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Five Ways To Improve Your Wellbeing At Work: A Guide For Busy Professionals

Life in the modern day workplace can be tough. You’re always on the go, juggling a million things at once, and it can feel like there’s never enough time in the day to focus on your own health and wellbeing. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? 😬

overwhelmed at work
But..did you know that prioritising your own wellbeing when at work can actually make you more productive and more engaged in your job? Not to mention just generally improving your own health and wellbeing which is important on so many levels.
In this post, we’ll break down five simple areas that you can improve your wellbeing at work.

The Benefits of Prioritising Your Wellbeing at Work

Ok, so we all know that taking good care of ourselves is important, for many different reasons, bur have you considered how it can actually benefit your career as well?
Studies show that employees who prioritise their wellbeing are more productive, more engaged and ultimately more satisfied with their jobs. By taking care of yourself, you’re not only improving your own wellbeing – you’re also improving your performance at work. It’s a win-win.

Take Regular Breaks to Reduce Health Risks

Fun fact: we spend on average between 6 to 8 hours per day sat down. Some estimates even show that office workers in particular can spend up to 15 hours per day sat down. 😱 It’s a far cry from the active (and healthy) lifestyles of our prehistoric ancestors, who spent their time chasing down their next meal and trying to stay warm.
Anyway, all this time sat down is no good – sedentary lifestyles can increase our risk of developing serious health problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
And that’s before we even get on to the impact on our mental and emotional health - prolonged sitting is proven to increase symptoms of anxiety, especially amongst women (American Journal of Preventive Medicine) and a recent study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that reducing sedentary behaviour by just 10 minutes per day boosted positive mental wellbeing.
But how can we reduce the risks of health problems, and add more movement into our daily lives when we have actual roles and responsibilities that require a lot of time at the computer?
Hold tight for a workplace intervention!  
Thankfully, there are a few things that can be introduced to get us up out of our seats  (and no, unfortunately we don’t recommend whacking your favourite house music playlist on the office sound system at full volume.) Instead, try giving these a go;
-    Walking meetings - Perfect if you’ve got a phone call to make or take, or a face to face catch up/brainstorm with colleagues – you’ll be amazed how refreshing it is to do this on the move
-    Standing desks - The hype is real. We have a few of these at GoJoe and can highly recommend them. A little variation between sitting and standing breaks up the day nicely. You can even conjure up a make-shift standing desk using a sturdy box, a big pile of books or your overflowing letter tray to put your laptop on 😀
-    Regular breaks - Aka the emotional lap. 5 minutes every hour if possible to stretch your legs and take a pause. Yes, this absolutely can include going to the kettle and back

Stay Hydrated to Combat Fatigue and Poor Concentration

How many glasses of water have you drunk so far today? 1? 5? 0?
Dehydration is the enemy of office life (and life in general) - when you’re down on water - headaches, fatigue, irritability and poor concentration creep in.
We encourage ourselves to drink more water by remembering this fantastic quote; ‘Drinking water is like taking a shower for the inside of your body’.  
We know…as analogies go, it’s a bit ick. But it does the job keeping us on track for the 2 litres per day we’re all recommended to be getting -  although some days we still fail miserably.
Ways to up your water;
-    Keep a water bottle at your desk – it’s a no brainer
-    Every time you get up for a break (see above) take a large glug of water. Or set a reminder on your phone for every hour to do so
-    Add fruits, cucumber, berries, ginger or whatever you like to infuse a little flavour into proceedings

Improve Your Posture for Better Health

Poor posture leads to back and neck pain, as well as headaches. And just makes you feel, a bit ‘meh. So if you just could sit up straight all day that would be great, thanks.
If only it was that simple. When your to-do list is longer than your arm, remembering to sit up straight kind of falls off the radar. Plus, name a time someone has actually shown you how to sit in a chair the ‘proper’ way? We’ll wait.
No wonder we all slouch our way through the day. We haven’t got any magic pills on this one, but can suggest two must haves to promote good posture in any workspace set up;
-    An ergonomic chair - Essential on all levels
-    Desk set up - making sure your desk/laptop/computer/monitor is set up correctly – monitor at eye level, hands at 90 degrees to desk, feet flat to floor

Eat Healthy Snacks for More Energy

Goodbye 3pm Twix fix, hello 3pm fruit & nuts (not Cadbury's, but the real kind.)
How many times do we end up giving in to the sugary snacks during the mid-afternoon canteen run or rummage around for the final Kit Kat in the desk drawer come 2.45pm?
Consumption of these high sugar foods can spike your insulin levels, leaving you feeling temporarily great for a few minutes and then fending off the inevitable dreaded crash as your blood sugars plunge again. The result? You’re tired, sluggish and craving more sugar.
By switching focus to healthier snacks that will stabilise your blood sugar levels for longer, you can get rid of these horrible side effects and sail through your day with loads of energy.
- Minimise these: chocolate bars, sugary drinks, biscuits, cakes, crisps
- More of these: fruits, nut mix, cottage cheese, greek yoghurt, protein shake, crudités

Manage Stress

It’s a fact: we’re a stressed out population. In the US, more than a quarter of adults say they’re so stressed they can’t function American Psychological Association.)
And in the UK, YouGov research shows half of workers in Britain (52%) say they feel “very” or “fairly” stressed at work.

It's obvious that these feelings are replicated everywhere in the world, at all levels - even New Zealand 's former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern resigned recently due to burn-out.
We need better ways to cope.
Experiencing stress at work can easily seep out and affect you across all other areas of your life; relationships, motivation, emotional and mental health.
Whilst we can’t promise to get rid of stressors all together, we can suggest a few stress management techniques;
-     Practice some mindfulness/breath work (we have some brilliant, effective short videos in the REST area of our  - perfect for a quick 10 minute mindful break. Head to our ‘mindfulness’ or 'breath-work' section in the content library on the GoJoe app)
-     During particular times of stress, get outside and take 15 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Listen to the noise around you. Take a minute to reflect inwards, ready to tackle your next few hours. Granted, this sounds a bit wishy washy - but we promise it works every time.
-     Talk to a trusted colleague, teammate or expert -  it always helps to chat through issues and make you realise you’re not alone ❤

taking a mindful wellbeing break with GoJoe

Phew - That’s Our List Finished

Whilst it can be tempting to imagine how next week you’ll nail all of these strategies and work-life will be immediately 100 times easier, it can be helpful to remember that 'little and often' is a great strategy to implement.
Even by introducing a few small changes from above, you can take big steps to improve your wellbeing (and productivity!) at work. Consider these wise words from author and speaker James Clear who says that motivation usually occurs after you start any new behaviour, not before.
“Motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Getting started, even in very small ways, is a form of active inspiration that naturally produces momentum.”
“You don’t need much motivation once you’ve started a behavior. Nearly all of the friction in a task is at the beginning. After you start, progress occurs more naturally.”
Music to our ears.
Start small, pick an area to focus in on and the rest will follow.