Becky Runs Boston

My adventures running in Boston, searching for that runner's chai.

Being Healthy During the 9-5 Grind

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Your typical 9-5 desk job does not readily provide an employee with opportunities for healthy activity. Sitting, staring at a computer screen, never leaving your desk, and eating whatever is quick and cheap kind of adds up to the most unhealthy way to spend your day. So, what do you do to fix the situation? Here are my tips on packing food and getting in critical activity and movement to make workdays healthier and happier.

FOOD!

I have been called out by coworkers on multiple occasions for the number of snack containers that litter my desk. But, duh, what’s the best way to ensure you eat healthy all day? Bring your own food! On a typical day, I will bring my breakfast, lunch, and assorted snacks with me to work. WW teaches the importance of thinking ahead when it comes to food, because last-minute decisions are oftentimes bad decisions. So, this means that (more often than not) I will pack my lunchbox the night before.

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My grocery basket when Eric was away in San Francisco – smoothies, pb&j yogurt parfaits, vegetarian stuffed eggplant…. and ice cream.

Breakfast Ideas:

When I first thought of making green smoothies, I really loved these recipes from A Beautiful Mess, especially Days 4 and 5.

Or, if you need a chocolate fix first thing in the am, there’s this Chocolate Frosty Light from Rabbit Food for my Bunny Teeth.

If smoothies aren’t your thing and you need something more substantial, how about 2% Greek yogurt and granola? Or, if you’re feeling fancy, try the amazing peanut butter and jelly yogurt parfait from krista and jess.

Lunch Time:

Quinoa Salad-in-a-Jar from The Yummy Life – includes WW points! And delicious. And you can make all of them on Sunday to get you through the whole week.

Avocado spinach wraps (avocado + spinach + whatever else you want + wrap) – or, if you need something more specific, check out some of these recipes from Yummly.

Or, for the days when you need something that tastes decadent, there’s these skinny burritos in a jar from Skinny Ms.

These are all so easy to make AND portable, making sure you have no excuse to keep grabbing crap from the vending machine or fast food shop down the street.

DESK!

If you’re like me, your cubicle is like a second home – so make it comfortable! And by comfortable, I mean find a way to get a standing desk.

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This is where I stand.

Standing desks are awesome. My lovely employer has slowly started providing people with standing desks and after a few months on the waiting list, one was installed at my cubicle on my 1 year anniversary of being at Harvard. It’s a life-changer. I now spend the majority of time standing, and I’m pretty sure it’s been a big help for my lower back pain.

NOTE: Another fun perk of having a standing desk is that it’s way better to dance around while typing up reports when you’re standing. Just sayin. All the moving, grooving, and typing is so good for my health.

And, best part, it’s super easy to manipulate the desk so I can move it down and sit when I’m feeling tired and/or lazy.

Don’t have an employer willing to invest in a fancy standing desk? Build your own! (Just ask Sarah – she’s a pro)

FUN!

Today, coworker Meryl and I went on quite an adventure – we went for a run during our lunch break. WHAT? Yup. It happened. At 11:20am, we left our desks and changed into running gear. We were out the door by 11:30am. We ran around Harvard Square and Cambridge for 20 minutes. And then we cleaned ourselves up (wet wipes and deodorant are really all you need while it’s still 30ish degrees outside) and were back at our desks before noon. We’ve officially started a running club and other coworkers will be joining us on runs next week. The goal is to do this 3 times each week, depending on weather. AND, apparently there are showers somewhere in the building that we can use when the weather starts getting warmer and actual showers become necessary.

I don’t expect that we’ll all want to run the same routes or at the same pace – or even have the same schedules for when taking these running breaks is feasible. However, I think that it’ll be comforting and motivating to know that other people in the building are just as crazy/health-conscious.

Maybe a mid-day run isn’t possible (I used to think it was a crazy idea) but the main goal of getting outside to enjoy the fresh air and endorphins remains the same whether you go for a 20 minute run or a 15 minute walk. Everyone is busy and over-worked, but in the long run, taking just a few minutes for yourself will make you healthier, happier, and more productive.

What do you do to stay happy and healthy during the work day? Give me some more tips in the comments!

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5 thoughts on “Being Healthy During the 9-5 Grind

  1. Can you share some good snack ideas?? The breakfast and lunch ones are great, but I find coming up with creative snacks to fill the void is the hardest! Thanks for being so inspiring!

    • Good question! Some of my favorites/some of the ones I’ll be snacking on this week are: oranges, bananas, carrots, cheese sticks, and Lara Bars for the moments I’m *really* hungry or need a snack late in the day if I’m not eating dinner soon after work. I used to snack a LOT more (mini chocolate chips and mini marshmellows was another favorite for my sweet tooth) but I’ve found that I’ve been a lot busier at work and have been too distracted to need as many snacks. Weird, right??

      • Thanks so much for the awesome suggestions! Sometimes it’s less hunger and more just something to do while working…is that weird??

  2. Poon, we’ve discussed this – it is NOT WEIRD AT ALL to want to snack on things while working. That’s why most of my snacks are random fruits and veggies that I don’t feel bad about eating 🙂

    • I know we’ve discussed things, but….it’s like CONSTANT.

      Pretty much I need to get my life back on track. Going to start with healthy snacking 🙂

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