So you've spent the week sitting at your desk, avoiding the office gossip, eating lunch from the restaurant around the corner, staying up late to finish a project and feeling stressed about your upcoming performance review. Come Friday afternoon, you might feel exhausted, hunched-over and full of aches and pains.
And that's before happy hour drinks.
It's true that the office environment can wreak havoc on your health, but it's nothing that a weekend full of restorative unplugging and recharging can't help. Here's your answer to a long week:
Even if you've got some personal projects or bills to attend to, try to complete your tasks from a standing position. Research shows that sitting at a desk all day is terrible for your cardiovascular health and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/13/sitting_n_1202800.html" target="_hplink">increases your risk</a> of diabetes, obesity, some cancers -- such as breast and prostate -- and even your overall risk of death. A great deal of time spent sitting also lowers life expectancy. So instead of plopping down at your dining room table or home office desk, why not stand at the kitchen counter with a laptop?
Forgive Your Coworkers
A 2011 study revealed that having a poor relationship with coworkers could actually <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2022728/Get-workmates-Then-youre-likely-live-longer-study-shows.html" target="_hplink">shave <em>years</em> off of your life</a>. So this weekend, do yourself a favor and work to forgive the shameless gossip, the lurker and the guy who noisily eats chips in the cubicle next to yours.
Cook For Yourself
People who cook for themselves <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/18/cooking-longevity_n_1518466.html?ref=healthy-living#comments" target="_hplink">live longer</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/13/weight-loss-secrets_n_1671547.html?1342217057" target="_hplink">lose more weight</a>. But during the week, it's difficult to resist the convenience and pleasant diversion of the sandwich shop down the street. So make Saturday and Sunday lunches (and breakfasts and dinners) all about homemade fare. Your waistline and your timeline will be improved!
Move Your Body
If most of the exercise you get in the office involves walking to and from the printer or bathroom, the weekend is a great time to kick those atrophying muscles back into gear with a long bike ride, jog or yoga class. Not only will that improve your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of everything from cancer to diabetes, it will also pay back in dividends for your workplace: studies show that even a small amount of moderate exercise helps <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/31/exercise-makes-you-smarter-adhd-research_n_1528383.html" target="_hplink">improve memory and problem solving abilities</a>.
Turn Off Your Phone
Screens. They've taken over your life. Between your office computer, home laptop, smartphone, iPad and TV, you're hooked up to something glossy and hi-res pretty much 24-7. But all that flooding email and visual information can add to your stress. And studies show that even though these incredible machines help us complete more than would otherwise be possible, <a href="http://news.stanford.edu/news/2009/august24/multitask-research-study-082409.html" target="_hplink">we actually overestimate our own multitasking abilities</a>.
Get Some Sun
No, florescent light isn't a good source of Vitamin D. While it's essential to protect yourself from cancer-causing UVA and UVB rays by wearing sunscreen, letting the sun shine on your skin is good for your body and your mind: the hormone vitamin D is synthesized from sunlight and helps with everything from <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/27/vitamin-d-weight_n_1625340.html" target="_hplink">weight management</a> to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-sardi/vitamin-d-benefits_b_1540695.html" target="_hplink">immune function</a>.
Keep Your Sleep Schedule
Ever heard of <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/10/health/social-jet-lag-obesity/index.html" target="_hplink">social jetlag</a>? That's what happens when you keep drastically different hours during the week and weekend, and it can have a permanent effect on your sleeping ability. While it's great to ensure you get a full seven to eight hours on the weekends, it's best not to completely disorient your sleep clock by staying up until the wee hours and then sleeping until noon.
Everyone from David Lynch to Oprah Winfrey to Bill Gates swears by a meditation practice. And the science is on their side: research shows that mindfulness meditation can <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/26/transcendental-meditation-oprah-winfrey_n_1379001.html" target="_hplink">reduce stress</a> and improve learning.
Don't Take Your Briefcase Home
Take a break from work. A real one.
The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elisha-goldstein-phd/benefits-of-play_b_1382871.html" target="_hplink">creative benefits of unstructured time </a>are well-established. Let your mind wander and your plans change with your mood. You might inadvertently come up with a great idea or solution for a professional challenge.