Health in the Office: Maintaining Health the During Holidays

| Health and Wellness

Nov 20 2013

There does seem to be something about the holidays that makes nearly every one of us indulge. Maybe it’s the special treats we only see a few times a year or maybe we overeat due the stress or the exuberance that the holidays bring. Whatever the case may be, it is one that we ultimately have control over and can start to prepare for. As we inch closer and closer to the holiday season, we can turn our focus to the workplace and how we can start/maintain healthy habits that will help us to maintain total health of both mind and body through the holidays and beyond.

Find a Friend

Chances are there is a co-worker of yours who has the same goals and is going to go through the same type of struggles as the holiday treats and cookies come strolling through the breakroom door. Maybe you are already friends with this co-worker and can easily challenge each other to eat better and be more active.

On the other hand, maybe you aren’t very close with anyone who shares this common interest. So how do you find this friend if you don’t already have one who shares your interest? You may already know if you give it some thought. Who has the healthy lunches, brings the veggies for snacks or maybe rides their bike to work? There’s a good chance that many of your coworkers want to be healthier and that their habits and activities will reflect this desire. This common interest can act as a bonding agent between the two of you, and as an added benefit, you can gain another friend.

The most important thing is that this person serves as a support system, whether as an inspirational example or as a sort of partner in crime, as you both equally help each other strive towards your individual goals.

Have a Healthy Snack Drawer

That’s right. Snacking is okay. However, the key word here is healthy. Add a snack drawer with healthy foods that you will actually like eating. Maybe include some fruit, like apples, bananas and pears. Pack veggies the morning before work and store them in the breakroom fridge until you’re hungry. Note that just because some food is advertised and marketed as having less sugar or lower fat doesn’t necessarily mean that it is an entirely healthy alternative. Generally, the less ingredients, the healthier the product is. Try to cut back on processed foods. Here’s a list of common food myths to help you make informed choices.

Bring Something Nutritious

Many offices will hold pot luck type of events as the holidays approach. Instead of going for the usual dessert, find a healthy recipe to try out instead. With the advent of pinterest and thousands of healthy lifestyle blogs, healthy recipes have never been more accessible. In addition to being healthy, a lot of these options are inexpensive, easy to prepare and very holiday appropriate: case in point.

Exercise Your Mind

We so often focus on our physical well-being and nutrition, only to forget or neglect our minds. The holidays are busy and stressful. Your mind is probably going a million miles a minute. You may associate exercise with work – and think that it is anything but relaxing. However, exercising your body and your mind actually helps to relax you and decrease your stress levels. There are a variety of ways to exercise your mind with programs that focus on brain training. Lumosity is one of the most popular programs designed to specifically train your brain. There are also other methods, both classic and new. The classic methods include completing puzzles, working on Sudoku, and meditating – all of which you can do during a lunch break. Some newer methods include acting like you’re teaching someone else as you complete certain tasks at work. This is shown to help you avoid rushing through projects and making silly mistakes.

Get a Live Plant for Your Desk

New research shows that just one live plant on our desks can make a world of difference to our brains. Working requires a lot of concentration and that can often strain our mental capabilities. Thankfully, plants offer a micro-restorative effect. That is, the strain that comes with working at an office desk for eight hours is lessened by having a live plant in view. The mere sight of a plant refreshes our brain and can help not only heighten our spirits, but also heighten our productivity.

Exercise Your Body – Move

Take a solo stroll over your lunch break or maybe ask a coworker to go with you. Take the stairs on your way up and down. Set an alarm to go off every hour to remind you to get up and move – even if it is just to get a drink of water or go to the bathroom. You can use your computer or your phone to do this. And just in case you are in a collaborative work environment where a loud hourly reminder might be irksome to others around you, download a silent alarm app to get the job done. Maybe you can even add physical activity into your daily commute.

Another way to ensure that you are up and about throughout the day is to consider adding a standing desk to your workspace. To read more about the benefits associated with standing desks, check out NBF’s free whitepaper.

In addition to being active in the workplace, you should also exercise during your down time. The health benefits are tremendous, and, as mentioned previously, physical exercise has been shown to greatly and effectively reduce stress, which is great for both mind and body. Many companies also offer health initiatives and rewards for having a gym and fitness membership which can serve as motivation for you and is win-win situation for everyone.

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