Corporate Wellness: Small Changes = Big Difference
Working out at the gym and working “in corporate” don’t always “work” together for a healthy lifestyle. It was one year ago that I exchanged a twenty minute commute, along beautiful countryside back roads, for an hour and a half commute that included stop and go traffic along the interstate. It was also at this time my habitual daily workouts became slim to none. Let me clarify, the workouts were becoming slim, not me. I went from working out every day, for an hour plus, to sitting in my car for three hours a day. As a result, my physical and mental wellness began to diminish. I was crabby; crabby from the traffic, crabby because I was tired, crabby from sitting at my desk all day, just crabby, and it made me feel horrible. It was a difficult realization, but I accepted I was not going to last long in my new career feeling horrible. That was when I knew I had to make a change. I was done feeling groggy, sluggish and unhappy.
To make a change, I had to get pro-active about my choices each and every day. Change is not always fun. It takes effort, but once I began to make little changes here and there, it all began to work together resulting with a happier, healthier, less crabby, version of myself.
4 Simple Plans to Incorporate Healthy Habits in Your Day:
- Make a Plan to Include Some Form of Physical Activity.
Plan your schedule to include at least 20 minutes of activity that will get your heart going and your body sweating a bit. Whether the activity is in the morning, during your lunch break, or after work – plan it. If I workout in the morning, I am sure to lay out my workout clothes and set my alarm early. If it’s after work, pack a bag with workout clothes and sit it on your front seat. So after work, when you consider just going home to the couch and having a beer, those clothes are staring you in the face saying, “Ok, but first, let’s sweat!” Hold yourself accountable with this plan. As a result, you will feel physically accomplished that you did it, but you will also have the mental satisfaction of following through with the plan.
Another way to include physical activity is to ask your corporate company about wellness programs offered. Russell Tobin pays for a yoga class once a month in our Minneapolis office. “These classes allows people to step away from their desks to move comfortably and breathe. They return to work feeling refreshed. Movement is key for health; both physically and mentally,” says Yoga Instructor Alex Johnson.
- Plan healthy snacks.
Let’s be real here, it’s hard find the time to make a lunch. So plan out your shopping lists and keep it simple by having healthy snacks on hand to pack. Healthy snacks can include fresh fruit, pre-cut cheese, almonds, veggies or even a protein shake. If you go out to lunch, as many of us do in the corporate world, plan what you will order. Don’t decide while you look at the menu, it’s too tempting to splurge. Have a plan before you go out by viewing the menu online. Look for the healthy options, make a decision and you are prepared for a healthy lunch before you even sit down.
- Plan to make it a team effort.
Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork – it’s a part of our corporate methods, so why not make it part of our workout methods. I am lucky enough to work for a company who encourages teamwork. Twice a year there are challenges between offices throughout the U.S. (and hopefully in London soon). As part of the workout competition we track how many planks completed, miles walked/ran, squats or workout classes (minutes) we have completed over the allotted time. With these competitions, everyone wins – whether it be winning the bragging rights, lowering the number on the scale or strengthening your body. So plan a 15 minute lunch break walk with your co-worker or coordinate a daily squat challenge around the water cooler – whatever you may choose, your body and mind will thank you.
- Standing Desk or Yoga Ball Chair.
Let’s face it, sitting is killing us. I sit so much on my way to and from work, thinking of sitting all day at work makes me, well, crabby. So take out the common denominator and don’t sit. I am thankful that my employer provided me with a standing desk. If standing isn’t an option, try the yoga ball method. You can sit on any yoga ball with the proper height or there are many yoga chair options online!
The simpler you make your plan, the more likely you are to stick with it. It isn’t always fun, it’s not easy and results won’t be instant, but if you get pro-active, make the small changes and are consistent, you will see the big difference as you become a healthier, happier version of yourself.