7 tips for a healthy work life

Do you feel stressed at work all the time? Assuming you work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for an average of 22 days per month, between the ages of 20 and 65, and with 20 days’ leave per year, you will, in a normal lifespan, spend about 90,000 hours working – that’s 10 solid years at work (24/7/365), which excludes time getting to and from your job.

How does one have a successful career without sacrificing personal time and family? The concept of a work-life balance is defined as proper prioritising between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development).

The first step in obtaining the optimal work-life balance is by achieving good health because if we are healthy, we feel better about ourselves and have more energy to manage our lives. Since most of our time is spent at work it’s a good place to maintain good health.

Here are 7 tips to keep healthy during your working day:

1. Start with a good breakfast

Even for manual labour, your brain is probably the organ you will most use on the job. It burns about 300 calories, or 20%, of your total intake per day – and it gets that energy from glucose. So, if you skip breakfast you’re headed for a binge of biscuits and tea by 10 am, which will spike your blood sugar and you will eventually gain weight. If you’re pressed for time, most bosses will have no problem if you eat some fruit and yoghurt at your desk at 8 am whilst you check emails.

2. Follow that up with a good lunch

The law mandates break times during working hours, so don’t be a martyr and work through your break. Everyone needs a time out. Have a salad or a healthy sandwich, and if you can, get some fresh air on your face.

3. Drink lots of water

Our bodies are made up of 70% water, so there’s a reason we need it. Tea and coffee are stimulants, so make sure to offset heavy beverage drinking with lots of water.

4. Use the stairs

It may be challenging if you’re on the 49th floor of the Carlton, or if you work in a single-storey office park, but the point is this: get some exercise. It’s a great stress reliever from work pressures. Park the car far from the entrance and take the back exit when you leave. If your company offers gym facilities, grab them, or start a running club with your work friends.

5. Get the work done

Nothing stresses you out – and annoys the boss – more than not sticking to your deadlines and meeting your outputs for the tasks you have been set. Politely tell chatty co-workers that you need to knuckle down and do your job. When you’ve cleared it off your plate, the psychological release is enormous, and the boss will be impressed if it’s good work delivered on time.

6. De-clutter your desk and your computer

Having too many windows open on your PC and scratching around for your pen under a mountain of paperwork, slows you down and clouds the mind, and this just leads to more stress. For clarity and efficient use of your mind space, keep your desk neat. When it dissolves into chaos again, take five minutes and re-organise it. Make this a habit.

7. Get some sleep

It may be that your best mate has their birthday party one night during the week, or you had to pull an all-nighter for your job. Life happens. Make sure that you get enough sleep the next night then, and don’t make all-night partying, TV, phone surfing or work a habit. Adults should be getting at least 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night in order to recharge properly for the next day.

If you’re battling with work balance, seek the help of a medical professional as soon as you can, and try not to let stress and unhealthy living get the better of you.

For more information please contact:
Lana Pitt Occupational Therapist
BSC OT (Wits)
Daxina Private Hospital
+27 87 087 0644
Info@lenmed.co.za

Disclaimer: Any information contained here is merely a guideline. Always visit your healthcare practitioner for any health-related advice or diagnosis.

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