Like most working adults, no matter how content I am, I can’t resist always looking for ways to find more balance, health, and happiness in my life. But despite the fact that I’m always looking for ways to improve, I’ve had a tendency to ignore commonplace advice to do things like take the stairs, drink more water, and dress for success. For the past couple of months, I’ve decided to make small changes in my day to day life to see just how much of an impact they can have. The results have been surprisingly encouraging. Here are the daily habits I’m finally embracing with open arms (and think you should too):
Drinking more water. Hydration is critical to our health and wellbeing, and there are several benefits of drinking water. After struggling with occasional headaches and dizziness at the office, I realized I needed to be more mindful of staying hydrated. Each morning I fill a travel mug with ice water and carry it with me all day, filling up whenever I need to. I have my water in my car on the commute, carry it into meetings, and keep it at my desk throughout the day. It’s much easier to drink plenty of water when you make it accessible and convenient for yourself.
Staying active at work. I made a realization a couple months ago that my desk job had suddenly made me more sedentary than I’d ever been. In the workplace, it becomes really easy to go for 8 or 9 hours with barely any physical activity. Fortunately, there are many small steps we can take to be more active at work. There are also some simple stretches we can do that are good for those who sit most of the day. Personally, I’ve started taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking a few laps during my lunch break, and doing calf raises while I scan documents. These small, daily rituals have helped me to feel more energized and active at work and give me a great mental boost of accomplishment when I need it.
Dressing for success. We’ve all heard the saying: “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” Well, if I did that, I’d probably have to settle for wearing a Snuggie to work every day. For me, comfort is always a top priority. Style–not so much. Which, in the office, is probably not a good thing. Like it or not, people judge each other on appearances, and that can hold especially true in the workplace. I decided to take this advice to heart, and updated my wardrobe to include pencil skirts, dress slacks, and black pumps. What I’ve learned is that it feels good to look good. And the compliments I get on my updated appearance aren’t half bad either.
Taking a break–literally. Taking short breaks during the workday can be a wonderful way to recharge. I’ve always been a little uptight about productivity and focus at the workplace. Meaning, when I’d see my coworkers taking breaks to walk around the office, scroll through their social media feeds, or read the newspaper, I’d get irritated. “We’re here to work, not frolic around,” I’d think bitterly to myself. But I’ve since come to my senses. A few brief breaks during the day aren’t necessarily detrimental to your productivity–they can actually be great opportunities to clear your mind and recharge for the tasks ahead. I’ve found that occasionally taking short breaks to make a cup of tea, stretch my muscles, or catch up with coworkers results in a great mental boost.
Finding balance and wellness in the workplace can seem like a never ending challenge, but there are many small steps we can take each day to feel better and happier.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned these past few months is that your health and happiness should be a priority, even in the workplace. Whether that means taking a couple extra minutes to take the stairs instead of the elevator, to take a short break in the afternoon to catch up with a coworker, or spend a couple extra dollars on a tailored pair of slacks, happiness, healthiness, and productivity often walk hand in hand.