No gym membership required.
Whether your workdays are spent in a corporate setting or a home office, it's easy to get caught up in the busyness of the day and forget to make wellness a priority. Each work environment may present unique challenges and limitations, but there are plenty of things you can do to make your workday a little healthier.
1. Plan, prep and prioritize.
Spend time each week outlining what you're going to need for the days ahead, both professionally and personally. Do your kids have a school holiday that requires a babysitter? Do you need to plan easy dinners? Maybe your boss is considering a new project, and you need to prepare for a shift in your workload. Make time to mentally prepare for potential challenges that could create last-minute anxiety. This could mean making to-do lists, posting sticky note reminders on your computer, or communicating with your partner about extra support. By putting forth the effort to plan ahead as much as you can, you'll reduce additional stress in the long run.
2. Move more.
It may be hard to make it to the gym for a long workout during the week, but that doesn't mean you can't fit in at least some physical activity. Try to focus on what you can do. Schedule three 10-minute hallway walks with a colleague. Set an alarm to get up, stretch or practice some yoga poses every couple of hours. If you work from home, put 30 minutes on the calendar to walk the dog or hop on the treadmill. Whatever your preference, step away from your computer, phone and work for a few minutes. Moving regularly helps reduce “brain fog,” lowers stress and tension, improves focus and blood flow, and of course, supports overall physical fitness.
3. Make meals a must.
Many of us sometimes skip meals because we don’t feel there’s time to eat when the day is packed with obligations. However, eating regularly is essential for maximizing brain power, maintaining blood sugar levels, improving mood and fueling the body for performance. If you don’t have time to eat breakfast before heading to the office, pick up convenient options, like a healthy breakfast sandwich or granola with Greek yogurt, to eat at your desk. Be sure to have some nutritious snacks available to munch on during the day, so you're not rushing to the vending machine starving. If you can't pack lunch every morning, try batch meal-prepping on Sundays and divide things into grab-and-go containers so you don't have to work too hard in the morning.
4. Schedule breaks and end times.
As women, we often pride ourselves on our ability to juggle many projects all at once, but we don't always remember to take a breather amidst multitasking. It's easy to breeze through a productive day when on a roll, but this can eventually lead to burnout. Instead, set an alarm to take brief mental breaks every few hours. Whether this means time to mindlessly surf the web, walk up and down the stairs, or doodle on a notepad, it's important to rest your mind. The same thing goes for ending your day: If you work 40 hours a week, go home after eight hours. Don't make a habit of staying late "to finish one more thing." This can be overwhelming and makes it difficult to separate personal from professional life. Remember the work will still be in there in the morning.
5. Change your scenery
Everyone can appreciate a change in surroundings to help gain a new perspective or come up with a brilliant new idea. If you work from home, rearrange the direction your desk faces, get a scented candle or spruce up your walls with a new paint color. If you're in a cubicle, add some hardy indoor plants or colorful artwork to make the walls less drab. Take your laptop outside for an hour a day or spend the afternoon working at a coffee shop to get those mental juices flowing. Changing your scenery can help you have a healthier, more inspired and productive day.
These simple changes only involve a little bit of planning and can get you on track to a healthier day, no matter what work gets thrown your way.
Written by Ana Reisdorf for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.