Archives for posts with tag: office health

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More than eight out of ten Americans report being stressed out about their jobs for one reason or another.  And then there is the added stress that is inherent in our personal lives. Stress can lead to physical harm as severe as heart disease or diabetes, so it’s important that we learn how to keep it in check—especially in the office. Everyone has their own way of managing stress, but if you find yourself struggling, take a look at some of the ideas below on how to introduce some restoration and relaxation into your daily routine.

1. Yoga

It’s not just for soccer moms and spiritual soul searchers – yoga refocuses the mind, activates the central nervous system, and improves digestion (among other benefits), while being a great workout, to boot. Do a quick Google search for yoga studios around your area to find one that has a class that will cater to what you’re looking for. If you just want an hour all to yourself where you can focus on your breathing and tune out the rest of the world, maybe try a relax and restore class. If it’s harder for you to shut off your brain, go for something that will challenge you physically to allow you to block out external factors, like a Vinyasa flow or a heated power class. (And if you prefer, there are some great yoga instructors on YouTube for you to try in the privacy of your own home.) Regardless of what you choose, there’s guaranteed to be something that will float your boat and give you that escape you need to destress.

2. Deep Breathing

Taking a page out of yoga’s book, deep breathing is one of the quintessential stress management techniques. Since stress raises our heart rate and puts additional strain on the heart and nervous system, it’s important to make sure we can regulate that heart rate when the pressure really starts to kick in. The next time you’re battling a tight deadline at work or need to manage a high conflict situation, take thirty seconds to do some deep breathing exercises. Inhale for a count of five, and then exhale for that same five count. Or, imagine your torso is a glass of water—your inhale fills the glass from the bottom (your lower stomach) all the way to the top (the top of your chest). The exhale empties it. Even after just a few breaths you’ll notice your heart rate starting to slow, reestablishing a sense of ease and calm.

3. Stay Present

If you’re anything like me, part of the reason you’re stressed is because there are so many things going on in your life. You’ve got twenty things to juggle at one time for work, ten different social media outlets that you follow in your spare time, friends and family to spend time with, household chores—the list goes on and on. That leads to a lot of multi-tasking, which I could argue creates some of the stress we feel every day. Harvard conducted a study in 2010 that showed people spend 46.9% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they are doing, and that this generally makes them unhappy. A wandering mind is not a happy mind, nor is it the most productive. Staying present not only allows you to devote your entire self to any activity, but it also prevents quick trigger reactions that could have negative results. So when you find yourself in a high-stress situation, take a step back, analyze the situation, do some deep breathing for a minute or two, and then react. You’ll probably find yourself making much more calm and calculated decisions as a result.

These are just a handful of ways to easily introduce a little more relaxation into your daily life, and there are countless others that do the trick just as well—maybe better! Let us know how you manage stress in your life in the comments.

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Today’s workers are more mobile than ever before, and it’s easy to get distracted from your workplace wellness priorities when you’re constantly moving between different work environments. From investing in ergonomic furniture to choosing healthier food options, here are some great ways to keep on top of your health in the busy office!

Staying Active

You might really love Cross-Fit, while I’m a huge yoga fan. As long as you’re getting in at least 3 decent workouts a week, you’ll be doing your body some good and ensuring you have the energy needed to be productive in the office. Here’s what the American Heart Association recommends:

  • At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 times per week for a total of 150

OR

  • At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity

AND

  • Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits
  • For lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, an average of 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 or 4 times per week

That’s all well and good, but what about when you’re not exercising or sleeping—the other 15.5 hours of your day? Don’t forget about proper posture and ergonomics, because those are just as important for keeping your body in tune (and pain-free) while you work as working out regularly can be.

  • When seated, ensure that you’re maintaining a healthy posture: Keep your feet on the ground, your back supported with back of your chair, and make sure your feet, legs and arms are well supported. Also make sure that your neck and shoulders remain relaxed and supported.  Posture is important for blood flow and overall comfort throughout the day.
HON's ergonomics tips

Slide designed for HON Training2Go

“Remember to change your postures frequently and avoid sedentary behaviors by adjusting positions, standing and walking periodically throughout the day, recommends HNI’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Manager, Lauren Gant, PhD, CPE.

Drink like a fish.

Are you drinking enough water? Want an easy way to make sure you are? Give Plant Nanny a try.

Use the Plant Nanny App to stay hydrated

Plant Nanny may sound (and look) like something that is meant for your 10 year old niece, but it’s a fun way to keep you adequately hydrated. You can personalize your account to determine how much water per day you truly need, and then the app sends you reminders throughout the day if you haven’t logged your intake. It’s incredibly helpful, especially when you’re busy.

Some other tips to help you get enough water throughout the day:

  • Start your day with some herbal tea or warm water with lemon to fire up your digestive system.
  • Throw a few spare water bottles in the car for when you’re stuck in traffic or just forget your regular bottle.
  • Keep a HON mug or water bottle visible at your desk so you remember to sip throughout the day.

Eating Right

Lacking your nutrition? There’s an app for that. My go-to is MyFitnessPal, because it’s great regardless of whether you’re trying to lose weight, maintain, or just make sure you’re getting the right nutrients.

Use MyFitnessPal to stay healthy in the office

If you don’t have time to track every single thing you’re eating, that’s okay, too.

  • Bring healthy snacks with you every day so that you aren’t tempted by the candy bar you’ve been hiding in the back of your desk drawer when mid-day hunger strikes.
  • Eat the cake that was ordered in for Mary Sue’s birthday (in moderation). Forbidding yourself from having any treats can lead to binges or overall poor eating habits. So have a slice of birthday cake (just ask for a smaller piece) and have some extra vegetables with dinner instead of that baked potato to balance it out.
  • Start with salad (or carrots, or spinach, or celery). Not only does this help make you feel fuller faster, but the fiber in veggies like these help coat your stomach to optimize your digestive enzymes and make it easier for your body to process your dinner.

You may have heard these recommendations before, or you may not have. Either way, I hope that they help you stay on track with your own health and wellness goals, whatever they may be.

What else do you do to stay healthy in your office?

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and thoughts of all things “holiday” have begun to flood our minds: the excitement of seeing family and friends, re-living our favorite traditions, and the ever-important holiday practice – eating! The easiest decision in the face of this seemingly endless buffet is to go on a 2-month hiatus from every trace of health-conscious habitude you had prior.  This is ultimately a personal choice; however, I propose you consider the road less traveled.

Why not make this year a healthier holiday? I have provided several ideas below for making healthier choices this season, applicable to both the office and the home.

1. MAKEOVER YOUR RECIPES

When preparing a dish for a work party or family gathering, consider researching a “lighter” version of the recipe to make ingredient substitutions that improve nutritional value. Many traditional full-fat, high-calorie dishes are easily made over without sacrificing flavor. For example, one Green Bean Casserole recipe from EatingWell.com skips the canned soup and all of the fat and sodium that comes with it by substituting a lighter, homemade white sauce. See the full recipe here.

Other helpful websites:

Thanksgiving2

The Skinny Taste blog offers lightened up thanksgiving recipes, healthy holiday recipes and skinny fall recipes.

Thanksgiving3

The Chocolate Covered Katie blog will help you find the perfect healthy dessert recipes to add to your holiday meals.

2. MAKE TIME FOR EXERCISE

Free time is limited during the holidays, which makes us more apt to put fitness on the back burner. Exercise is important in easing stress and preventing weight gain, and can foster the motivation needed to consistently make healthy choices. Consider the following ideas for fitting exercise into your routine.

  • Start your day with exercise. This will free up your evenings for other holiday-related tasks.
  • If you’re not a morning person, try walking or running outside, or visiting a local gym over your lunch hour.
  • Walk or run a local race with your family, friends, and/or coworkers. Many communities have an annual “Turkey Trot” on Thanksgiving and a holiday-themed race in December.
  • Training in preparation for the event can be instrumental in boosting motivation.
  • Click here for upcoming races in the Muscatine, Iowa area, courtesy of the Cornbelt Running Club.

3. EAT SMARTER

The holidays are a notoriously celebratory, emotional, and sometimes stressful time, and with food thrown into the mix it can be more difficult than ever to maintain self-control. Try these simple methods for eating smarter this year:

  • It may seem logical to skip breakfast and lunch to save calories for eating whatever looks tasty at the afternoon office party. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
  • When meals are skipped, the likelihood of overeating increases as your appetite is stronger than usual once you allow yourself to eat.
  • Instead, try to eat portion-controlled meals at mealtime, and allow yourself to have a special treat at the party.
  • Another effective method to battle the urge to overeat is to track your intake throughout the day.
  • There are numerous free apps that allow you to input what you’ve eaten and provide an outline of your daily progress. This creates accountability in providing a visual summary of your choices.

Relax. Allowing yourself a second (or third) piece of pie doesn’t mean you’ve thrown all self control out the window. Forgive yourself and move forward, always keeping your end goal in mind.

What are some other healthy tips you would add to our list?

How to Resist Your Co-Workers

I’m not talking about the lure of the small town interoffice relationships, I’m talking about how summer’s coming, I’m getting married, and I’m trying to be healthy. (Yes, summer is coming.)  What can I do to get back in shape for all of that?  For the majority of my college career to fund my education I was a Personal Training Coordinator who oversaw the personal training at our local gym and helped many individuals get back into shape or better their shape and overall happiness.  For one reason or another travel, late nights, missed lunches or lunches out all add up.  One day I went to bed a strapping young man, then the next I woke up having to find another belt to strap it all in.  I am putting the knowledge I have learned from my previous life and having lost over 50 pounds to return my own body to its former glory…  Here are the tricks that I am using along the way that might just help you too!  I call it the RESIST approach…

R-ealization

E-ating right

S-leep

I-can

S-ay no

T-ime

Read the rest of this entry »

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