It is only February and I have to admit that I already gave up on some of my new year’s resolutions. Every year I say I will limit how frequently I go out to eat, I will go to the gym more often, I will get more sleep, and so on. Well, even though 2018 just started, I’ve done the opposite of what I promised myself I wouldn’t do. A lot of unexpected things have happened this year that have distracted me from my goals, so I decided it was time to make a change. How can I squeeze healthier habits into my busy schedule? Truth is, being busy is just an excuse. No matter how busy your schedule is, you can always prioritize healthy habits. Once you discover how you can share your findings with your employees. After all, everyone can benefit from learning health tips. Healthy habits are known for boosting energy levels and, in return, increase productivity. Believe it or not, it is actually possible to be both the busiest and healthiest version of yourself. Here are some tips.
Start With One Habit
Starting with one simple habit is very important because that way you won’t overwhelm yourself. I understand that once you have a goal in mind, you want to do everything and anything you can to achieve that goal. Truthfully, if you try doing everything at once, you will most likely become overwhelmed, frustrated, and might even end up giving up on your end goal altogether. Starting small and keeping it simple will result in a quick win. Whatever your end goal is, find small habits that will help you eventually achieve that goal. Always keep in mind that becoming healthier is a marathon, not a sprint, and you won’t reach your end goal overnight. It will take time and work to get there, so stay patient.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
We’ve all heard the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, and this is very true. Breakfast provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast. (That's where its name originates - breaking the fast!) Aside from providing the body with energy, breakfast foods are good sources of important nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins as well as protein and fiber. If you want to start eating healthier breakfast but are not much of a cook, look at these quick and healthy breakfast ideas that you can put together in the morning, or even once you get to work in the morning. If you are used to skipping breakfast and still don’t have the time to make a full meal, then I recommend grabbing a banana or even a granola bar before walking out the door. This will help kickstart your metabolism and at least give you enough energy to hopefully get you through the morning.
Replace Your “To-Do” List With a “Priority List”
As a working professional, you most likely have a long list of tasks you need to complete every week. I know I do! Not only do I have a to-do list on my computer, but also on post-its all over my desk and even on the window next to my desk. My to-do list seems to never get smaller! Big lists can feel daunting. However, a bit of structure can help you stay grounded. Break down your to-do list and make it a priority list. Do you have tasks that need to be completed every day? Those should be at the top. Are some of those tasks deadline driven? Those should come second. If you prioritize your to-do list by ranking your tasks in order of importance, you will add structure to your day and will see quicker results. You will also notice that you are less stressed, as you have some sort of visual representation of what you need to do for that week. As you cross things off your list, you will feel accomplished, which will motivate you to complete your other tasks.
Take a Break & Free Your Mind
I understand that sometimes we don’t want to get away from our desks because we are too busy, especially if your priority list is exceptionally long. However, sitting at your desk for 8 hours every day is not healthy in any way. According to Psychology Today, during tedious tasks, the average employee’s ability to focus and persist on the job gets harder by the minute, therefore taking breaks is an absolute must. Breaks can replenish the psychological costs associated with working hard, improve work performance, and boost energy. Shockingly, only one in three workers actually steps away from their desk to take lunch. Not only is this bad for productivity but it can be detrimental to the employee’s health. According to the American Medical Association, sitting for long periods of time can be a cause for several health issues like bad circulation and body aches. Did you know even a 30-second microbreak can increase your productivity by up to 13%? Or that a 15-second break every ten minutes from staring at your computer screen can reduce your fatigue by 50%? Take a look at these types of breaks that will help boost your creativity and productivity!
These are only a few tips I’ve found helpful. Keep in mind that not all of them work for everyone, so you have to find the ones that work for you and ditch the ones that don’t. Always encourage yourself as well as your employees to have a healthy lifestyle. Achieving a healthy work-life balance is very important. When employees feel a greater sense of control and ownership over their own lives, they tend to have better relationships with management and are able to leave work issues at work and home issues at home. Balanced employees tend to feel more motivated and less stressed out at work, which thereby increases company productivity and reduces the number of conflicts among co-workers and management. You can promote healthier lifestyles in your workplace by offering benefits such as exercise access, company outings, healthy snacks, stand up desks, paid time off, volunteer time off, and so on. If you are looking for easy steps to promote employee wellness within your company, I encourage you to read ALSCO's article "149 Easy Steps to Employee Wellness".
How do you squeeze in healthy habits into your busy life? Do you know of other ways we can promote a healthy lifestyle in our workplace? Comment below!