Putting in extra hours at work can be taxing on the body and with the increased effort into your job, it’s too easy to put your health on the back burner. You don’t have to sacrifice your health. It requires putting in a little extra effort, but when you do, you’ll maintain your wellness to keep you on track while prioritizing your physical health. Read on for tips on how you can keep up with your healthy lifestyle when you’re putting in more hours in the office.
Take Frequent Physical Breaks
Sitting down at your desk for hours upon end is not good for the body. Staying inactive for too long can leave your body feeling tense, tight, and painful. “Too often, I’m so engrossed in my work that I forget to move around. When I finally do stand up, I can feel the consequences,” admits Natália Sadowski, Director of Aesthetics at Nourishing Biologicals.
As you’re working, set up an alert to go off every 1-2 hours to remind you to stand up and move around. Do some light stretching, take a walk around the office, or go for a stroll outside. Natália Sadowski relies on her reminders throughout the day. “My smartwatch is set up to remind me to stand up every hour. When the notification goes off, I stand up and take a walk around the block. It takes 5–10 minutes and it’s definitely worth it.”
Prepare Meals and Snacks
When you spend so much of your week at the office, convenience often takes over your food choices. You grab a snack from the vending machine or order food from a nearby restaurant. While this is great now and then, when you practice this type of eating schedule continuously, it can affect your diet. Instead, prepare any meals or snacks for your week so you can more easily stay on track.
Meal prepping for breakfast or lunch can sound daunting, but it’s worth it and will make your day much easier – without having to feel redundant. Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies, uses a trick with her clients to combat menu fatigue. “I have my clients write down their favorite meal options on sticky notes, then place those sticky notes on a calendar to build out their menu for the week. Then, all they need to do is rotate the sticky notes from week to week.” Not only does this practice avoid repetition, but it eliminates decision fatigue, which can be exhausting in and of itself.
When it comes to snacks, stock up your office with nutritious snacks you can grab on the go. Avoid sugary snacks or candies since those foods are less likely to satisfy your hunger. Stock up on crackers, nuts (like almonds), or pretzels. Don’t feel compelled to only bring snacks that can be kept dry. Prepare fresh snacks too like baby carrots or berries to leave in a refrigerator.
Brandon Adcock, Co-Founder and CEO has made a name for himself at Nugenix for his snack habits. “My coworkers tease me for keeping a pantry full of snacks at my desk. But hey, I’m always prepared if I need some fuel to keep my going when things get busy.”
Maintain Your Exercise Routine
Working more hours usually means you have less time for other activities, such as your workout routine. Continue to maintain your current routine as much as possible to keep up with your health. It can require some flexibility with your schedule, but be open to making whatever changes are necessary to ensure your exercise routine doesn’t fall to the wayside.
“During weeks when work gets hectic, I have to switch up my workout routine,” Steven Vigilante, the Head of New Business Development at OLIPOP shares. “If I can’t make it to my yoga class after work, I’ll do a routine at home before bed. If I’m not able to get in my daily walk during lunch, I’ll wake up early the next day to get it in before work. It takes some flexibility to rearrange my schedule, but if I don’t prioritize it, my body is all out of whack.”
Avoid Too Much Caffeine or Sugary Drinks
When pushing through a busy work week, people tend to load up on caffeine to keep them going. But, that practice can have an adverse effect. Drinking too much caffeine can leave you feeling jittery and distracted while consuming too many sugary drinks can cause you to crash.
Co-Founder of TalentSmart, Dr. Travis Bradberry explains the effect of too much caffeine. “Coming off caffeine reduces your cognitive performance and has a negative impact on your mood. The only way to get back to normal is to drink caffeine, and when you do drink it, you feel like it’s taking you to new heights. In reality, the caffeine is just taking your performance back to normal for a short period.”
Prioritize Your Sleep
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, the most important thing you can do for your body is to get enough sleep each night. It is recommended that you get at least 8 hours of sleep each night to avoid fatigue and a lack of concentration and productivity. Working extra hours means you have to make the most out of the time you have, and a lack of sleep prevents you from having the energy to take on a packed day. So, as much as it might take some rearranging, it’s important to make your sleep a priority.
Stephanie Venn-Watson, CEO of Seraphina Therapeutics, learned the hard way that she needed to get more sleep. “I used to try to do it all when my work schedule was packed: workout, meet up with friends, go to events, and attend book club. Naturally, my sleep schedule was affected. I would only get about 5–6 hours of sleep each night. After a while, it really took a toll on my body. As much as I wanted to do it all when work was more demanded, I knew I couldn’t. I had to prioritize my sleep which meant reorganizing how I spent my downtime.”
Working too much can be taxing, but if it’s not something you have to do often, you can learn how to manage the time. Maintaining your health while working long hours takes some flexibility and planning. With the right tools, you’ll be able to work hard at keeping your lifestyle healthy while performing your job well.
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