I am about two years into my corporate career and, while I’m by no means an expert, I have picked up a thing or two besides SAP. I am blessed enough to have had a preview of my company through an internship during the summer before I finished grad school so getting used to the 9 to 5 grind wasn’t a complete shock to my system. It was an adjustment, though. Although, technically, I don’t work from 9 to 5…more like 7:30 to 5:30 (usually). I work in the energy industry and a common flexible work arrangement in our field is called the 9/80, which is what I do. This means that I work 80 hours over a nine-day period and my tenth day is off. I am in the office 7:30-5:30 Monday through Thursday, then 7:30-4:30 one Friday and off the next. Same number of hours put in but I get a three-day weekend every other week, which is great for running errands, traveling or working on blog posts for my lovely readers. 🙂 We spend so much of our lives working, so it’s important to find ways to maximize that time. If you are starting a new job soon or, perhaps, in a bit of a rut with your current routine, here are some tips I find helpful in keeping on track. All of these hacks may not be possible at every company or office but, hopefully, at least one will result in a positive addition to your routine!
#1 Don’t Eat During Lunch
Seriously! This one might sound off the wall but hear me out. I almost never eat my lunch during “lunchtime”. I tend to eat while I work so that I can use my lunch period to do a myriad of things. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I take a yoga class in the gym at our office. Tuesdays, I mentor an 8th-grade girl at a local school. Thursdays, I get in a nap, if needed, or work on blog stuff. And if I’m in the office on a Friday, I do a full-body workout at the office gym. I definitely understand that not every office is equipped with a gym and sometimes deadlines prevent you from having a free lunch period at all. Also, you might want to eat and socialize with coworkers or friends outside your company. I do that too! The above activities are part of my general routine but there’s always room to switch things up.
#2 Take the Stairs
I’ll admit, I struggle with this one. At the top of my list of excuses is that I wear heels almost every day, and I’m not talking kitten heels, either. Also, I have patellofemoral syndrome, which is a fancy term for knee pain from years of dancing. Weirdly enough, it presents itself when I’m going down stairs [which is supposed to be the easy part!] Sometimes I have to leave a little earlier for meetings but a lot of the time, it’s faster than waiting for the elevator. Nothing is worse that being on an elevator that stops at every floor on the way to yours crossing your eyes and thinking “I could have been there by now had I taken the stairs!” So, whatever is getting in your way of just applying this tip, know that I feel you. Do it anyway! You’ll feel better about yourself.
#3 Park Farther [or Higher]
The benefit of this is pretty obvious. Even if you don’t wear a pedometer or a Fitbit, you know that more steps and activity are good things. Whether you park in a garage or on a surface lot for work, try not to take the closet spot you see. Unless you’re running late for a meeting, it won’t do any harm to park a bit farther from the door. I park on the highest covered level of the company garage in order to get more walking in without coming back to a hotbox at the end of the day. Texas heat keeps me from parking on the roof!
#4 Utilize Company Perks
My day job is in HR so I’ll put that hat on for this one. If you work for a larger company (or even if you don’t), look into the fitness-related incentives and perks available to you. Many companies these days offer reduced health insurance premium rates for doing things like not [or quitting] smoking but you might be surprised to also find out about discounts on things like gym memberships as well. Additionally, most companies have an EAP (employee assistance program) with advisors available to help you with anything from mental health to financial fitness.
#5 Just Say No!
…to the free food. Crazy, right? Wrong! Unless you’re one of those people who can eat whatever, whenever, without repercussion, then it’s probably wise to decline the communal donuts and cake every once in a while. I’m not gonna lie and say I don’t indulge because I do BUT I usually have my own prepped meal and snack options* on hand that keep me from going all the way in on the cupcakes at the monthly birthday celebration or the spread at a lunch and learn meeting. One of my coworkers, Ms. Betty, is the healthiest woman ever. She works out during almost every lunch period and I’ve never seen her order dessert at a business meal or grab at the sweets put out in our departmental kitchen area. She is legit and I hope to have half her resolve when I’m older…still working on mastering that kind of willpower in the present! I try to think of what she would do whenever I’m faced with the candy bowl on someone’s desk. I think I make a decision she’d be pleased with about 60 percent of the time. 🙂
*I cover how to stay prepared for the work week in this Meal Prepping 101 post.
#6 (Bonus) Set Up Shop
Now, I’m not encouraging you to bring in kitchen appliances or anything like that but if you have space in a drawer or cubby, why not use it to store a few things that will help you maintain healthy eating habits? I keep a bowl, utensils, and mug in an overhead cubby at all times. At the beginning of each week I bring in the applesauce and homemade oatmeal mix I typically eat for breakfast. It’s simple and takes almost no time to make but it saves me [and my wallet] from grabbing breakfast during my commute or from the cafeteria each day. I also don’t have to try to rush and eat on my way out the door or while driving. If you don’t have time to eat in your office, this baked oatmeal can be made ahead, portioned, and taken on the go!
What are some ways you balance/integrate your health and fitness goals with your career? Thanks for reading!