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How to Keep Your Job From Hurting Your HealthHow to Keep Your Job From Hurting Your Health


How to Keep Your Job From Hurting Your Health
Switch to a stand-up desk

Stop sitting

Research shows that sitting all day can increase risk for chronic disease and decrease life span. Unfortunately, this risk is not reduced by regular workouts, which makes adding more movement throughout the day essential for health.

  • Walk around your office when you are on a phone call.
  • Take regular breaks to stand and stretch.
  • Walk the stairs on your way to meetings.
  • Invite coworkers to meet while you walk together.
  • Switch to a treadmill desk or a standing desk.

Minimize stressful situations

According to the annual Work Stress Survey conducted by Everest College, 83 percent of Americans report that that their jobs cause stress. Excess stress can lead to emotional eating, physical aches and pains, and increased risk of chronic disease. Every job involves tough problems and unwanted encounters with difficult people. While you can often do little about project assignments or your work team, you can change how you react to these situations.

  • Create a work plan and tackle each task one step at a time. Set boundaries and create blocks of time when you work uninterrupted and when you will take breaks.
  • Keep an open mind when working with others.
  • Talk out your problems and ask for advice from those you trust.
  • Take a break from stressful environments and go for a walk or perform deep breathing exercises.
  • Find an outlet for your stress. Exercise regularly, practice yoga, get a massage or carve out time for other activities that relax you.

Reduce snacking

Snacking can get out of control at the workplace. A candy jar on the front desk, donuts at morning meetings and afternoon vending machine stops can add up to hundreds of extra calories per day.

  • Eat before you get to meetings to avoid being tempted by unhealthy options.
  • Pack your own healthy snacks at home and skip the vending machine.
  • Don’t skip lunch. This will only lead to over-snacking in the afternoon.
  • Volunteer to bring healthy options to work meetings and potlucks.

Use your benefits

Many employers offer valuable benefits for the health of employees. Don’t overlook these resources. Talk to your human resources department about what is available and inquire with coworkers who currently take advantage.

  • Enroll in wellness programs offered by health insurance companies that allow you to earn points and prizes for reporting your healthy behaviors.
  • Attend free health screenings to monitor your blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass index.
  • Take part in work-life seminars and workshops for healthy cooking, reducing blood pressure, and smoking cessation.
  • Use your vacations day. Taking a break and changing your environment, even if it is for one day, reduces stress and helps you return with a refreshed outlook.
Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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