If you’re working a desk job, you may find it difficult to maintain healthy habits. Even though you’ve been seated all day long, when you come home after a long day, you’re somehow so exhausted that you can’t imagine adding to your daily tasks with a workout or spending the time to cook a healthy meal.
But, if you want to take care of yourself, you have to make it work. Here are 5 tips to help you stay on track.
1. Bring your lunch
This is the most important tip on this list.
Sure, there are healthy options you can purchase, but bringing your own lunch allows you the freedom to create your meal of choice, while exercising portion control. If you hate cooking, browse around on Pinterest until you find some fail-proof recipes. (Trust me, you will find something that works for you.) Or, you could always just pack yourself a bag of veggies and call it a day.
2. Office treats: proceed with caution
It’s your boss’ birthday, and there’s cake. Your co-worker brought donuts. Someone ordered pizza for the meeting.
For me, it’s best to just not even touch these things in the first place. Once I have one bite, I want all of it. So what works for me is to not even look at it.
But, if you have a decent amount of willpower, by all means, indulge – but only a little bit! I’m talking one piece of candy, and that’s it. Or half a slice of cake, one slice of veggie pizza, one donut hole, and so on.
3. Schedule in your workout time (or sign up for classes)
Finding time to work out is always tricky, and there will never be a shortage of excuses – the gym is too crowded, you can’t afford a gym membership, the weather sucks, you have happy hour plans…and so on.
Schedule a time for you to work out, and treat it like you would a meeting with your boss. You cannot cancel. Prepare for it ahead of time. Lay out your clothes/headphones/water bottle, and set yourself an alarm. If you plan on exercising first thing in the morning, try sleeping in your workout clothes. The act of preparing for it ahead of time will make you mentally take this workout appointment that much more seriously.
Signing up for classes is another excellent option. You’ll feel like you’re being held more accountable by signing up (and paying!) for the class, and you’ll get an awesome workout in – because nobody wants to be the one giving up halfway through.
4. Cut unnecessary errands down to a minimum
Running errands is a great way to zap your energy and your already-scarce amount of free time. You can combat this issue with an Amazon Prime subscription (goodbye, Target!). Amazon Fresh is great too – you can have your groceries delivered to your door. Of course, there are tons of other sites offering similar services as well, but what I’m saying is do as much of your shopping online as possible. Waiting for shipping is a small price to pay for the time you save by not making trips to the store.
There will be some errands that you simply can’t avoid, like dry cleaning or going to specialty shops. But for everything else, online is the way to go for busy office workers. You can try to get some shopping done on your breaks, or just quickly throw things in your Amazon cart (via the iPhone app) whenever you think of something you need.
You can use all your newly discovered free time to exercise, or to pack lunches to bring to work with you!
5. Sit less!
Try to spend as much time as possible out of your seat. This will depend on your office environment, but here are a few ideas:
- Drink lots of water so you can get up to refill your cup often
- Take a lap outside or climb up and down the stairs every once in a while
- Pace around when you talk on the phone
- Go outside and walk around on your lunch break, or hit the gym if possible
- Invest in a standing desk (this is also great for relieving back pain). There are high-end and budget-friendly options; like this one for $35 on Amazon
- Instead of emailing or messaging your co-workers to talk to them, get up and physically walk to them. This has the added benefit of making you more appear more personable and approachable.
- Exercise at your desk – stretch periodically, do calf raises at your standing desk, leg lifts while you sit, etc.
What are your secrets for staying healthy while working an office job? Leave your tips in the comments!