As many of you know, I have a full time job on top of running this blog. I work 8:00 am to 5:00 pm every Monday through Friday inside at a desk under fluorescent lighting, working on the computer, answering the phone and other general office duties. I know, living the dream!
It is pretty well known that day jobs like mine are not exactly conducive to optimal health. Sitting all day as been equated to smoking as far as its negative effects on health. Spending all day inside under fluorescent lighting as opposed to being outside in the sun has made a large percentage of people (41.6% according to this study) Vitamin D deficient and can effect circadian rhythms and the ability to get quality sleep, mood, bone health and more. Offices are often full of snacky type foods like bowls of m&m’s or boxes of donuts in the workroom, tempting you to indulge every time you pass by. You get exposure to all sorts of weird chemicals and smells from cleaning products to cologne.
As someone who is trying to reach optimal health, I try to do everything I can to negate the problems associated with having a full time desk job. So how do I do this? I’ll tell you…
Stand up. Get up, move around, take a walk, dance around your office. It doesn’t matter what exactly you do, just make sure you aren’t spending an entire day on your butt. I’m lucky to have a super cool boss who let me get a standing desk station so I can alternate between standing and sitting while I’m working which as been a huge help as far as reducing the amount of time I spend sitting down. So if you can afford it, or you have an open minded boss, or you’re super handy and can DIY it, get a standing desk. Also, I’ve found my fitbit to be really helpful as far as encouraging me to move throughout the day. With a goal of 10,000 steps per day I’ve got to get a decent amount of steps in during the work day in order to reach my goal.
Go outside. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, spend a little bit of time outside. Do yourself a favor and get some fresh air and some sunlight. Kill two birds with one stone and go for a walk. That way you’re getting some movement in and some vitamin D. This is one element I need to be better at, especially this time of year because it is miserably hot outside here in Texas. But just do your best!
Manage stress. Sometimes you have to deal with stupid people and stupid crap at work. It’s just a fact. And this crap can get you all wound up and stressed out, often for no good reason. When this happens to me I try to just take a deep breath and move on. Ultimately these situations are out of my control and it’s not doing anyone any good to get worked up over it.
Try using essential oils. I recently purchased a new mini diffuser that plugs into the USB drive in my computer. This trusty little tool allows me to diffuse essential oils right at my desk. So depending on my mood, I can diffuse a particular oil and it helps me get through my day. Stress away for when I’m stressed, Peppermint for when I’m tired or have a headache, Purification for when someone has overdone it on the cologne, the list goes on. In any situation, there’s an oil for that! Bonus: they also purify the air! So if you’re commonly assaulted by that guy who wears too much cologne or that smokes five too many cigarettes lady, essential oils may be your answer. (If you’re interested in getting started with essential oils, let me know and I’ll hook you up!)
Bring healthy food. It’s incredibly hard to avoid the candy dish or the box of donuts in the break room when your starving. But if you have a fabulous nourishing meal you brought from home, it is a lot easier to resist the garbage because you’re fully satisfied. So do yourself a favor and bring some good food for lunch. And for those times when you just need a snack, keep some healthy treats in your desk so you don’t dive head first into a plate of cookies.
I’m fortunate enough to have a pretty great desk job. Even though it’s certainly not my dream job, I get to work with some awesome people who help provide a fun and energizing office environment. So despite the fact that I’m not working in my field of choice at this point, it isn’t that hard to get out of bed each morning and go to work.
If this isn’t the case for you- if you struggle to get out of bed because you dread going to work each day, if you count down the hours you spend at work until you can go home, if you dislike the people you work with and avoid interacting with them at all costs- it may be time to rethink what you are spending the majority of your time doing. I understand that sometimes that’s not a possibility. We all have responsibilities: mortgages, car payments, kids to take care of, mouths to feed, etc. But it’s also your responsibility to take charge of your own health. And when you have a job that you hate you are literally spending at least 40 of the roughly 112 waking hours in your week doing something you hate. Health goes beyond the food we put in our mouths and it’s basically impossible to be truly healthy inside and out when we are unhappy over a third of the time.
I’m certainly not saying everyone should quit their job and go spend their days rolling around in the grass under the noonday sun, although I would love to do that. I’m simply saying that it’s time to make health a priority and if that means rethinking the whole job situation, then there may need to be some shifts in priorities.
I’m going to continue at my job for now, focusing on maximizing my health through the actions I laid out here, in hopes that one day I will be able to pursue my passion of helping people live vibrant healthy lives full time.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you work full time? Do you love your job or are you just doing it to pay the bills? Comment and let me know!
In vibrant health,