Six Healthy Changes You Can Make To Your Working Day

For Concrete Playground: How are your new year’s resolutions going?

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How are your new year’s resolutions going?

Keeping up a healthy lifestyle can be challenging, especially when work gets busy, 4pm cocktails roll around, and your lovely boss just bought a box of choccies to thank you for all that overtime. We’ve all made goals to lead a healthier life at work, whether it’s incorporating more exercise, eating fewer snacks or saying no to midweek drinks once in a while — but sticking to those resolutions is another story. Our daily slip-ups — whether it’s ditching your homemade salad for a takeaway slice of pizza, or skipping the gym because you’re just too exhausted — can all add up over time. But some of the simplest improvements to your health don’t have to come with revolutionary lifestyle changes. Whether you start your day with a walk or swap your morning toast for a fibre-rich crispbread, there are quick ways to kickstart (or restart) your 2020 health resolutions. In partnership with Ryvita, we’ve come up with six healthy changes that you can adopt into your working day.

We’re all guilty of mindless snacking, especially when trying to focus on a task at work. When 3pm hits, it’s easy to reach for the nearest sugary hit to give us more energy or to plug the gap our bland salad lunch left behind. By planning ahead — and knowing your trigger times for not-so-great habits — you can master those cravings by preparing a healthier, more satiating snack ahead of time. Health experts say Australians aren’t getting enough fibre in their diets, and so packing in a high-fibre snack can help you make a healthier snacking choice in your week. Eating Ryvita crispbreads is an achievable way to contribute to the dietary fibre target of 30 grams per day, and you can get creative with your toppings — think pea and mint hummus, scrambled eggs, wasabi mashed avo and more. Ryvita has high-fibre recipe ideas, here.

Getting out and about to enjoy the city you live in shouldn’t be something restricted to weekends or before and after work. There’s plenty of things to do to stimulate your mind, and it’s a far more exciting lunchtime break than eating your sandwich in the staffroom. For keen readers (or anyone who needs to escape for a little while), why not head to the local library and find a quiet corner for a short break? Or, if you only have ten minutes, go to your nearest bookshop and browse the new releases to read on your commute. Prefer to keep moving? Take a wander around an art gallery or museum (just for a short while) and you can distract yourself from spreadsheets and see artworks or learn a snippet of history. If you can’t escape the office, use your break to flex your creative side — story writing tasks or colouring books are just as engaging when you want to take your mind off work.

Why catch up in a stuffy, fluorescent, lifeless boardroom when you could walk and talk? The walking-talking catch up can transform your personal and professional energy — research by Stanford University has shown that walking leads to an increase in creative thinking, plus it allows for more honest and open exchanges if you feel like you can’t speak your mind in front of other colleagues. While not all meetings are suitable for walking (tough negotiations or ones with presentations), they’re great for consulting with your team or exploring solutions. You’re also increasing that step count while you’re at it.

Repeat after us: taking a break at work is not a waste of time. Walking away from your desk once in a while is hugely important to help boost your performance. Taking mini breaks throughout the day improves your energy, relieves stress and drives your productivity. Whether it’s setting up a yoga mat in an empty room and doing some meditation or actually listening to your watch when it tells you to stand up every hour, these small breaks help you focus when you return to the work task at hand — and they make you feel better, too. Mini breaks are an easy (and free) positive change you can make to your workday.

Doing something for your colleagues is another way to get your body moving, with the bonus of supporting your work Significant Others. Go on a coffee run, empty the dishwasher, reach out to a colleague you don’t usually interact with. By doing something for someone else — without doing it in exchange for a promotion or other perceived benefit to you — can create wonders for your sense of wellbeing and community. Take a moment to bond with your new friend at work and you’ll notice the difference in how you feel.

There are thousands of podcasts out there, providing countless episodes on how to become a more productive individual, and there are plenty that focus on health and wellness, too. Slate Magazine’s Political Gabfest or The Saturday Paper’s 7am will have you brushing up on international and domestic politics that’ll help you elevate your kitchen chat; ABC’s The Pineapple Project, hosted by journalist Jan Fran, and Ladies We Need to Talk, hosted by Yumi Stynes dive head-on into financial and lifestyle advice and queries that can feed into your work/life balance goals. And, The Tim Ferriss Show interviews successful people at the top of their game, giving you something to aspire towards.

Published on Concrete Playground, March 4, 2020.


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