I have to admit that one of the hardest parts about getting settled into life here in SF is getting used to my new schedule. When I worked in NYC, I was spoiled with a 25 minute commute door-to-door. Here in SF, I spend roughly 2-3 hours a day on the shuttle, commuting to and from the South Bay, which is reminiscent of my (NYC to NJ to NYC) Mars carpool days.
As you can imagine, a long commute like that (tacked on to an even longer work day) can leave a person completely spent. Not to mention, it can mess with your posture, compromise your immune system, cut into your reasonable dinner hour and leave you with little to no motivation to be active once you finally make it home.
But naturally, I hate feeling run down and sluggish (especially due factors that are outside of my control like work and how I get there) which basically means: I need to be smart about how to keep myself focused and healthy when I’m at work.
7 health hacks I (actually!) use at work
- Schedule walking meetings: Whether you walk inside your office building or do an outside loop in the parking lot, walking meetings are an effective way to not only stretch and burn restless energy, but also talk about that upcoming sales pitch/project/assignment. One afternoon in November, I proposed a walk instead of a coffee chat back in November with my friend Jamie and it stuck. Now I try to walk during at least one meeting/call a day.
- Keep the water close-by and remind yourself to drink it: When I first arrive to work, I fill up my large 32 oz. water bottle and keep it visible on my desk. I also have scheduled recurring “meetings” on my work calendar; one that reminds me to drink the water mid-way through the morning, and one that reminds me to refill my water bottle in the early afternoon. If you need more of an incentive, try downloading Plant Nanny (Android/iOS); a hydration reminder app with a cute plant-watering gamefication element.
- Work standing up and/or sitting on an exercise ball: I am fortunate enough to have a standing desk at work, so I try to stand for at least two hours a day. My group also has a shared medicine ball that we take turns using to swap out our desk chairs when we want a change. I try to sit on the medicine ball for 15-30 mins at a time. (This is also an option for those who don’t have access to a standing desk). Both options are great for my helping me with my posture.
- Wipe down your work station. Do yourself a favor. Get yourself some disinfectant wipes and wipe down your work station. IMMEDIATELY. Please. You’d be absolutely horrified to know what can be breeding at your desk, especially if you eat there. I liken not wiping down your desk with using the restroom and walking out without washing your hands. Seriously. (Oh, and while you’re at it, wipe down your computer keyboard and phone, too).
- Take 10 min walk breaks. So I get that you may need to take your calls at your desk or walking isn’t feasible if you need to review a deck. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take a walk/stretch break. Block your calendar and take a 10 walk break. You’ll come back refreshed and even more focused.
- Keep healthy snacks handy. Working out is for my sanity but what do they say? Abs are really made in kitchen? Whatever the saying is, I think you get my point. Try to stay away from the leftover donuts in the conference room. You will do yourself a huge solid by keeping healthy snacks handy. I’m fortunate that I have a lot of healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables and nuts at my disposable, but if you’re looking for ideas, you can check out this awesome post that lists healthy snacks not only for work, but also for kids, for vegans and for holidays & occasions to name a few categories.
- Take the stairs. The part of the Googleplex I currently work in only has 2-3 floors in each building, so I take the stairs all the time (because have you ever been on a crowded elevator that stops at the second floor after picking up everyone on the first floor? Have you then looked around at the death stares everyone gives to the person that gets off? Don’t be that person.) But despite a lack of floors in my current building, in NYC, I worked in a very tall building with 15 floors. Any chance I got I would walk up the stairs, which would basically show how out of shape I am. I still get an E for effort though, right?
Anywho, I figured if these tips are working for me, perhaps they’d work for you, too.
Tell me: What do you do to stay healthy at work?
Disclaimer: While I was not paid for this post, I did partner with Nuts.com to develop this list nifty printable checklist. All opinions are my own.