Six Healthy Habits That You Can Adopt Right Now
From Swedish Covenant Hospital
American’s work—a lot. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some individuals spend an average of three times more hours at work than anywhere else. You can’t always change that fact, but adopting these healthy habits can go a long way in minimizing health risks associated with overworking, so that you can better enjoy the free time do you have.
“When it comes to general wellness, small positive changes can go a long way,” said Dale Swims, D.O., a board-certified internal medicine physician with Swedish Covenant Medical Group. “Maintaining your health is a fulltime job, but it doesn’t have to take the place of your career.”
Here are six things to incorporate into every workday.
- Take breaks between tasks.
A report from Cleveland Clinic Wellness reveals that 30 percent of Americans periodically become too stressed to perform their job adequately. Regular short breaks between tasks are proven to increase productivity by helping you focus and feel accomplished while measuring your progress.
How: Walk to the water cooler or bathroom, stretch at your desk or engage a coworker in a short conversation.
“Anything you can do to get up or move around is going to be ideal,” said Luke Cutler, a personal trainer at Galter LifeCenter. “A great way to track that is with a fitness tracker. It will not only measure your steps but also how long you’re sitting for, encouraging you get up more frequently throughout the day.”
- Unclutter and sanitize your desk.
A well-organized workspace can assist in prioritization and manageability. It’s also important to disinfect your desk regularly. The Cleaning Services Group reports the average desk is home to 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat.
How: Develop a personalized organizational system to sort assignments and tasks and clean the surface of your desk and accessories using cleansing wipes or antiseptic spray.
- Watch what you eat.
What you eat has a dramatic impact on concentration and energy. Healthy snacking helps encourage you to eat smaller lunches and dinners, which can keep you from eating too much and becoming sleepy.
How: Bring healthy snacks to eat at mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
- Monitor your posture, eyesight and blood flow.
Self-awareness in these areas can save you from a variety of aches, pains and injuries.
How: Sit with correct posture, rest your eyes every 20 minutes by focusing at something 20 feet away and try some of these simple, effective stretching exercises that can be done right at your desk.
- Redefine “meetings.”
Active meetings can encourage active participation by improving concentration and prohibiting “zoning out.”
How: Have walking meetings when possible, walk to off-site meetings, visit a coworker’s office when you have questions or take phone calls standing up.
- Take time for yourself.
Whether in the morning, during lunch or after work, it’s important to take time to do the things you love to help you destress and focus on what is important to you.
How: Practice a hobby that you find enjoyable and relaxing.
“I set aside time in the morning before I do anything to have a quiet period in which I read my meditation books and write in my gratitude journal,” said Maki V. Uechi-Brooker, personal trainer and wellness coach at Galter LifeCenter. “To me, practicing activities that focus on stress management is as important if not more important than exercise in living a healthy life.”
Dale A. Swims, D.O., is a board-certified internal medicine physician Swedish Covenant Medical Group. His clinical interests include geriatric and preventive medicine. Call 773-878-6888 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Swims.
Galter LifeCenter is Chicago’s only certified medical fitness center, offering personal training, integrative therapies and a variety of aquatic programs and activities more than 100 free mind/body courses each week. For more information, please call 773-993-1752.