Healthy Living Guidance
Looking after your health and wellbeing is important. You will be more productive and happier in the workplace if you do. Below are some suggestions to help you.
Drinking water aids brain function and focus. It is recommended that you drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Drinking cold or sparkling water and using fruit infusions for example, citrus fruits, mint or berries can make water look and taste more appealing. Set a reminder on your computer or use an app to remind you to drink at regular intervals. Try to avoid drinks that are high in sugar or contain caffeine.
Moving at work will help your physical and mental well-being. Take breaks from what you are doing to move and stretch. If you can, use the stairs instead of a lift.
Walking or cycling to work, taking public transport or parking further away than you need to will help contribute to your daily exercise. Make the most of your lunch break by going out for a walk, take your trainers to work, ask a colleague to join you, perhaps set a challenge to walk faster or further next time. The recommended number of steps per day is 10,000. This can be difficult to achieve in a sedentary job, if you have a fitness tracker or smart phone that monitors steps, you can try to increase the number of steps you are doing each day.
Getting out in the fresh air will help clear your mind and allow you to refocus when you return. Take deep breaths outside. Having a window open and being able to look outside will also help lift your mood if you are unable to get outside.
Healthy Lunch and Snacks
If you can prepare food to bring in to work, you are less likely to reach for unhealthy quick and convenient choices. Bring snacks of fruit, vegetable sticks or nuts rather than sugary alternatives. This will help prevent sugar rushes, dips in energy and will contribute towards eating your five a day of fruit and vegetables.
Clean Work Areas
Keep a clean and tidy workstation by clearing away the clutter and giving it a wipe over with a disinfectant, this will help prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses. This is especially important if you share a desk or telephone, as viruses can survive on hard surfaces for several days. Regular hand washing will also help.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
This is common for workers who stay in the same fixed position for long periods, therefore it is important to regularly move and stretch. If you are based at a desk, your employer should give you a display screen equipment assessment to make sure your desk, chair and computer is set up correctly for you. Using a headset or going hands-free can also help.
If you develop headaches, have difficulty focusing or notice increased sensitivity from the light, your screen may need adjusting. The font size can be increased and the position of your screen altered. You can help your eyes by taking breaks from the screen and making sure the lighting is suitable.
If you work daily at a computer for more than an hour at a time you are entitled to a free eye test and if glasses are required because of your job you will be entitled to free glasses too.
Mental Health Support
Stress can impair your immune system and affect your sleep, which can increase the risk of illness, so being self-aware is an important way to stay healthy at work.
Stress can also affect your relationships and mood, so if you are feeling overwhelmed, or are finding it hard to meet deadlines or complete your workload, confide in a colleague or seek help from the HR department or your line manager. Alternatively you could contact a support service such as “Give us a shout” who offer a free confidential text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope ( see https://giveusashout.org/ for further information, or text the word SHOUT to 85258). A number of apps exist which can also provide useful support, for example www.breathwrk.com ; and www.headspace.com .
If you see others who might need help, you could suggest these options to them and reassure them that they don’t have to tackle problems on their own.
Work life balance is important too. Stick to your hours of work, you need time for yourself, family and friends.
Sleep and Recovery
Getting enough sleep and rest will help you function more effectively at work. Avoid staying up late watching television or using mobile devices as this stimulates your brain. Take some time to relax and unwind before bedtime. If you are thinking about work and jobs you need to do, write a list for tomorrow and then find a way to relax; perhaps take a bath, listen to music or practice mindfulness or meditation.
Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco
These will impair your ability to work safely and most companies will have a strict policy about their use. Reducing your alcohol intake can significantly improve your health by reducing the risk of cancer and liver disease. All workplaces are smoke free, so this could be a good opportunity to stop smoking. Advice can be sort from your GP, and the NHS have local and online stop smoking, alcohol and drug addiction support services.
The NHS offer a website called “Better Health”. It has lots of tips, tools and support to get healthier and make you feel better: www.nhs.uk/better-health