The 5 Building Blocks for a Healthy Day at Work
It’s important to lay a solid foundation to give yourself every chance of having a healthy and a productive day at work. There will always be factors that impact our day that are outside of our control. How we deal with these unplanned issues and events is important and the more prepared we are the better chance we have of hurdling them successfully without allowing them to negatively impact our day.
There are 5 areas that are fully within our control that I always try to stay on top of. They are the building blocks of my day and lay the foundations for my most productive days at work.
1. Get Sleep
8 hours seems to be the magic number for me. I usually aim to be in bed 8.5 to 9 hours before my alarm is due to go off in the morning to allow for any delays or interruptions!
I find I sleep a lot better when I have exercised during the day and if I’ve hit my step target. I try not to exercise late at night as this can lead to problems nodding off.
I try to avoid eating a large meal too late in the evening and I stay away from stimulants (caffeine in particular) after 3pm in the afternoon.
Routine is great for a healthy sleep cycle. When possible I go to bed and wake at the same time every day, even on weekends.
2. Eat Well
I eat good quality whole foods as much as possible. A treat every now and then is totally fine, I’d say I eat clean about 90% of the time with 10% made up of “weekend food”.
I keep an eye on the 3 P’s when it comes to food:
- Preparation – meals and snacks ready for work in advance when possible
- Portion size – I prefer smaller sized meals 4 to 5 times a day compared to 3 huge meals
- Processed – I avoid processed foods if at all possible
I don’t stick to any particular diet or fad. Good quality whole foods with a balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. While I don’t specifically follow it, my diet is probably closest to the Mediterranean diet and I do love the fact that exercise is included among all the foodstuffs in the base of the Mediterranean diet food pyramid.
3. Move More
Two areas that I consider here
a) Physical Exercise
The World Health Organisation guidelines for healthy adults state that we should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week (or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity) plus at least two resistance training sessions. The good news is that a brisk walk and even gardening can be considered as moderate intensity aerobic activity. The resistance training sessions don’t mean that you have to hit the gym, it could include bodyweight training that you do at home or in the park and even a yoga or pilates session.
These are the minimum requirements for a healthy adult by the way.
Are you hitting the minimum targets??
b) Active at Work
Studies are showing that even those that are physically active outside of work are still at risk of illness and disease if they are inactive and sedentary during their working day. Headlines in recent years such as “Sitting is killing you” and “Sitting is the new smoking” are perhaps a little sensational but the point is very well made. Being sedentary for long periods of time is not good for your health.
You should stand up, move around and take a break from your desk every 30 to 40 minutes. Take at least 5 minutes of a break each time and if you can get outdoors then even better.
4. Stay Hydrated
If you consider that we get about 20% of our daily fluid intake from food (such as water rich fruits and vegetables) then we should be targeting roughly 70% of our daily fluid intake to come from water (that’s a little over 2 litres for men and around 1.5 litres for women). The remaining 10% can be made up of the other fluids taken in moderation such as teas, coffee, milk, juices etc.
Staying hydrated will help you be more alert, focused and concentrated at your daily tasks.
5. Stress Less
Easier said than done of course but I find a few simple hacks help reduce stress significantly in my working day:
- Arriving at least 5 minutes before the start of every meeting
- Remembering that less is often more
- Having a positive attitude
- Accepting that multitasking (for me) kills excellence
- Writing down a realistic priority list of tasks for the day ahead
- Allowing for down time during the day
- Ensuring that the 4 areas already mentioned above are included in my day (Sleep, Nutrition, Activity, Hydration)
My customers expect me to have high standards of health, safety and wellbeing so by ensuring that I manage the elements of my day that are within my control, I find I’m better prepared to deal with the unexpected issues and events that come my way.
You can do the same. Lay the foundation to a healthy day by being more conscious of the 5 building blocks above in your daily routine.
Yours in health,
P.S I love talking about health and wellbeing so drop me a line to discuss any of the above. I'd be happy to support you or your business with their wellness objectives.
Contact me directly with any questions you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org
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