Simple In-Office Health Habits

We always hear the same things about in-office health: Eat healthy, don’t smoke, get exercise, drink more water and less soda, avoid alcohol after work. We can rattle off these healthy lifestyle edicts without much thought. We might even implement a few. If we do, the American Cancer Institute says we could tack another decade onto our lives. Seems nice. But these can be big changes. Drinking more water at work is fairly easy, but have you ever tried quitting smoking? It’s a life altering event. Cutting excess sugar out of our diet might be just as difficult. Here we’re going to look at a few small, simple ways to keep healthy on the job.


When we reach wit’s end, two seemingly opposite things can help us bounce back: a jog around the block or a nap. A quick jolt of exercise — even a brief walk around the office — will do wonders to get the blood flowing and clear the mind. The nap could be trickier, as sleeping on the job is usually frowned upon, but some cities have new nap cafes that allow for a brief bit of rejuvenating shut-eye.


It may sound touchy-feely, but the psychosomatic effects of a positive attitude are well documented.


  • Blame others for your own failures.
  • Distract yourself with things that don’t concern you.
  • Go to sleep angry.
  • Judge other people unless their actions directly affect you.
  • Put being right ahead of being kind.
  • Think of life as a zero-sum game where there can be only one winner.
  • Obsess over the past.


  • Focus on understanding and bettering yourself.
  • Live in the present.
  • Find your own peace of mind.
  • Remember to forgive others and forgive yourself.
  • Remember that everyone is learning.
  • Take responsibility for your actions.
  • Celebrate your – and your coworkers’ – successes.

Start out by taking notice of any of these attitudinal habit that you may have, and then decide which ones you can work on.


Sugar is a problem everywhere. It’s linked to weight gain, blood sugar problems, and an increased risk of heart disease, even cancer. Sugar is also an additive in almost all our favorite foods. Rather than resolving to completely stop eating what makes us happy, take some easy steps:

Read the label: Are we eating the cereal with 15 grams of sugar per serving or 10 grams? Once we know, we can choose which, and how much, to eat.

Replace the waste: Where would we rather eat our excess sugar: that fancy morning coffee or that mid-afternoon snack? If we swap one for something sugar free – fruit, veggies, nuts, rice cake, etc. – we’re moving in the right direction.

Soda water, not soda pop: This is a live wire. Some people are as hooked on Coca-Cola as others are on nicotine. They may not even realize it. BUT, if we cut out one can of Coke we’re reducing our sugar intake by 39 grams of sugar. Replace that can with soda water (seltzer). If that’s too plain, add a little bitters or a squeeze of lemon to your club soda. It may take a little while to retrain your taste, but soon that sugary soda pop will seem unpalatable.


One really simple and helpful trick for in-office health is to mind your posture. Everyone’s desk setup and body type is different. Make sure your keyboard, chair, and general posture are in the ergonomic alignment that’s right for you. Over time, you may find that a lot of the little everyday aches and pains go away. Posture isn’t something we think about a lot, but it can create spinal, shoulder, and hip problems if not addressed.

Work some rejuvenating balancing habits into your day by spending 10 seconds…

  • with your eyes closed. Simple meditation can do wonders. Close your eyes, clear your mind, and pay attention to your breathing. Start with 10 seconds and work up from there. The quality of your peace is more important than the duration.
  • on one foot. Build some simple balance and body awareness by standing on one foot for 10 seconds and then the other. Too easy? Try it with your eyes closed!
  • stretching out. Put your arms up over your head. Bend slowly side to side. Bend over at the waist. Slowly roll your head to stretch your neck. Gently stretch your spine out. All these little, simple things help keep the body limber.
  • breathing. A yoga instructor in Hong Kong once told us, “All of life’s problems can be traced back to incorrect breathing.” That might be a stretch, but paying attention to your breathing is an effective way to center your mind, find calm, and call attention to potential health problems.

Remember, we’re all in this together. Get in touch with like-minded women by joining a professional women’s organization like IAW.

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