Maintaining optimal wellbeing during a hectic workday can pose a challenge. Our team is always on the lookout for new, science-backed strategies to make our lives the healthiest they can be. But sometimes you only really know what works until you’ve tried it yourself. Read on to discover our personal favorite ways to stay healthy during the workweek (while still maintaining our sanity).
“Twice a week, I use my lunch break to play basketball at the local gym. At first, only two of us played, but now the group has grown to the point where we have a competitive, feisty five-on-five game every time. It has been a great way to relieve stress and interject some exercise into the middle of the day. Also, if the weather is decent (and sometimes even when it isn’t), I make a concerted effort to take my kids outside as soon as I get home from work. We play soccer, go for walks, or race around the yard. I’ve come to realize that playing outside is not just good for my kids, it’s good for me as well! Not to mention, beating a five-year-old in a foot race has been great for my self-esteem.”
– Chris Sullivan
Give yourself time to rejuvenate.
“Here are some things I do to stay healthy during my workweek:
- Walk outside during lunch whenever the weather is pleasant
- Take a lunch break to give my eyes some rest
- Sit in hero’s pose after lunch to help with digestion and so I don’t fall asleep after a heavy meal
- Use a large water bottle to make sure I’m getting enough water throughout the day and so I don’t have to constantly refill
- Keep healthy snacks on hand
- Pack a healthy breakfast and lunch
- Try to order healthier options when eating out with co-workers
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Stand up periodically
- Walk to a colleague’s workspace for a face-to-face chat
- Drink herbal teas instead of going out to grab coffee”
– Maya Munot
“Two changes I made some years ago have had a significant impact on my workday:
First, every day starts with 45-plus minutes of cardio exercise. It’s great to get the body going and the solitary time relaxes my mind to start the day. I find working out in the morning gives me more energy during the day, as opposed to my old habit of exercising at night.
Second, I don’t eat a traditional breakfast or lunch; rather, I eat all day! Every 60 to 90 minutes during the day I take a break and eat a serving of fruit, vegetables, healthy grains, nuts/seeds, even a small piece of 90-percent cacao. I don’t experience the fullness followed by lethargy after a larger lunch, and my doctor tells me this practice is great for the metabolism and keeping my blood sugar stable.”
– Terry Meter
Make healthy habits part of your lifestyle.
“In no particular ranking, these are my workweek attempts at living a little healthier:
- I thoroughly enjoy eating my old-fashioned oatmeal each morning when I get to work. My favorite toppings are a chopped up Michigan Macintosh apple with cinnamon or a mix of fresh berries.
- We eat dinner together each night. I really enjoy cooking and cooking for my family, so I am always hunting for new healthy recipes to try each week. I love trying recommendations from co-workers. It’s always nice to visit, too.
- Getting outside helps me refresh my perspective, so I try to go for a walk during lunchtime – even if it’s a short 20-minuter. I have also enjoyed the Charity Miles app!
- And finally, I hit the pillow at a common time each night, and I try to take my time waking up in the morning to set a relaxed pace for the day.”
– Jen Wynn
“For me, the key to healthy living is planning ahead. At the beginning of the week I make enough overnight oats for the workweek and portion them out. I create tasty salad combinations for the week and prep them in mason jars. I roast veggies and dish out single servings of snacks (e.g., yogurt, nuts, berries, energy bites) I can grab and go. For dinner, I often make homemade soups, stews or ingredients for quinoa bowls. I try to do all my food prep on the same day. It ends up being a lot of cooking (and dishes!) at once, but I enjoy getting all of it out of the way and having lots of healthy options on hand. It’s also nice to make all your meal decisions at once and not have to worry about it throughout the week. When I don’t plan ahead, I notice I don’t eat nearly as balanced of a diet since most convenience foods aren’t the healthiest options. I also plan my exercise ahead of time. I put it on my calendar and plan around it. If something comes up, I at least do something—whether it’s holding plank for a couple minutes or doing some quick pushups, squats, lunges, sit-ups or burpees.”
– Beth Czischke
“Being a very busy mom of two little ones, I found the most important thing for me was creating a weekly and daily task list. This has helped with stress and developing a healthy routine for my kids and me. At the beginning of each week, I write out my must-do’s for each day and the tasks I need to accomplish each week. This ensures I carve out time for regular exercise, meal planning and even finding that 30 minutes of ‘me time’ no matter what my week might bring.”
– Kimberly Bielenda
“During my workday –
- I regularly diffuse essential oils in my office to help me stay focused and keep my stress levels under control. I have a travel diffuser I keep on my desk next to my computer. Some of my favorites include a citrus blend to help with energy and focus and a lavender blend to help with stress and headaches.
- I invested in a high-quality 32-ounce stainless steel water bottle and I take it to every meeting to make sure I am staying hydrated throughout the day. I also found that I drink more water if I have a straw, so I purchased a different lid that has a straw attachment. I go through two to three bottles per day (64 to 96 ounces) because I’ve made it convenient for myself to do so.
- I routinely get up and walk to a co-worker’s office to talk instead of sending an email. Although email definitely has its place in the office, I find that by talking face-to-face with my co-workers, I have established better working relationships and feel I am able to communicate more effectively. It also provides a nice opportunity to give my eyes a break from the computer screen and stretch my legs. Often I will take the long way back to my office so I can get in a few extra steps.
During my workweek –
- For me, planning ahead and staying organized is essential! If I start my week feeling rushed and disorganized, it throws me off for days. Sunday is our grocery shopping and meal-prep day. We always figure out what we’re going to make for dinner during the week so we don’t overbuy. I don’t always meal-prep for the entire week, and I definitely don’t meal-prep for every meal, but I will usually make something we can grab for breakfast since that’s our busiest time of day. Our mornings are crazy. Between my husband and me getting ready for work while also trying to get our six-month-old up and ready for his day, having something already made and ready to go is a huge timesaver. My favorites are breakfast burritos, peanut butter energy balls, baked oatmeal bars and old-fashioned oatmeal.
- My husband and I are snackers, and if there are unhealthy snacks around like potato chips, we will find them. To curb this habit we always have fresh fruits and vegetables available. We keep a fruit bowl on the counter with bananas, apples, pears, grapefruit and avocados, and we always have carrots and celery cut up and ready to go in the fridge. We usually have some hummus to eat with our veggies, too.”
– Niccole LaDue
Consider a standing desk and reduce added sugar and processed foods.
“I was having pretty terrible lower back pain from sitting for the majority of the day, so I decided to try a stand up desk. It has completely changed my life at work. My lower back pain has lessened and my core, legs and back feel much stronger. I stand for the first half of the day until lunch, then sit from after lunch until I leave work for the day. My mom ruptured a disc in her back from standing all day as a nurse, and my aunt ruptured a disc from sitting all day at her desk job. Studies have shown that sitting all day poses serious health risks and standing all day can over-burden joints and put pressure on the back, so I feel like I’ve found a happy medium.
As for what else I do to stay healthy during my workweek: I drink three liters of filtered alkaline water each day; maintain a plant-based vegan diet (70 percent raw fruits and veggies); avoid eating added sugar and processed food; and do my best to exercise as soon as I get home from work (usually an hour of yoga or cardio combined with weight training, four to five days per week). I have found that if I don’t work out as soon as I get home, I’ll get distracted, tired or hungry (or all of the above!) and then it’s over for me. So, I prefer to get it done before dinnertime. ”
– Jessica Malen
Keep your workout interesting and cuddle your pet to relieve stress.
“During my workweek, I do the following to keep myself on the right track:
- I eat oatmeal and a banana or a protein-fruit smoothie for breakfast.
- I hit the gym at least three times per week; I do a kickboxing cardio class two of those days, and yoga if I can manage to catch it.
- I always take the stairs for any distance less than three flights.
- I cook with coconut oil instead of other processed oils.
- I drink about 72 ounces of water per day.
- I drink black or green tea after my morning coffee (to avoid added sugar).
- I stretch often.
- I cuddle my dog (to support mental/emotional health).”
– Yessica Peña
“I use a standing desk five days per week and have found I feel better and am more productive.
I use my FitBit app to log my water and set a goal to drink at least 64 ounces per day, and I typically get way more than that!
When I am pressed for time, I stop at the grocery store and get a rotisserie chicken and steam some veggies rather than getting fast food; it saves money and it’s healthier.”
– Heather Mearns
“To stay healthy during my workweek, I:
- Keep fresh plants in the office
- Close my eyes and meditate when I get in the office before I open up my computer
- Take breaks to socialize with peers
- Stretch in my chair while on client calls”
– Tetyana Rogovyk