If you’re an office worker like me who works in high-stress environments, health is often something we choose to ignore because we feel as though there isn’t enough time in the day to finish our work, nonetheless squeeze in a cross-fit circuit. And as we distract ourselves on social media, we see “active lifestyle” influencers who seemingly spend hours at the gym each day and only eat based on restricted diets.
In our suits at our desks munching on office chips, we tell ourselves since we’re too busy and tired to be counting calories, we’re justified in placing our health on the back burner. The truth is that those of us in high-stress environments—or busy offices in general—can live one of those seemingly unattainable “active lifestyles” with the right tools.
Here are five ways you can squeeze in your health without changing your schedule:
1. Drink more water and less coffee.
I know this seems impossible for some of us—I myself have about five cups of caffeine per day—but five cups of coffee alone makes my body feel sluggish in the long run, because I’m not staying hydrated. Bring a reusable water bottle with you to work, and if you really can’t let go of the caffeine, opt. for caffeine and electrolyte water additives.
2. Eat breakfast before arriving at the office.
It’s tough to resist the temptation of morning donuts in the break room, and we don’t all have the time to get up early and scramble some eggs. Opt to shop smarter, such as buying quick grab-and-go protein bars. These days, I make overnight oats twice per week right before bed, because it only takes about five minutes to throw the ingredients into a jar, shake it up, and let the fridge do the work.
3. Bring your own lunch.
If you have a healthy, filling lunch at your desk, you’re less likely to go explore the break room for options. A high protein lunch will give you midday energy to avoid the 3:00pm slump. And it doesn’t matter if salads aren’t your thing, bringing a properly portioned lunch of something you find delicious will have the same effect.
4. Be active during your lunch break.
Most office workers take an hour lunch and don’t use that whole time just to eat. Instead of hopping on Facebook to see the neighborhood gossip, take those 10-15 minutes to do some squats at your desk or stretch out your hips and back.
5. Manage your stress.
Finding a healthy way to manage your stress is imperative when you work in a high-stress or busy environment, because high stress levels affect your mood, energy, productivity, motivation, and even your weight. Something as simple as squishing a stress ball or taking a deep breath can recharge your whole body and improve your overall performance.
As a law student soon-to-be lawyer, I’ve had my setbacks with maintaining the ideal healthy lifestyle we all hear so much about. During college, I felt that I had the perfect routine comprised of fun and fitness: get up early to go to the gym; drink a protein shake on the go; indulge in office lunch; head to class; go out with friends for dinner; and come home with time to throw on Netflix with my roommate, paired with a glass of wine, before calling it an early night. But since starting law school a little over three years ago—not to mention no longer having the metabolism of a student in her early twenties—I’ve sacrificed my health for professional success. I can blame it on the bottomless office snacks, or all the times my supervising attorney has asked me to work through the night on a legal
memorandum, but the truth is I chose to sacrifice health for professional success when I didn’t have to. Prioritize yourself and your health the same way you would prioritize your boss’s last-minute requests.
This blog post was written by POPFLEX POWERGIRL Alex-Marie.