Healthy Work Life: Take Care of Yours

By: Caroline Dowd-Higgins

The donuts are there to greet you in the break room…the Diet Coke is the “perfect fix” for getting through the afternoon…it’s so much easier to “push through” rather than get up from the desk to stretch… and so it goes, often day after day.

We spend the majority of our lives at work. While we’re there, we’re focused, productive and taking care of business, but it can be at the expense of our own self-care.

Optimum health is our greatest asset and to help support it at work, consider creating a schedule to help integrate the following five habits into your daily routine:

1) Sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults 26 to 64 years old require somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Sufficient sleep makes a huge difference in your ability to function effectively during your hours at work.

2) Hydrate. Eat Healthy.

WebMD recommends eight to ten glasses of water a day along with healthy snacks such as fruit and whole grains. If there’s a dearth of healthy choices in the office vending machines, consider bringing your own snacks from home.

[Related: ​Eat to Beat the 3pm Slump]

3) Keep Moving.

Since extended sitting is considered the new smoking in today’s working world, set regular “stretch” breaks to keep from becoming sedentary. A study conducted by the Annals of Internal Medicine found that getting up to walk and stretch every thirty minutes or so is advisable throughout the day to counteract the detrimental effects of prolonged inactivity. Also consider incorporating a standing desk, or more walking meetings to stay mobile.

4) Meditate.

Another great way to de-stress to get you through the day is ​meditation. If you’re able to shut your office door or find a private space to be still — even for just ten minutes — the benefits are well worth it. Meditation is a great way to reduce anxiety, improve attention span and generally get centered and refreshed to help you through your day.

5) Take Good Care Before And After.

Working out before or after work can go a long way towards a healthy well-being on the job. Taking a screen break before bed is ideal as well for a mini digital detox.

Self-care tends to be put on the back burner when we’re in the thick of it at work, but creating a daily ‘good health’ schedule — using post-it note reminders or alerts on your phone — can help bring good health habits back, front and center.

[Related: 5 Daily Habits That Promote Ongoing Success]

Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book “This Is Not the Career I Ordered” now in the 2nd edition and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name. She is also the Executive Director of Career & Professional Development at the Indiana University Alumni Association. She hosts and produces an online show called Thrive! about career & life empowerment for women on YouTube. Caroline also hosts the international podcast series Your Working Life- on iTunes. Follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Originally published on

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