The New Year brings with it the opportunity to take a closer look at some of your habits, reflect honestly on your health and think about how you can bring even more vitality to the year ahead.
Many of you will have already set a New Year resolution to improve your health and, whatever this may be, you can make the journey easier by ensuring you make healthy choices during the working day.
It can be easy ignore unhealthy habits at work and only focus on your health outside of office hours, but health experts know this isn’t enough if you really want to make a change.
To help you stay strong, here are our four top tips for how to stick to your healthy New Year resolutions at work.
Stay active through the working day
It’s easy to make overly aspirational resolutions at New Year but ultimately the way to really improve your health is to commit to something sustainable that you can stick at over time and easily build into your daily routine.
Instead of over-committing and then giving up after one week, make some simple changes you know you can stick to. Choose to take the stairs instead of the lift and you will be rewarded with many health benefits, including reducing early mortality risk by 33% by climbing just eight flights of stairs a day.
Including between two and four hours of standing rather than sitting at your desk each working day can have major health benefits, from improved energy levels to reduced risk of cardiometabolic diseases, according to research funded by Public Health England.
Going for a brisk walk at lunch time, or taking a walking meeting rather than a conventional chair bound meeting, helps to clock up towards the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity per day, as well as keeping your energy levels up and metabolism active.
Eating healthy and delicious foods is a surefire way to improve your wellbeing, stay hydrated throughout the day and feel more bouncy than the Energiser bunny.
Make it easy to make the healthy choice at work by preparing some simple meals that you can take into the office, happy in the knowledge you are nourishing your body. There are lots of great free tools available, such as Change4Life’s Meal Mixer, to support you along the way. If you need some recipe inspiration, BBC GoodFood has lots of healthy recipes and even makes a shopping list of the ingredients for you.
Swap unhealthy snacks, like crisps and chocolate, for fruit and nuts by making the good stuff more available Keep an apple or a pot of plain unsalted almonds on your desk to make it easy to choose the healthy option. You could even try making these healthy slow energy release granola bars, delicious and nutritious!
Set goals (and celebrate your achievements!)
It’s always motivating to set yourself goals so that you really notice when you are making progress. Reaching your targets will keep you going and remind you that your hard work is really worth it.
It’s important to understand that your new healthy habits are much more likely to stick if you introduce them gradually by breaking them down into achievable ‘bite-size’ chunks. Whatever your goal, there are lots of great tools and apps available to help you along the way.
If you have resolved to quit smoking, the Smokefree App is a fantastic support tool to keep you on track. Perhaps your resolution is to cut down on alcohol, or sugar? Change for Life offers a great Drinks Tracker and Sugar Smart App which are really helpful.
If you want to step up your daily physical activity, StepJockey’s free smartphone app allows you to track how many calories you burn by taking the stairs. You can set goals to work towards, and even encourage others to get involved by running one of our exciting stair climbing challenges.
Every time you reach a new target, or overcome a new milestone, make sure you celebrate it. Share the news with your family and friends so they can support you along your journey to greater health. You might even inspire them to join in with you!
Be more mindful and resilient
Too much stress can lead to health problems, including headaches, heart palpitations and even high blood pressure. Not only that, but it can also reduce your productivity, leaving you likely to feel even more on edge.
We recently published a blog post highlighting 5 simple ways to reduce stress at work - take a read and a nice deep breath, and you’ll be reducing those harmful cortisol levels straight away.
Step up to improve your health
StepJockey is here to help you take steps to a healthier future, and specialises in establishing a sustainable culture of health and wellbeing in the workplace. Find out more about StepJockey by watching this video for an introduction to how the initiative works or visit https://www.stepjockey.com.