Making your workplace work for you
Recently, I was contemplating some of the more unhealthy choices I had made at my previous workplaces. Now, this information is uncomfortably revealing so please, go easy on me :)
A former business had fresh markets nearby that sold hot donuts and my guilty "one off" pleasure soon developed into a regular sugar laden splurge.
Then there were those super cute heels I insisted on wearing but couldn’t walk very far in, which resulted in me driving my car to appointments only five minutes down the road.
Oh and dare I mention, falling prey to fundraising chocolate.
At the time these indulgences seemed harmless but they all added up to those extra kilos that are so easy to gain, yet so hard to lose.
In making a healthy lifestyle my way of life, rather than a passing fad or a ‘weight loss challenge’, I have had to look closely at how ALL the choices I make affect my health. That means paying regular attention to the little things and making changes or adjustments when needed.
For example, I’ve often found myself sitting at my computer for far too long, so I now have a little timer on my desk to remind me to take regular breaks, stretch and grab a drink of water.
To sabotage the regular “I feel like chocolate” moments, I now prepare healthy snacks in advance. My school children have a program called Crunch and Sip, where they take cut up fruit, vegetables and seeds and keep them on their desk to nibble on during the day. I now make an extra one for myself, which only takes two minutes. Why did I not do that before? Having a jar of nuts and seeds on the desk makes a huge difference.
Next to my office chair, I have a floor mat and palm cards that list exercises I can do when I need to take a break. I have double checked these exercises with my doctor and they are tailored specifically for my physical condition and training goals.
My list includes things like burpees, squats and various stretches I can perform in the small space next to my desk and don’t require any fancy equipment. On the back of the cards, I record when and how I exercise so that I can monitor my performance.
A water bottle is now always by my side. I’d often go hours without drinking and then confuse feeling hungry with simple dehydration. I’m not naturally inclined to drinking water through the day but I feel less hungry and my mind is clearer when I do.
Other items I keep close by are my hat and sunscreen so I can grab them and walk when I need a break and also an exercise bag that holds sneakers, a change of clothes and towel.
I am lucky to have a beautiful park close by but due to time constraints, sometimes I only make it down the road and back. Nonetheless, a 10 minute walk is healthier than wasting time playing on a smart phone (another not so healthy habit of mine).
The best of the recent changes I’ve made is finding a health buddy who motivates and inspires me. While we both have very busy schedules, we make time to squeeze in regular catch ups. While we walk, we chat about how we are going with our goals, swap ideas and recipes and give each other that extra push.
The motivation and ideas I get from her are invaluable and the friendship we’ve developed in the process is pretty awesome too.
DO you think it is time to take a moment to consider what unhealthy habits may have snuck into your working week and what you can do to change them?
Whether you decide to cut out vending machine visits, substitute coffee or soft drink with water, move the things you need out of reach so you have to get up for them or substitute your secret lolly draw with healthier snacks, just do it.
While my office environment does have the potential for me to become comfortable and perhaps fall into some unhealthy habits, I’ve recently been able to identify some key areas of concern, and with new resolve and effective strategies, including regular review, I am now making my workplace work for me.
For more fantastic ideas on how you can make your work day healthier and even help others to become healthier, check out the Your Health at Work brochure on the Healthier Workplace WA website.
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