us susceptible to a variety of ailments from colds to backaches to heart disease. The newest research shows that chronic stress can actually double our risk of having a heart attack. That statistic alone is enough to raise your blood pressure!

While we all need a certain amount of stress to spur us on and help us perform at our best, the key to managing stress lies in that one magic word: balance. Not only is achieving a healthy work/life balance an attainable goal but workers and businesses alike see the rewards. When workers are balanced and happy, they are more productive, take fewer sick days, and are more likely to stay in their jobs.

Here are a few practical steps we can all take to loosen the grip that stress has on us and win back the balance in our lives. Read on and reap the benefits.

At Work

  • Set manageable goals each day. Being able to meet priorities helps us feel a sense of accomplishment and control. The latest research shows that the more control we have over our work, the less stressed we get. So be realistic about workloads and deadlines. Make a “to do” list, and take care of important tasks first and eliminate unessential ones. Ask for help when necessary.
  • Be efficient with your time at work.When we procrastinate, the task often grows in our minds until it seems insurmountable. So when you face a big project at work or home, start by dividing it into smaller tasks. Complete the first one before moving on to the next. Give yourself small rewards upon each completion, whether it’s a five minute break or a walk to the coffee shop. If you feel overwhelmed by routines that seem unnecessary, tell your boss. The less time you spend doing busy work or procrastinating, the more time you can spend productively, or with friends or family.
  • Ask for flexibility. Flex time and telecommuting are quickly becoming established as necessities in today’s business world, and many companies are drafting work/life policies. If you ask, they might allow you to work flexible hours or from home a day a week. Research shows that employees who work flexible schedules are more productive and loyal to their employers.
  • Take five. Taking a break at work isn’t only acceptable, it’s often encouraged by many employers. Small breaks at work—or on any project—will help clear your head, and improve your ability to deal with stress and make good decisions when you jump back into the grind.
  • Tune in. Listen to your favorite music at work to foster concentration, reduce stress and anxiety, and stimulate creativity. Studies dating back more than 30 years show the benefits of music in everyday life, including lowered blood pressure. Be sure to wear headphones on the job, and then pump up the volume—and your productivity.
  • Communicate effectively. Be honest with colleagues or your boss when you feel you’re in a bind. Chances are, you’re not alone. But don’t just complain—suggest practical alternatives. Looking at a situation from someone else’s viewpoint can also reduce your stress. In a tense situation, either rethink your strategy or stand your ground, calmly and rationally. Make allowances for other opinions, and compromise. Retreat before you lose control, and allow time for all involved to cool off. You’ll be better equipped to handle the problem constructively later.
  • Give yourself a break. No one’s perfect! Allow yourself to be human and just do the best you can.

​At Home

  • Unplug. The same technology that makes it so easy for workers to do their jobs flexibly can also burn us out if we use them 24/7. By all means, make yourself available—especially if you’ve earned the right to “flex” your hours—but recognize the need for personal time, too.
  • Divide and conquer. Make sure responsibilities at home are evenly distributed and clearly outlined—you’ll avoid confusion and problems later.
  • Don’t over commi Do you feel stressed when you just glance at your calendar? If you’re overscheduled with activities, learn to say,” no.” Shed the superman/superwoman urge!
  • Get support. Chatting with friends and family can be important to your success at home—or at work—and can even improve your health. People with stronger support systems have more aggressive immune responses to illnesses than those who lack such support.
  • Take advantage of your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Many organizations offer resources through an EAP, which can save you precious time by providing guidance on issues like where to find a daycare center and caretaking for an elderly parent, as well as referrals to mental health and other services.
  • Stay active. Aside from its well-known physical benefits, regular exercise reduces stress, depression and anxiety, and enables people to better cope with adversity, according to researchers. It’ll also boost your immune system and keep you out of the doctor’s office. Make time in your schedule for the gym or to take a walk during lunch—and have some fun!
  • Treat your body right. Being in good shape physically increases your tolerance to stress and reduces sick days. Eat right, exercise and get adequate rest. Don’t rely on drugs, alcohol or cigarettes to cope with stress; they’ll only lead to more problems.
  • Get help if you need it. Don’t let stress stand in the way of your health and happiness. If you are persistently overwhelmed, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness—taking care of yourself is a sign of strength.

 

Source: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/work-life-balance