Most people I know are back at it. Sayonara sleep ins and daily swims : ( Hello deadlines, long hours, office politics. Work takes up most of our daylight hours and it can intrude on home life too. We spend so much of our lives at work that you can’t afford to put your health on hold while you’re at the office. A few good daily habits can make the difference.
1/ Pack a lunch!
5 meals a week, 20 meals per month, 240 meals per year! Think of the difference you could make to your health, waistline and pocket by packing your lunch instead of buying it. Packed lunches are not just for kids and scrooges. With a little planning they can be easy and delicious! My favourite tip is to squirrel away some dinner BEFORE serving it up. That way hubby is less likely to want it for seconds. Here are some other tips for making a weekday lunchbox:
Cook a chicken every weekend. Use it throughout the week to make wraps and chicken salads
While the oven’s on throw in some kumara, carrot, onion and garlic. This roast vege salad can bulk out any lunch from green salads to salmon wraps
Buy fruit for you, not just the kids. Add a piece to your work bag every day as a snack
Cheat with premade salad mixes such as herbaslaw, broccoslaw etc. (minus the mayo, replace with lemon juice and olive oil)
Take the opportunity to up your fish intake by having tinned salmon and tuna wraps or salads weekly. Keep tuna to 1x week to avoid too much mercury
Make egg and feta muffin frittatas on the weekend and freeze for the week. Add 2 handfuls of veges for a great protein rich meal
Make up 5 little baggies of nuts and seeds for snacks. This stops you from mindlessly overeating while checking emails. Replenish every Sunday night. ¼ cup per serve
Make it a habit to always pack your lunch while you prepare dinner
2/ Work it at work
Getting enough movement into our lives can feel like a struggle. Research suggests we need 30 minutes of exercise a day but our increasingly sedentary jobs and lifestyles make it hard to fit in. Since we spend most of our lives at work why not use it to our advantage?
What about instigating a group exercise class at work? You probably have colleagues who are equally in need of more exercise (tip – be careful how you word it when floating the idea. “Hey you look like you could do with some exercise” probably wont go down well!). See who’s interested in a weekly pilates, yoga or training session then organize a trainer to come to your office or nearby park once a week. Doing it this way brings down the cost, makes it uber convenient and has the added bonus of accountability; one of the key factors in determining whether you stick to a new exercise habit or not.
If you work with people who would rather eat crickets than exercise, think about joining a gym close to work and doing half an hour at lunchtime. Or, one of my personal favourites; make exercise part of your commute. Walking or running to or from work may take extra time but the exercise serves a purpose (other than just exercise) and it means you can sit and enjoy a relaxed lunch later in the day.
If you’re the type of person who likes to keep their sweat life and work life separate I totally get it! My personal trainer, fitness expert, extraordinary all round awesome person recommendation is Jen Reider. Or, maybe some physio led pilates sounds appealing? Can’t recommend the girls at Evolve Integrated Health more. See, I got you covered, now there’s no excuse!
3/ Breaks, large and small
Taking breaks from work whether just a lunch break or a 3 week holiday has been shown to benefit your performance at work as well as helping your health. It can be so hard to take breaks at work because like most of us, you probably have a to-do list the length of your arm. But mini mental breaks such as a walk in fresh air actually help us focus on a task and be more productive when we return to it. Research even suggests we need brief interruptions from tasks in order to optimise our creativity. During these mini mental breaks we think differently and can often solve difficult problems out of the blue. That’s why we often have our best ideas while driving or showering!
Taking holidays and completely switching off from work is also important. It can seem hard to find the right time to take that break, especially if you work for yourself or in a small business. But it’s crucial to your health and the health of your business/career to prioritise holidays. In one study (The Framington Heart Study) they found that men who regularly skipped holidays were 30% more likely to suffer a heart attack. A powerful reason to change your work/holiday habits. How can you incorporate breaks, both large and small into your work life? Like anything it’s about planning. Just do it!