Tips For Maintaining Healthy Habits After Returning To Work
Concentrate on activity, diet, and relaxation techniques.
Long hours spent looking at a computer at your office workstation. Bumper-to-bumper commuting adds hours of idle time. A crammed schedule that forces you into a drive-thru queue for meals from a paper sack.
Sighhh. That wasn’t your life during the COVID-19 pandemic’s work-from-home era when you had time for short walks around the neighborhood and prepared lunches.
Don’t worry: you can keep and grow on the good habits you acquired at your home office. Sandra Darling, DO, a preventative medicine specialist, argues that all it takes is a little forethought.
So let’s get started on developing a strategy.
Find strategies to keep yourself active at work.
Sitting at your desk for eight hours may be quite taxing. There’s another reason for this: it makes you fatigued. Long periods of inactivity cause your body to enter a sleep state, resulting in weariness.
When you start moving, your energy levels rise. “When you raise your heart rate, endorphins — those feel-good chemicals in your body — are released,” explains Dr. Darling.
What’s the good news? You may release endorphins by doing simple things like:
- Parking is available at the far end of the lot. (Yes, that means passing up the tempting open spot only feet from the door.)
Taking the steps rather than the elevator.
- Making use of a standing desk. Dr. Darling recommends standing for 10 minutes per hour to break up long periods of sitting. “Sitting less will enhance your metabolism,” she explains.
- Consider acquiring an under-the-desk exercise bike to cycle during your day to amp up your workplace activity. They are reasonably priced, with some variants costing less than $50.
“You can keep your legs moving while working,” Dr. Darling advises. “It’s an excellent way to include physical exercise into your day.”
Using a smartwatch to track steps may also be motivating. If you notice that you’ve only done 1,000 steps by midday, you could decide to go for a quick afternoon stroll instead of sitting down to sip a coffee.
The trick is just to seek out opportunities to work your body. Dr. Darling points out that this does not necessitate a 30-minute workout at the gym (though it is ideal if you can fit it into your schedule).
“It doesn’t have to be a structured workout,” she explains. “All I need is more activity.”
As an added bonus, this increased physical activity can provide other advantages such as:
- Boosting your mood.
- Anxiety, stress, and sadness may all be reduced.
- Enhancing your sleep.
- Reduce your weight.
Plan nutritious snacks and lunches for the office.
Making less-than-healthy food choices is frequently a result of a more hectic schedule. “It’s so simple to grab convenience meals or fast food for lunch,” Dr. Darling explains.
Avoiding that trap necessitates some meal and snack planning.
Weekend batch cooking might help keep lunch boxes stocked during the workweek. Foods that may be prepared ahead of time, such as grilled chicken, brown rice, and steamed broccoli, provide the foundation for healthful packed meals.
“It’s easy, delicious, and satisfying, and it provides you with the nutrition you need to get through the day,” adds Dr. Darling.
To avoid using the office vending machine for snacks, keep healthful convenience foods on hand at your desk. Examples include:
- Nut mixture
- Fruit, either fresh or dried
- Pouches of tuna or salmon
“It’s vital to spend the time ahead of time to prepare nutritious food that you can bring to work,” adds Dr. Darling. “A healthy lifestyle does need some effort.” I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to prepare ahead.”
Accept relaxing activities both during and after your working
Don’t overlook the additional stress that may come with returning to the office amid continued pandemic fears, advises Dr. Darling. Relaxation techniques can aid in the prevention of stress.
She advised the following activities:
- Yoga may be practiced at home or at work
- Deep breathing and meditation
- A stroll in the woods
Limit your screen time spent looking around social media or watching TV as well. Also, get enough sleep so that you may start each day refreshed and ready for what’s ahead.
“The simple fact is that there is a lot of tension right now,” Dr. Darling explains. “We can’t alter what happened, but we can change how we react to it.”