Working at an office can be surprisingly unhealthy. Between sitting all day, eating poorly, and enduring never-ending stress, your office can take a few years off your life. Here’s how to stay healthy and energetic at the office (and make the day go by faster).
10. Eat Healthy, All Day Long
Ever have those days at work where you just feel exhausted and can’t get anything done? There are a lot of ways to solve that problem, but the #1 fix is healthy eating (starting with breakfast). You should eat your most hearty meal in the morning, when you need the most energy, and continue eating healthily throughout the day to avoid crashes during your productive time. Eating lunch away from your desk can help, too. Photo by Martijn van Exel.P
9. Set Up a More Ergonomic Workspace
It may not seem like it, but sitting at your desk all day can wreak havoc with your wrists, back, neck, and other body parts if done improperly. Thankfully, it’s really easy to set up an ergonomic workspace, without spending a ton of money. Most of it is practicing good posture and positioning your keyboard and mouse properly, though a good office chair is a good investment. Photo Joe Loong.
8. Get Up and Move
Having an ergonomic workspace isn’t enough, though—all that sitting is still killing you. So, to keep yourself healthy and really avoid RSI injury, it’s important to take frequent breaks. All you need is five minutes every once in awhile—in fact, we’ve created a schedule template that’ll make sure you get enough time away from your workspace. If you really want to get out of that chair,a standing desk can be a really great solution too—many people, including Lifehacker’s own founding editor Gina Trapani, swear by it. Photo remixed from dgilder.
7. Avoid Eyestrain at Your Computer
Ever get eye pain or headaches at the end of the day, but aren’t really sure why? It’s probably from staring at that computer all day. The aforementioned breaks can help combat eyestrain quite a bit, but a few of us at Lifehacker have also found that computer-oriented glasses like Gunnars can make a big difference, too. Photo by bark.P
6. Be Friends with Your Coworkers
Coworkers can be distracting and annoying, but being friends with them can actually make work a lot less stressful. In fact, one study even found that people who were friendly with their coworkers actually lived longer. Even if we’re just talking productivity, knowing which coworkers will help you in a bind is incredibly useful, and easy to do with a single email. As long as you keep yourself from getting distracted, office friends can actually be good for your productivity and health. Photo by Andrey Popov (Shutterstock)
5. Fit More Exercise Into Your Schedule
Getting regular exercise is one of the best ways to stay healthy and keep your energy level up, but getting regular exercise with a demanding job is tough. You can work small bouts of exercise into your day without a full “workout.” Working out at work is possible, but tough, so it’s up to you to try things out and see what works. Photo by auremar.
4. Cultivate Personal Rituals that Keep You Sane
It may seem silly, but little personal rituals during the day—whether it’s a relaxing afternoon cup of tea or kicking back with the funnies—can really improve your mental and physical health. So don’t neglect them! You should already be taking a few breaks during the day (see tip #8), so use them to your advantage. Having a good daily routine can go a long way. Photo by coolfonzies.
3. Get Better Sleep (or Sneak In a Nap)
You already know lack of sleep is bad for your work and health, but few of us actually do something about it. Well, it’s time. Try sneaking in a nap at work if you can’t force yourself to get enough sleep at night. Even a short power nap can keep you productive and creative. Justmake sure your nap isn’t too short (or too long) and you’ll be on your way to a more productive workday.
2. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Working yourself to the bone can create stress and really weigh on your health. If you’re a regular reader of Lifehacker, you know our main philosophy is to work smart, not hard: that means using your time efficiently, doing your most important work during your body’s high-energy hours, and avoiding the “cult of busy.” The smarter you work, the less time you have to spend stressing out over everything you have to do.
1. Go Home
Building off the above: more hours does not equal more work. Ask yourself: how many hours do you work a week? Most research shows that if it’s over 40 hours, you’re hurting your productivity, your health, and your income (since you’re working fewer hours for the same pay). The key? Stop working and go home at night. It’s more challenging than it sounds, but it’s well worth it!