As a busy professional, you take pride in all the hard work you perform every day and throughout the week. But all the long hours in the office can take their toll on your health. Even the activities you do outside the office that lead into your workday can impact your mind and body.
Are you guilty of these six unhealthy work habits? If so, today is the day to make some changes.
1. Sitting at Your Desk All Day Long
One of the worst ways that people damage their health at work is that they sit at their desks — or in their vehicles — all day long. A sedentary lifestyle has been known to increase risk for all kinds of diseases and illnesses including obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and sciatica.
It might be difficult to avoid sitting all day, due to the nature of your work, but there are a lot of things you can do to improve your circulation, get some sunshine and fresh air, stretch out your muscles and joints and burn a few extra calories — all of which can decrease your health risks.
Here are some ideas:
– use a standup or adjustable desk
– take frequent breaks to get up and walk around
– eat lunch while walking around outside the building
– ride a bike or walk to the bus stop instead of driving to work every day
2. Rushing to Work
Hurrying to work every single morning can also be hazardous to your health in a couple of ways.
First, you endanger yourself, everyone in the car with you and everyone on the road and sidewalks around you when you drive to work in a hurry. Leaving the house just 5-10 minutes earlier can make all the difference in the world.
Second, constantly stressing out about the time and worrying about being late to work can take its toll on your mental and physical health. Throw in a spouse and kids, and you aren’t just making yourself feel miserable every morning — you’re impacting your family as well.
One of the best things you can do to ease into your morning and avoid the rush is to simply get more rest and go to sleep earlier the night before. It can take time to reset your internal time clock, but the benefits are definitely worth the effort.
Prepare for work before going to bed the night before. Pick out your clothes. Pack your briefcase. Do meal prep on the weekends so that your breakfasts and lunches are all cooked, portioned out and ready to go in microwaveable containers.
Doing all this prep ahead of time will take a lot of pressure off yourself. Building a morning routine and evening routine into your life can help you get out the door in the morning with a lot less stress, less yelling at the kids and less worrying about tardiness.
3. Consuming Junk Food and Coffee Every Day
We’ve been told a million times about the dangers of hitting the drivethru every day, but millions of Americans still choke down greasy burgers, fries and other fried, processed junk on their lunch break every day.
Stop doing that and opt for salads, fresh sandwiches and veggie plates instead.
And as for coffee: accept the fact that coffee does not equal breakfast. Not only is skipping real food bad for your health, but running all morning on caffeine can cause serious health risks such as stomach ulcers, heart attacks and anxiety.
4. Gossiping with Coworkers
Sticking your nose into gossip and office politics might not seem to carry health risks on the surface, but it’s hard to argue that getting worked up about who’s been doing what is good for your mental health, professional relationships and productivity.
Nobody thinks of themselves as being a drama queen, but if you see yourself in this list below, then you are guilty as charged.
– thinking people are always out to get you
– starting conversations with emotional clickbait
– holding grudges
– talking more than listening
– overdramatizing small problems
5. Working Long Hours With Few Real Vacations
Many people today are workaholics, and their ambitions are causing major health problems. Stress can wreak havoc on your physical health, your mental health, your emotions and your productivity.
What matters most is the value that you produce more than the sheer number of hours that you put in at the office. Learn to prioritize your tasks. Delegate everything that can be done by someone else with a lower pay grade and focus on your most important tasks.
Also, take a vacation. Take a real vacation. And don’t take your work with you. There’s no point sitting on a beach in Cancun for a week if all you do is stress about work.
6. Staring at a Computer Screen for Eight Hours a Day
Digital eye strain is another health problem caused by excessive hours looking at computer screens. To correct this issue, use monitors designed to reduce eye strain by reducing contrast and blue light emissions. When doing computer work at home, keep the whole room well-lit to further reduce eye strain.
Working hard at your job shouldn’t equate to running your body and brain into the ground. To perform at your best in life — including at your job — you need to maintain a healthy balance between work and play with plenty of social activity mixed in. Take a look at your work environment and see if you can make any of the changes above to improve your health and eliminate bad work habits.