When you consider what changes you need to make to support your healthy lifestyle goals, it usually comes down to the environment you set up for yourself. Think about how and where you spend most of your weekly hours and that decides where most of your efforts should be directed. For most people, “home” and “work” top that list, and while we can’t always change our workplace or home location, we can modify those areas to encourage healthy habits!
First of all, remember the following:
Out of sight, out of mind.
If there are certain foods or drinks you can’t help but indulge in, keep them out of sight! Without “easy” access to them, you simply won’t consume them as often. At home this means consciously choosing groceries and snacks and limiting “extras.” At work this may mean suggesting healthy snacks for the office pantry, and/or consciously avoiding vending machines or cafes – altering your commute, even if it’s just from the door to your desk!
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Healthy choices are easier when you plan ahead! This means stocking up on groceries that you can make healthy meals and snacks with, packing up those meals and snacks for the workday, planning ahead for workouts, etc. The more planning done, the better!
Then, try all or a few of these hacks for home and office health:
1. Set a reminder to move!
It’s too easy to realize you’ve been sitting or immobile for hours. The more you move, the more energized you’ll feel and more productive you’ll be! While a 5-min walk may take you away from 5 minutes of work, that’s usually a good thing. Stir those creative juices or simply give your brain a break to recharge.
Try an app, calendar reminder, setting an alarm, or simply saying “on the hour” it’s time to move!
2. Express gratitude weekly.
Many “secrets to happiness” come back to positivity and gratitude, and while we rarely hold back on complaints, it can be rare to give someone a simple “thank you” for a job well done. At home and at work, it may boost your mood to frequently tell someone you appreciate what they do!
3. Prop up your computer for a standing “desk.”
This doesn’t have to be fancy or technical; grab a few boxes, books, or even reams of paper and voila! You have a standing “desk.” Alternate between standing and sitting at home and at work to engage your leg muscles, core, and energy levels!
4. Clean up your station!
A disorganized desk can cloud your productivity and distract you, not to mention a dirty desk may actually affect your physical health. Wipe down your phone and keyboard frequently, put things away at the end of the day, and organize as you see fit!
5. Keep a reusable water-bottle handy at all times.
Fill it up before meetings and meals, carry it with you to/from rooms at home or in the office, and try to consume a full “bottle” (typically anywhere from 16-30+ oz) at least twice throughout the workday. Hydration levels affect our energy, metabolism, and hunger cues!
6. Plan and prioritize workouts and meals!
See above. The more planning you can do with meals, snacks, and exercise, the more successful you’ll be in maintaining your healthy routine. Think about how many days per week you want to bring lunch to work (or when lunch may be provided for meetings, etc), cook dinner at home (to complement nights of eating out or social engagements), hit the gym, etc. Set time aside at the beginning of your week and organize your schedule to accommodate your goals.
There are so many more ways you could “hack” your home, office, and/or home-office to increase healthy lifestyle routines, so just use this list as a start. We’d love to hear from you if there are any tips/tricks you’ve discovered that made a big change, too!
Heather Caplan is a registered dietitian and running coach based out of the San Jose, CA area. She’s usually training for a marathon, traveling, teaching or practicing yoga – or all of the above! You can find her life anecdotes or work with her over at HeatherCaplan.com.Second Photo Credit: Donatella Tandell/Shutterstock.comi; Third Photo Credit: Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock.com.