Yey! New life! Welcome to the Corporate World. Lots of things to be happy about and lots of adjustments on your part. One such adjustment would be around lifestyle change. If you are used to the constant walking and moving about in college; well, get set for that might change. It’s a cutthroat world, you know, so many people neglect matters on health just to keep up with the speed, phase and demands of their new environment. However, there are things you can do NOW to save yourself from future health problems.
Check-in with your Clinic Doctor/Nurse on the result of your Pre-Employment Medical Exam
Everyone goes through pre-employment medical exam. Have you ever asked yourselves what happened to the results?
Very rare does an employee proactively reach out to ask about their pre-employment check-up result. The other surprising thing is, no matter the age of the employee, the results rarely show the pink of health. About 90% do have findings. Often minor, but things that if you don’t address now can escalate into something serious – hypertension, high blood sugar level, high cholesterol, hyper acidity, and the like.
Companies have (ideally) wellness programs that help address these matters. But this is not true in all organizations for one reason or another. If you happen to be in the latter, then do not hesitate to reach out.
Of course seeing the result is one thing, doing something about it is another… Make sure to act on your results. Fast! This is key.
Live an Active Lifestyle
Just because you have a new environment and a new set of friends would mean you also need to modify your lifestyle. If this is going from less to more active, well and good. Often, however the change goes from bad to worse. Seriously.
Question: Is it still possible to live an active lifestyle when you are in front of your computer 99.9% of the time? Answer: Yes!
Take for example, Jhon Bueron, a Triathlete, an Ultra-Marathoner, and is a CPA, hence, with a day job in Finance and Accounting. He works Mondays thru Fridays, during the day, trains for his competitions after work and weekends. It’s a choice. Rather than sleeping the weekends away, Jhon opts to spend it actively!
Oh, and yes, to top it all off, he wins the competitions. Want to get to know Jhon more? Stay tuned! 🙂
Avoid Mindless Munching… Especially On Your Desk
Snacking WAY TOO MUCH
This is something I was guilty of for such a loooooong time! And here, I meant snacking all day long, munching on unhealthy junk chips. You may fall into this trap as well. When you have tons to do, when you get stressed, you may turn to eating to cope with stress…or hunger. Instead of eating full, healthy meals, you might snack on chips. Well, 1. it may attract roaches and rodents (yes, even if you are in a new and sparkly office space, if you leave food all around, they will come around), 2. it will make your laptop keyboards a good breeding ground for bacteria (eewwww!) and 3. you only pile on calorie after calorie after calorie. Occasional is fine. Too much is something else. Are you falling into this trap???
Eating Lunch While Working
This is not a healthy habit and no one will praise you for it. At least not any of those who are concerned about you as a person! When you work while you eat, your brain is confused which task to focus on. Normally, you focus on work, thus eating becomes a mindless chore and you don’t really ever feel full. This makes you eat more than what your body really needs or eat way late because you did not notice the time pass. This practice does not allow your body to have a normal rhythm. I know, I was guilty of this as well. This will give you either or both of the following – heartburn (brought about by stomach acid) and/or obesity. At some point, I suffered with the former and if I did not stop, I was well on my way to the latter. I’m still a work in progress but I am happy with the changes I’ve made.
Monitor Your Water Intake
Majority of the health concerns in the workplace today, especially in the call center, bpo and shared services segment is UTI.
Why? Because they (we?!) rarely stand and walk even just to get water nor for a quick bio break. Yes, when you are engrossed at work, it may seems that nothing is more important than the task at hand. But, please listen to those who have come before you when they say, “prioritize your health” for the old adage, “Health is Wealth” is true, and often by the time you realized this, it may already be too late.
Quick and visible indicators that you are dehydrated – dry skin, chapped lips, yellow pee. These three alone means you should drink more.
I have seen people end up in the ER due to a very serious case of UTI or, worse, dehydration. Could have easily been resolved or proactively avoided by drinking adequate amount of water. Download a hydration tracker if you must, but do not drink less than what your body needs.
What we do is to get 2Ls (3Ls when I was pregnant) in the morning before we start working. There were (still are) large bottles on my work station. If I finished them, I reached my daily goal. Yey! 🙂
Monitor Your Steps
Apart from water intake, your physical activity becomes limited as well. It’s like there’s an invisible chain that binds you to your work stations and the more tenured you become, the more you feel its weight.
This is so important that there are now gadgets and apps with the primary purpose of counting your steps – Fitbit, Garmin, Pacer, you name it. They are all out there waiting for you to use it productively for your health.
Try to get more steps in your life…
Some Walking Tips
- take the longest route to wherever your destination is (pantry, restroom, cafeteria, mall, terminal, parking lot, etc.), as long as you have enough time (and right shoes)
- take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator if you are only going only a few floors up or down
- walk instead of ride if it’s a manageable distance
- pace about in your room
- stand and pace about during calls when the other person cannot see you (try not to catch your breath and still focus on the call)
Monitor Your Sleep Hours
This is perhaps the most challenging given the amount of work needed to be done + night life + bonding time + hobbies + TV + Netflix/iFlix + YouTube + Korean Pop Drama + true to life drama + anime + errands + hobbies, and the list goes on.
But is it worth it???
Think about your brain functions, your skin, your smooth and soft complexion, your metabolism. All these are negatively impacted by the lack of sleep. Would you sacrifice these in exchange of staying up late???
Preserve your youth, get enough sleep!
Be Mindful of Office Ergonomics
I had thoracic lumbar pain syndrome. There was no warning whatsoever. All of a sudden, my back hurt. It hurt so bad, I cried. I could not bend at my waist. My movement was very, very limited and painful.
Basically, the doctor and physical therapists said, it was because of improper sitting, which was my posture for the most part of the day.
A painful experience that would have been avoided just by proper posture – sitting or standing.
See this article for the ergonomic recommendations from the US Occupational Health and Safety – Computer Workstation Ergonomics.
Instead of Working Long Hours…
I wish I could say, stop working after 8-hours. It is not easy as that. For someone who worked 16 hours on average in my earlier working years, I know working for only 8 hours every day isn’t always possible.
Remember that working very long hours negatively impacts our stress levels, our time with our family and friends and our sleep hours.
However, the older I get, the more I realized there’s so much more a newbie can do than just accept this fact. For example, we can…
Look for Efficiency Areas
In excel for example, if you use excel a lot, do research on common formula, validation, creating pivot tables and so much more. Are you familiar with the simple macro? This significantly cuts down work hours from several hours to a few minutes! Isn’t that amazing?! You just need to invest on time in doing research and asking around. The sooner you learn these, the faster you propel yourself for professional growth, the more you open your self to various opportunities.
Ask for Help
Many people have a problem asking for help. They see this as a weakness of a blow to their ego. As for me, I thought that asking for help may be seen negatively by others as it takes time away from their own tasks. However, the reserve is true. The more you ask for help, the more people view you positively because this makes them feel needed, which is human nature. How would you feel if someone comes to you for help?
Just don’t overdo it, do not over rely on others as this hinders your own learning and development.
Ask for Guidance in Prioritizing
Sometimes there’s a number of tasks and you only have very little time. In such as case, ask for which ones are the priorities. If all are, ask for the ranking, so you know which to do first and which ones you can park for tomorrow.
Your Mental Health Matters
While there’s a lot of focus on physical health, mental health matters, too. Remember to pause every now and then to center yourself and rest. It may mean pausing (and not thinking about anything) after every task for about two minutes, you reset your brain this way; or going on a vacation leave. This does wonders, you return to work refreshed and more energized.
Sometimes it gets too much – too much anxiety, too much stress, too much depression – know that there are people who can help. You can reach out to your HR Partners or you can contact PowerVision EAP with link here – https://powervisioneap.wordpress.com/
Disclaimer: This is NOT a PowerVision EAP paid post. I have attended some sessions and workshops with them in the past.
What Happens in the Office Stays in the Office
There will be good and bad days. For the good days, of course, bring it with you anywhere and for as long as you want. However, for the bad days, leave all the sadness, emotionality and all else that’s associated with it in the office. When go to home, remember that your family deserves the best of you! Leave the crankiness at work. 😉
Now, off you go to get more steps in. 🙂 Til’ our next article.
Also read: 10 Tips for the Corporate Newbies
If you have an experience to share or other topic suggestions, please feel free to write to me – firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to hear from you.