Most tech jobs require you to sit in front of a computer for at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (even more if you’re working startup hours). This can take a serious toll on your health. But all is not lost! You can still implement a healthy lifestyle and work habit changes to compensate.
1. Get enough sleep
In the fast-paced world of tech, sleep may seem like a waste of time when you could be fixing bugs during crunch time. But sufficient rest is an essential ingredient to a healthy lifestyle and an efficient brain. Less than 7-8 hours a night has proven to disrupt our focus, memory, reaction time and creativity to name a few.
2. Eat nutrition dense foods
With the craze of diets like paleo, keto, and intermittent fasting, whatever your choice, make sure you’re eating clean, nutrition-dense foods, whether your first meal is breakfast or lunch. Make sure whatever meal plan you’re using actually works for your body type because fasting, for example, can have a horrible effect on some. Bulletproof coffees are a good way to pack in some high-quality calories if you’re on the run and need optimal brain function.
3. Prep meals and snacks to bring to the office
Taking control of what you bring to eat is the easiest way to regulate what you put in your mouth throughout the day. I personally love to double or triple recipes so that I have left-overs for my lunches. This takes little effort and will allow you to make a healthier choice. In addition, it is much more cost-effective than ordering take-out or going to the vending machine for snacks.
4. Drink water and not calories
Very often, thirst is mistaken for hunger and we incorrectly snack. Sleepiness is often caused by dehydration or sugar hangovers, so keep yourself well hydrated by drinking a lot of water throughout the day (amount depends on your body size) and avoid drinks with sugar, especially artificial sweeteners. You can also add lemon, lime, cucumbers or any fruit in your water for added flavor.
5. Fit exercise into your life
Going to the gym before or after a long day at work may be the last thing on your mind but it can easily be worked into your schedule 3-5 times per week, even if it is just for 30 minutes. Some companies have in-house gyms that employees can take advantage of throughout the day to make it easier to implement in your routine. Some companies have a standing or elliptical desk that I’d love to take advantage of!
6. Don’t stay at your desk too long
Sitting at a desk all day can cause fatigue and stress, so it is important to walk around the office and stretch often. Try to take breaks every hour or so to remain active. Take a lap around the office while your code is compiling, take a walk outside during your lunch break or walk to the bathroom. You can even set a break reminder on your computer. Besides, if you are drinking enough water you should be needing to go to the bathroom often!
7. Maintain good posture when sitting
Neck and back pain can occur when sitting in a bad position for long periods of time. According to Dr. Jim Sheedy, director of the Vision Performance Institute at Pacific University, the top of your screen should be level with your eyes to make it easier for you to sit straight. You want to sit in a chair at a height where you can sit with your shoulders pulled back and relaxed, you’re sitting up tall, and your forearms are parallel to the ground so you are not reaching for the keyboard or leaning towards the screen. The better you feel physically, the better you perform mentally.
8. Wash your hands often
I know I may sound like your grade school teacher but for real, washing your hands is the best way to keep yourself and your co-workers from getting sick. Always wash your hands before you eat, after using the restroom and after sneezing and coughing. This little habit goes a long way.
Working in the tech industry can be tiring and stressful, but that does not mean that you should let your health slip. With a few small changes to your daily routine, you can easily improve your workflow and lifestyle in one.
How do you lead a healthy lifestyle while sitting in a chair 8 hours a day? I’d love to know how you stay healthy at work.