Workplace wellness: tips and tricks to keep well in your workplace

Avoiding wellness in the workplace can seriously impact health and productivity. Here are tips and tricks to keep well in your workplace.

It’s estimated that we spend one-third of our lives at work (1). Our occupations can either have a positive or negative impact on our health, depending on the type of work we do, how much we enjoy it, and the habits we bring to the office. 

Promote productivity, increase energy and focus, and become a role model for your colleagues with these tips and tricks to keep well in your workplace. 

Pack nutrients into your pack lunch 

Packing your own lunch, whether it’s leftovers or a freshly assembled entre, is an excellent way to embrace your workplace wellness. Research suggests that people who frequently cook meals at home (about six or seven nights a week) eat healthier and also eat less calories than those who cook less (2). 

An easy way to think about the perfect packed lunch is to include all three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat), always include at least one vegetable then potentially adding a fruit as dessert. Try choosing one from each section:

  • Protein: eggs, beans, tofu, chicken, fish.
  • Carbohydrate: brown rice, whole grain pasta, potato, whole grain bread. 
  • Fat: avocado, oil, nuts, seeds. 
  • Vegetables of your choice.
  • Fruit

Leftovers from last night’s dinner make for a perfect packed lunch. For instance, maybe you have brown rice. Add some chopped tofu, mixed vegetables, and sesame oil. Or if you like a classic lunch, prepare a quick sandwich with hard boiled eggs, avocado, and tomato on whole grain bread. 

Eat lean at the cantine 

If you prefer to eat out when you’re at work, focus on keeping it simple. Use the above meal structure as a guide -- including protein, carb, fat, and a fruit and/or vegetable. If you want to reduce your calorie intake, focus on filling your plate with vegetables, lean protein and whole grain products and lower the amount of sauces and toppings since they can have an unexpected calorie amount. When it comes to sides, substitute fries for a small salad or steamed vegetables. 

If you’re uncertain which cantine foods are healthy, try out a helpful nutrition app to help guide you.

Stick to a schedule 

Creating an eating schedule can help regulate your body processes and what’s called your circadian rhythm. This is your internal clock that regulates systems such as when you’re awake and sleep. Circadian rhythms influence everything from your metabolism, to blood sugar, cholesterol, and can even influence your mental health (3). 

Eating regularly can also help balance your blood sugar and energy levels, keeping you from reaching dips that lead you straight to the vending machine. Your ideal meal timing may differ, but as a rule of thumb, aim to eat ahead of your hangry levels. 

Here’s a guideline of an eating schedule you can use at work:

  • Breakfast: within an hour of waking
  • Lunch: four to five hours after breakfast
  • Snack: two to three hours after lunch
  • Dinner: around 5-7 hours after lunch 

Step-up your snack game

With the exception of following a restricted eating window, such as intermittent fasting, eating healthy snacks throughout the day can be helpful and healthy. Some studies suggest that eating more frequently can help curb hunger, therefore preventing some cravings and overeating (4). 

Having nutritious snacks available during your workday can help keep you energized and productive. If you don’t have access to a refrigerator, you can bring foods that are non-perishable

Focus on snacks that include a source of protein (yogurt, egg, nut butter) and fiber (fruit, vegetable sticks, whole grain crackers). That’s because both protein and fiber can keep your blood sugar balanced, leading to more steady energy (5). 

If you have a refrigerator, keep some low-fat Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, low fat cheese, or hard boiled eggs on hand. If you don’t, stock up on snacks that can be stored at your desk, in your car, or in a pantry such as nuts, unsweetened dried fruit, and granola bars. Just watch for sneaky sugars or make your own: No Bake Energy Bars

Just keep moving

Staying active throughout the day can help improve your motor function, attention, and even how fast you think; all of which can improve your work performance and productivity. Studies suggest that when a fitness-based workplace wellness program is offered the employees were more present in their work and performed significantly better (6). 

Making small habit changes has been suggested to be more successful (7). After sitting at your desk for extended periods of time, getting up to move or exercise may sound like the last thing you want to do. But once you get moving, the blood starts to flow and you may find an increase in energy. Start with a small and attainable goal such as committing to a 10 minute walk, then see how you feel from there. 

Every bit adds up. Consider biking or walking part of the way to work. When in the office, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Don’t forget the importance of breaks for quick stretches or why not do movements such as push-ups, chair pose, jumping jacks or squats. 

Wellness that works for you

It’s difficult to make changes to your daily habits, especially when you’re in a sometimes stressful situation such as work. 

Recruit your co-workers to join along on your health journey. Start a walking group or find a fitness class that you can attend together. Encourage each other to eat healthy meals together. Or inspire one another with new healthy recipes such as ones found on a meal planning app.

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All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice.

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