WORK-LIFE BALANCE / AUG. 04, 2014
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How to Work Full-Time Maintaining Your Health

"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver." - Gandhi

Working full-time is not only time consuming, but tiring. It is a reality that many of us face and our health appears to suffer the consequences. The week is packed with deadlines, clients, schedules, and so much more. It’s stressful dealing with a packed work week, and the weekend tends to whiz by.

Healthy living is more than bringing an apple to work. You need to train yourself to live a healthy lifestyle. Once you make crucial changes, these habits will become more routine.

Tips to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle While Working Full-Time

There are various aspects to healthy living. You need to find a balance between both work and a healthy lifestyle. Once this is achieved, you are bound to feel the best you can. You will also increase productivity, decrease stress levels, and feel happier and healthier overall.

AMP UP YOUR HEALTH: NUTRITION

A nutrient-rich diet is the first thought for many in terms of healthy living. We are essentially what we eat, craving various essential nutrients. Our body utilizes all that food has to offer, extracting beneficial elements.

Just as healthy foods have a positive effect on our health, a poor diet will have the opposite effect. If you’re living off pizza, crisps, and soda, there’s a good chance you lack the energy you need to get through the work week. 

Photo credit: AmazingAlmond

 

1. Eat Breakfast

Eating breakfast is so important. Not only does it kick start your day, but it provides you with the energy you need to continue through your morning. The problem with working full-time is the lack of time and energy you have.

There are many options that are quick and easy. Sit down and make a list of easy to make breakfasts. Plan in advance if you’re not a morning person. Perhaps you can prepare your granola the night before. That way, when you wake up, you can dump your homemade granola and nuts onto some fresh, organic yogurt. Fruit is always a great choice because it travels easily. 

If you can cope with getting up a few minutes earlier, get creative. Eggs provide you with high levels of protein. You can quickly make an egg and tomato sandwich on a whole grain bagel. Wrap it up and eat it on the way.

Other great options are; oatmeal, bananas, grapefruit, flaxseed sprinkled on cereal, berries, herbal teas, melon, fresh orange juice, whole grain toast, and much more.

 

2. Bring a Healthy Lunch to Work

When lunch time rolls around, there is no doubt that your body needs energy. It takes a lot of energy to get through your average work day. Your mind and body both require energy and nutrients to run effectively.

Eating smaller meals throughout the day allows you to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Perhaps you have gone all day without eating before. If so, you probably began to feel dizzy and began to shake. This is due to low blood sugar, which needs to be controlled. When blood sugar levels are constantly rising and dipping, it’s hard on our organs due to damaged blood vessels. It can also increase levels of stress, which is the last thing you need.

Try to consume a variety of foods and nutrients throughout your work week. If you’re creative, you’re less prone to become bored. Make some sandwiches the night before if you’re pressed for time. Use whole grain bread, as it helps maintain your blood sugar levels. Whole grains also decrease your risk of heart disease, provide high levels of fibre and vitamins, and help to maintain your weight.

It’s also a great idea to store some healthy, dry foods at work for emergency purposes. Dried fruit for example is a great snack, along with nuts and oats. Make a trail mix that contains all your favourite little snack foods.  

 

3. Drink Enough Water

Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water. These fluids help aid digestion, circulation, creation of saliva, absorption, maintaining body temperature, and transporting nutrients. When you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Your brain sends a signal, creating the feeling of thirst.

When you consume enough water, your whole body benefits. If you are dehydrated for instance, your muscles experience fatigue. Your muscles simply will not work as effectively as possible. The same goes for your brain. If there is a lack of water, you begin to lose efficiency in terms of concentration.

You need to have high levels of energy and concentration while working. Keep a water bottle on your desk, sipping away throughout the day. Invest in a water bottle that is BPA-free, which is a chemical found in some plastic products. Even if you’re not thirsty, make sure you’re drinking enough.

 

GET ACTIVE: EXERCISE REGULARLY

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon 

 

1. Sneak in Exercise

It’s not just about eating right, it’s about staying active as well. Some jobs are more active than others. Some careers allow you to be active for the large majority of your day. Although there are some active career choices, many desk jobs can leave employees with very little exercise time during the day.

Every hour, you should be getting up and taking a little walk around. This is mainly to stretch your muscles and joints so that you are not stiff and sore. Getting up also allows you to free your eyes from the computer screen you’re in front of for eight hours.

On your lunch break, take advantage of that time. Go for a walk with some work friends after you have eaten your lunch. Even if you go outside and walk for fifteen minutes, it’s better than no exercise at all. Vitamin D is also highly beneficial, so a little walk outside will do you wonders.

 

2. Plan Ahead and Get Involved

Make smart choices and take the stairs whenever possible. A few sets of stairs, taken each day, add up at the end of the week. You can also walk or bike to and from work if you live nearby. If you do not live close to work, start exercising two-to-three times a week in the morning. This will have you up and motivated for the day. Many are tired after work, so this is a great option.

If possible, get involved in an after-work exercise program or join an organised sports team. Make it a social event and sign up for physical activity with your friends. You’ll get to see friends while staying active; two birds, one stone.

 

FEED YOUR SOUL: LOWER STRESS LEVELS

Photo credit: RelaxingMusic

 

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Break and Relax

Working all day, everyday is stressful on your mind and body. It’s important to detach yourself every once in a while, allowing yourself to rest your mind. Many become completely absorbed at work and this is great. Although you need to stay focused, a small break every once in a while will actually do you well.

If you allow yourself to break away from your work momentarily, you will be more productive when your return. As mentioned, have a little stretch. Some will even take part in yoga on their breaks. Whatever helps you break away from the stress levels, should be incorporated into your day whenever possible.

You need to practice being relaxed during your time off as well. Dealing with stress levels appropriately can make all the difference. Exercise will help balance stress levels, meditation is also highly beneficial for many.

 

2. Take a Day Off

Many people save their vacations days up, but don’t end up using them. Even if you take one day off, it can do wonders for your health. One day away from the daily grind will allow you to spend some time with family and friends, go hiking, garden, or do whatever you like to do. This time is important and needs to be taken seriously.

Remember, we’re not simply put on this earth to work. You need to enjoy your life, exploring all that it offers. If you experience more, you’ll find that you feel more fulfilled. When you feel fulfilled, you tend to feel happier, and in turn healthier.

 

The key to staying healthy while working full-time, boils down to motivation and preparation. Planning ahead is an excellent strategy, allowing you to prepare meals, plan for physical activity, and book time off. 

Stay motivated and the sky is the limit. A busy lifestyle should not dictate your health. Stay healthy and you will perform better at work, simple as that. Think of it this way; would you rather work, work, work, and then take a sick day; or maintain your health and use that sick day to do something you love?

At the end of the day, you’ll be taking a day off regardless. One is taken because you’re rundown and sick, while the other is taken to bring enjoyment to your life. When you’re enjoying yourself, you continually build a happier, healthier life for yourself.

Make sure you’re eating right, exercising, and taking care of your mind. Target stress levels, allowing you to work full-time, while enjoying all that life offers. Work on your health, as that is the most important thing you have in life.

 

Photo credit: Flickr

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