As so many career opportunities these days take place in the tech and digital industry, most of us millennials have found ourselves with office jobs sitting in front of computers all day. While the stability of a 9-to-5 job is great, for many it’s been hard to get used to; college and part-time jobs lent to a much more flexible and active schedule, and the sedentary nature of office jobs are probably starting to show their wear on our overall health and well-being.
If you are struggling with prioritizing self-care while working your office job, here are some tips to help you make some changes:
Getting More Exercise
One of the things that hit me hard with my first office job out of college was the lack of exercise. Having worked retail part time while going to school on a sizeable university campus, I had no trouble getting lots of walking in. Working an office job, I sit at a desk all day and am mentally tired when I get home, making it hard to get motivated to do anything at all, let alone exercise. In my first year working in an office I gained a significant amount of weight. Talking with my peers and reading online, this is not a unique problem to myself. Many have found themselves in this same boat and are finding it hard to combat.
The sedentary life of an office worker isn’t just bad on the waist line — it’s actually detrimental to your lifelong health; sitting all day can cause serious health problems, from contributing to the development of chronic diseases to resulting in premature death.
Knowing this, it’s vitally important to find ways to get more exercise in your life. At work, dedicate your breaks to walking outside around the building, rather than scrolling on your phone in the breakroom. You might also try and get a group together with some of your favorite coworkers and do something active after work, such as going hiking or playing basketball. If your company doesn’t have one already, inquire about starting up a wellness program, including company-sponsored gym memberships to invest in employee health. After all, healthy employees are happier and more productive, so it will benefit everyone involved.
Along with sitting all day, another office job caveat is defaulting to quick, cheap, and easy food — which usually means unhealthy food. I get it, you’re busy at work and in your personal life, and you’re working on paying student loans and other adult bills, so getting something that is cheap and convenient can be a great help; but it is not helpful to your health. In addition to a sedentary work day, relying on easy food like microwave meals and cereal from the office cereal bar played a huge part in my weight gain.
To help get on a healthier track, start by focusing on ways to eat healthy on a budget. One of my favorite ways to eat healthy on a budget is to do meal planning. Meal planning involves taking one day out of the week to plan and create your meals for an entire week. When you plan in advance and put together prepared meals for the whole week, you are able to control how much you spend and what you are eating for the whole week. It’s going to save you time and money, and with healthy recipes it’s going to be very beneficial to your health. I started doing this recently, and it’s been a lifesaver.
Protecting Your Eyes
Most office jobs involve being on a computer or other kind of tech all day, which means staring at screens constantly. Then, on breaks and after work, we tend to check out phones, watch TV, and spend time on our home computers. All of this screen time can actually lead to digital eye strain, which includes symptoms like eye fatigue, headaches and migraines, blurry vision, and even neck and back pain.
There are several things you can do to reduce or prevent digital eye strain. One thing you should try to make a habit is to give your eyes mini breaks using the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You should also make it a point to take a 15 minute break after two hours of continuous screen usage. You might also consider getting anti-glare glasses to help reduce the effects of screen usage.
Of all the things we worry about our health in relation to the office, one thing people tend to forget about is dental health. With all the coffee office workers consume on a daily basis to get through their day, along with happy hour drinks after work, teeth are susceptible to yellowing and staining. Add to that the fact that with busy lives, teeth brushing is sometimes forgotten — like on a morning when you’re running late, or at night when you pass out from exhaustion without really getting ready for bed.
But taking care of your teeth now is of utmost importance. Make sure you have taken full advantage of your company’s dental plan and get cleanings twice a year. Also, if you are worried about those coffee and wine-stained teeth, there are ways you can whiten your teeth at home — like coconut oil pulling, teeth whitening kits, and hydrogen peroxide and baking soda solutions.
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in working and trying to keep up with life, that you neglect to take care of your own needs and health. But you need to make sure you are taking time to self-care and be healthy, as you only get one body and one life. Make the most of it now!
Do you have any self-care tips that work great for you? Share with us in the comments below!