The start of a new year is seen as the time to throw away bad habits and start good ones. However, the most ambitious new year’s resolutions can end up broken within a few days. Change is difficult, and it’s always easier to make small steps towards a better lifestyle. Here are a few simple changes you can make to your daily routine to make life just that little bit healthier.
Cut down on caffeine
We all like to punctuate our working day with coffee breaks, but excessive caffeine can raise your blood pressure, interfere with your sleep and make you feel more anxious. Also, using caffeinated drinks for a boost in the office can become a vicious cycle which combines with poor sleep to mean you only ever feel ‘energised’ after another espresso. But you don’t have to give up tea and coffee altogether – simply cutting down or alternating with herbal teas could reduce your caffeine intake considerably.
How many sugars are you taking?
It’s not just caffeine you need to worry about. Many people don’t realise just how much sugar they take with their hot drinks. Adding a single teaspoon of sugar to a cup of coffee doesn’t seem like much, but five hot drinks during a working day adds up to 25 teaspoons of sugar a week – that’s over 1,200 teaspoons in a year! And this doesn’t include drinks outside of work or the sugar you ingest through your food. Seen in this light, even slightly reducing the amount of sugar you add to drinks can have a big impact in the long term.
Watch out for the office buffet
Even those who pride themselves on eating healthily let themselves go when it comes to those sumptuous trays of sandwiches they wheel out for lunchtime meetings. If you’re lucky, then those sandwiches were made fresh in the office kitchen, but more likely than not, they were mass produced by a nearby catering company using ready-made sandwich mixes pumped full of preservatives and sugars. Try not to overdo it.
Walk…and take the stairs
Professional jobs can be very sedentary, and being forced to sit at your desk for upwards of seven hours a day means little in the way of physical activity. Joining the gym is great, but you can work exercise into your daily routine by getting off the bus a stop earlier and walking, or by taking the stairs rather than the lift. Again, small changes can have a big cumulative impact.
Clear your mind
Taking your mind off of a stressful day is easier said than done if that deadline is all you can think about. Try meditation, either by joining a yoga class (which will also boost your physical health too) or make use of apps such as Headspace which you can download to your smartphone or listen to online. They are a great way of learning how to control an overly active mind and reaching greater mental balance.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Finally, if you are going to spend most of your working day sitting down, then at least make sure your workstation is comfortable. Problems such as back pain or repetitive strain injury can all be limited or avoided through ergonomic seating or items such as mousepads or keyboard armrests.