It’s the end of January, the time of year when some of us sheepishly and quietly give up on our New Year’s resolutions. This annual ritual has inspired the development of dozens of apps designed to help you be more productive and to develop and keep healthy habits. These apps can remind you to floss, eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise, or get more sleep. Here is my take on the five healthy work habits you should adopt to have a great year at the office.
- Get more sleep. You may think that you can function on five hours a night, but most of you are wrong. Humans function at an optimal level on seven or eight hours a night, and getting less each night is the equivalent of coming to work drunk. Sleep deprivation can cause slow reaction times, slurred speech and lower cognitive functioning. Not to mention that you look like heck – hardly the way to impress your boss.
- Stand up more. Getting up each hour (using an app like Healthy Habits can create a gentle alarm to remind you) to take a good stretch and perhaps a short walk around the office can help you remain alert, perform your job better, and may even help you live longer. In studies, workers who sat less than three hours a day actually improved their life span by over two years on average.
- Drink on the job. Water, or course. Many Americans are chronically dehydrated, which can have effects on your digestion, blood pressure and overall health. If you’re not drinking enough water, chances are you are not performing at your best. That headache you get in the afternoon, or the case of the munchies that shows up after work? Could be that you’re just thirsty. (Hint: feeling thirsty is one of the last symptoms of dehydration.) Get a cup or reusable bottle, add a squeeze of citrus to add some flavor, and drink your eight glasses.
- Wash your hands more. Studies have shown that most offices are bacterial breeding grounds. Shared bathrooms and kitchens present lots of obvious opportunities to pick up viruses and bacteria, but your own desk may also be a hazard. Buy some antibacterial wipes and wipe down hard surfaces. Make it a point to wash your hands with hot soapy water several times a day in addition to the times you use the bathroom or handle food. Or keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at your desk and use it.
- Pack your lunch. Eating out is expensive and is probably responsible for those extra pounds you’re carrying. Even healthier choices of foods may be served in portions that add lots more calories than you need. Making lunch at home allows you to save money, control your portions, and make healthier choices like including more fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t have to be hard to accomplish, either; cook a little extra at dinner and pack some of the leftovers in single serving containers for the next day. Or split your meal when you dine out and box half of it for lunch the next day.
Healthy is the new sexy for 2013. Try these tips on for a few weeks. You’ll feel better, perform better and may literally be able to run circles around the competition.