Working at a desk job full-time can be pretty tiring and sometimes Fridays can seem sooo far away. If you’re at the office working away for 8 hours a day, it can be not just mentally but also physically exhausting if you’re using the computer and staring at the same cubicle walls day in and day out. To stay motivated and avoid experiencing a burnout, here are some easy tips to keep yourself healthy and sane when you work at a desk job.
To help keep your body pain-free, posture is super important especially if you’re sitting at your desk for 8 hours a day. Here are some ways to keep your posture in check to avoid hunching over your desk:
Set Up Your Work Station
It’s so important to set up your workstation in a beneficial way so that practice proper posture. One way to keep yourself healthy is to use an ergonomic chair when you sit at your desk. Your posture will be negatively affected if you don’t use the proper chair and a good quality monitor that is adjusted at eye level.
Having poor posture can give you future neck, shoulder, and back pains along with spine alignment issues and so more – all of which you do not want to avoid! I’ve personally experienced some back pain and neck pain from constantly hunching over my desk at work so I definitely get now why it’s so important to sit properly.
A great way is to try to talk to your company’s HR team or manager to get an ergonomic chair that’s right for you. It’ll help prevent you from dealing with years of pain and physiotherapy sessions. Better to prevent this now than to have to deal with the consequences later when you do feel pain!
Lower Back Support
Another great addition to keep you healthy and sane at your desk is to use an ergonomic cushion for back support. I personally own an Obus Forme cushion and it seriously makes sitting down for long periods of time so much more comfortable! Both my neck and back get so much more support when I use it and I feel less back pain.
2. Keep Active
It’s so important to keep active when you’re sedentary for most of the day and it’ll seriously help keep you healthy and sane at your desk job. Being sedentary ages your body much faster and you’ll feel lazier, unmotivated, and more lethargic if you don’t exercise regularly.
Get Up Every Hour
A great way to stay active during the day is to get up once an hour for a few minutes. I like getting up and walking around the office once or twice to get the blood flowing once every hour. Or I’ll make my way to the office kitchen to refill my teacup because I’m an avid tea drinker!
In addition to walking around the office, a good way to keep your body active during work is to stretch every few hours. Do a few back, arm, and neck stretches to elongate and activate your muscles that aren’t used when you regularly sit at your desk. Here are 8 easy and discreet stretches you can do at your desk without getting any crazy stares from your coworkers!
If you’re staring at your computer all day long, it’s always good to take frequent eye breaks every so often by focusing on objects far away to help reduce eye strain. Another great way to relieve eye strain is to give yourself eye massages every few hours.
Stand Up Desk
If your office has standing desks that are height adjustable, this is a great option to help you stay less sedentary when you’re working at your desk. Although it isn’t my ideal position when I’m working, it’s a great option if you’re comfortable, productive, and able to focus when you’re standing up.
Walk To Work
A great way to keep active and exercise when you work at a desk job is to walk or bike to work if you don’t live too far away from your office. Of course, if you live far away from work and have to commute by car or bus, this wouldn’t be an option. However, if you drive or bus to work, you can still choose ways to increase your physical activity. Try walking up the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator or parking a little further away from work and walking to the building.
3. Make Friends
A must, if you want to stay healthy and sane at work, is to make friends at your office! Having a few buddies at the office seriously helps make the day go by so much faster and it makes going to work every day a lot more fun too. It’s also very therapeutic to have a great support group if you need to vent about work and they’ll totally understand where you’re coming from.
A few ways to make new friends at the office is to help others when they need it, initiate conversations when you’re in the lunch room, and join in on company social events and volunteer groups. If you’re more reserved, it might take a little more initiative from your part but you’ll be glad you did!
4. Take Your Breaks
It’s so important to recharge and keep yourself healthy and sane when you work at a desk job especially if you’re stuck in your cubicle all day long! Taking your breaks can be a huge refresher while you’re at the office.
An excellent way to really help you recharge halfway through the day is to walk outside during your lunch break. I love stepping out of the office at lunch because it helps to break up the day in half. If your lunch break is long enough, you can even finish some errands or get a quick workout in at the gym if it’s nearby. It’s a great way to save time so you’ll have more time to do other things after work and you’ll get the much-needed happy endorphins to help you last through the afternoon!
Morning & Afternoon Breaks
Don’t forget to take your morning and afternoon breaks as well. One of my favorite things to do during my morning break is to walk to the cafe to get a cup of coffee or steeped tea. It helps to break up the morning in half and time passes by much faster. In the afternoon, taking a break also helps if you tend to experience the dreaded afternoon slump.
5. Eat Healthy
Another important thing to do at work is to eat healthily. This is especially true because you’re sitting at a desk day in and day out since there’s not a lot of physical activity involved. Try not to be lazy and eat out all the time (especially junk food!) even though it may be really convenient and accessible depending on where you work.
To save yourself time and ensure that you bring healthy lunches to work, you can set a day to meal prep for the upcoming week. I tend to bring healthy lunches from Monday to Thursday and then go out to eat with coworkers or by myself on Fridays to treat myself. It’s a great way to watch what you eat and at the same time save money! Double win!
6. Listen To Music
A great way to also stay productive, healthy and sane when you’re working at your desk job is to listen to music (if your office allows it though, of course). I like to listen to music with my headphones when the office starts to get really loud and I really need to concentrate. I find that listening to music helps me focus on the task at hand so much better.
7. Clean Your Desk
You know that feeling when your room is really cluttered and you feel lazy and less productive? This is so true for me regardless if I’m at home and or work. To counter this, I always make time when I’m at work to clean my desk either at the start of the workday, end of the day or just whenever I have the spare time. If you’re the same, make time to do this simple task and you’ll feel much more ready to work! Put loose papers, notebooks, pens, books, and garbage where they belong because a clean desk will definitely save you from feeling overwhelmed.
Decorate Your Desk & Cubicle
A great way to personalize your desk and cubicle and help make your workplace feel a little bit more like home is to put up decorations and pictures that remind you of your loved ones and your life outside of work. It’s not going to help the time pass by any faster (don’t we all wish it did, hah!) but surrounding yourself with things that you enjoy and like to look at will make you feel happier. Being that your office is the place that you spend most of your waking hours at, why not make it a bright and happy environment, right? If a picture of your dog or family members on your cubicle wall helps you to stay healthy and sane at work, don’t be ashamed to put it up!
8. Keep Organized
If you’re swamped at work, a great way to stay motivated at your job is to stay organized. You want to avoid feeling overwhelmed with deadlines and tasks that haven’t been finished.
Plan Your Day
One easy way to keep organized is to plan your day with a planner and work calendar. I like to plan exactly what I’m going to do for the day by writing down in my trusty Moleskine planner which tasks need to be done and when they’re due. This helps me feel more organized, less anxious, and more productive. I also highly recommend being proactive by planning your entire week in advance (such as on a Sunday) so you know what to expect.
Keep A Work Log Book
Another great way to stay organized is to keep a daily or weekly work log book of everything you’ve accomplished and all of the projects you’ve been a part of. Having this log book will help you track of exactly what you’ve accomplished in your position and you’ll be able to identify the future goals and skills you’ll need to achieve to help you further your career. It’s also a great log to look back on when you’re searching for a new job position and preparing for an upcoming interview.
9. Use Your Commute Time Wisely
Do you ever feel like you never have time to do anything because your job takes up your entire life on the weekdays? If you’re spending multiple hours out of your week commuting to and from your 9 to 5 job, that also doesn’t help! You’re most probably going to feel exhausted just from traveling unless you’re lucky to work minutes away from home. Don’t let your job take control of your life! Use your commute time wisely and do something that makes you feel happier, uplifted, and more productive!
If you drive and you’re stuck in traffic, listen to music to help yourself feel more relaxed or catch up on the news on AM radio and broaden your understanding of the world. If you take public transport, try reading a book, studying if you go to school part-time, or listening to an audiobook if you’re not much of a reader. (If you’ve never listened to audiobooks before, you can try Audible for yourself and get 2 FREE audiobooks with my link here.)
We all only have the same number of hours in the week to get things done so do something that brings you closer towards your goals and motivates you to achieve more!
10. Change Your Work Schedule
If you ever start to feel like you need more flexible work hours in order to have a better work-life balance, see if your office can accommodate your needs. Here are a few things you can talk about with HR and see if they’re available options:
Work From Home
If your job allows you to telecommute and work from home a few days of the week, this is one job perk that can really brighten your day and help make the work week go by a whole lot faster. Not only will you be able to skip the amount of time it takes to travel to work, but you’ll also save on gas money, wake up later, and you can work in your PJ’s right in the comfort of your home!
Some workplaces also have flex time and compressed work weeks, so if these are options at your office, take full advantage of them. It’s so much more enjoyable if you can work the hours you want to, especially if you have to pick your kids up from school every day or if you just want to avoid rush hour traffic. It’s also great if you can choose to have a 4-day work week where you work longer days but get an extra day off. Getting a 3 day weekend every week or two is pretty sweet!
11. Practice Self-Care
Lastly, don’t forget to take care of yourself when you go home after work. Use that time to relax, meditate, hang out with friends, and recharge so that you’ll feel ready to kick ass at work the next day! If you’re looking for a few ideas on how to de-stress and practice self-care, head on over to my post on 8 ways to relax and unwind.
And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed my 11 tips on how to stay healthy and sane when you’re working at a desk job. Ensuring that you have the right environment, a great support group at work, and practicing self-care will go a long way to staying mentally sane and physically healthy for years to come. You’ll feel more productive and ready to work until the weekend hits.
What are some ways you like to stay healthy and sane at your desk job? Feel free to share in the comments!