Think back to the last time you worked a 40-hour workweek (in your adult life--not counting the job at the ice cream shop you held while on school summer break). Are you at a loss? If so, you aren't alone. Americans today are working more than ever--many of them putting in 50, 60, even 100-hour workweeks. With so much time taken up at the office, is it even possible to stay healthy?
Yes, it is. I am one of those people working more than 60 hours per week that has managed to find a few ways to stay healthy while mastering a breakneck schedule. Here are my top recommendations.
We all have our rituals in the morning. Maybe you reach for a piping hot cup of coffee to perk up. Or an energy drink. Or energy shot. Maybe you keep the caffeine train going all day long. Again, you aren't the only one. Fun fact: Total U.S. sales for the energy drink and shot market are expected to hit $21.5 billion in 2017, up from $12.5 billion in 2012, according to Packaged Facts, a consumer market research company.
I get why you want that bolt of caffeine, but I challenge you to try a glass of water tomorrow morning instead. Maybe add a decaffeinated tea bag if you want some flavor. Yes, you may feel a tad tired for a few days, but I promise that you will feel so much better (more productive, experience fewer mid-afternoon crashes) a week later, having conquered your addiction to caffeine.
Embrace a health app
I started wearing an UP by Jawbone bracelet (disclaimer: I have no connection to the company) several months ago and feel healthier because of it. With the use of the app, I learned that I was sleeping less than necessary and not walking nearly as much as I should have during the day. The bracelet allows me to track these things and now I feel more aware of my daily wellness goals (I also sleep and walk more).
There are tons of wellness apps out there. I recommend MyFitnessPal, which tracks what you eat and how much you exercise. You can also connect, in-person, with others using the same service.
Skip the vending machine
It can be so tempting to run down to the corner fast food joint for lunch when you are on a deadline. I strongly guard against this and recommend dedicating a few minutes per day to planning your meals. Take time to think about the foods that are best for you (i.e. salads, lean proteins) and make an effort to go to a healthier restaurant for lunch, or, better yet, make your lunch at home and bring it in. The healthier I eat, the more productive I am at work.
Just a few hours of exercise per week can pay huge dividends for your feelings of wellbeing at work. Yes, it may feel difficult to schedule in a sweat session at the gym, but try setting your alarm clock just 30 minutes earlier than normal tomorrow and see how it goes. If you can't get to the gym, take a 20-minute break after lunch to walk around your parking lot or office neighborhood. Any exercise will help.
Do a cleanse
I swear by juice cleanses and try to do them a few times per year. I find that they help me sleep better, feel lighter, make my skin clearer and increase my focus at work. My favorite is Pressed Juicery, a company (I have no affiliation) that delivers juices to your home.
Regardless of how busy I get, I always make time for a weekly one-hour massage; I find that it helps clear my head after a long week of work. I recommend everyone pamper himself or herself regularly (maybe start with once per month and work up from there). Treat your body well and you will consistently feel more clarity and focus in your every day life.