Office Health Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Unhealthy Habits

Seven Unhealthy Habits at Work

Being healthy is not only good for the individual, it’s good for business.  Healthy people don’t miss work and are more productive when they are at work.  So, let me share seven important unhealthy habits at work based on material from my book, Healing Begins in the Kitchen.

  1. Sitting still for hours can compromise your immune system. Your body needs movement in order to stay healthy. Getting up and walking, or even using a stand-up desk, keeps your lymphatic system flowing and your oxygen levels higher, so take stretch breaks or march in place at your desk every half hour. Studies have shown that people who do this consistently retain more of what they are learning and have better recall.

 

  1. Don’t drink coffee or black tea all day long. One cup of coffee or black tea in the morning isn’t a bad thing, but you need to drink water throughout the day in order to maintain optimal health. Herbal teas are okay to have frequently, but too much coffee or black tea will raise your body’s acid level and can lead to calcium depletion of your bones as your body tries to regulate the blood pH.

 

  1. Avoid taking work home with you on a regular basis. Maybe you want to impress the boss, but you’ll be more productive at work and will avoid burnout if you take quality time off every day. The concept of “be here now” is so important to your health. Taking work home with you robs you of your personal time and adds to your immune-suppressing burden of stress.

 

  1. Skipping lunch can be hazardous to your health. Sometimes it is tempting to press into a project and miss out on lunch, but you need to fuel your body and brain with nutritious food to be your best at work. Running on empty leads to low blood sugar which can restrict your ability to think quickly and clearly, and also slows you down. If you don’t have time for a lunch break, at least have some almonds or a healthy meal-replacement bar handy so you can refuel.

 

  1. Watch your bad attitude. It’s common to hear employees bellyaching and complaining about various things, but keep your attitude positive and have a solutions focus. You’ll find you have a stronger immune system. Positive attitudes lead to healing hormones like serotonin and oxytocin being released which support healthy immune function. Negative attitudes lead to damaging hormones being released (such as adrenaline and cortisol) which suppress healthy immune function. Attitudes are contagious, so surround yourself at work with happy, positive coworkers. Besides, it doesn’t do any good to complain to others. Half the people you tell don’t care, and the other half are glad you’re worse off than they are!

 

  1. Stop letting deadlines stress you out. OK, this one’s a little woo-woo. Stick with me though. Change your approach to those deadlines by scheduling frequent micro-breaks for focused breathing. Take five deep breaths every 30 minutes to an hour to help keep your immune system strong in order to protect your health. Studies have shown that when your brain is oxygenated, you perform better as well.  I know, it sounds crazy – but it’s the truth.

 

  1. Resist starting your day with donuts. Give your body something better than a high-carb, sugary breakfast to start your day strong. Try having a quick skillet scramble with pastured eggs cooked with high-antioxidant vegetables. Then you will be happily and healthily full and able to say no to those sugary treats at the office. If you’re not able to cook a hot breakfast, blend up a vegan protein drink.

Here’s a quote you might find interesting: Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.

These are not words of some twenty-first-century alternative health-care guru, no.  They are the words of Hippocrates, the father of Western Medicine (b. circa 460 BC).

We should take that to heart.  Literally.  Being healthy is smart for you and smart for business.  I know.  I learned this the hard way.  If you’d like more information on how I learned this, check out my book, Healing Begins in the Kitchen.

3 Signs Your Office Needs a Health Make Over

Last month I posted a blog about changes companies can make to boost employee health & productivity and I got an e-mail message in response to it asking if I had any thoughts on how to tell whether or not an office maintained a mostly healthy environment or a mostly non-healthy environment.

There are always going to be some people in an office who are motivated to be healthy and others who are tied to an unhealthy lifestyle, but there are certainly ways to tell when your office could benefit from positive changes.

 

Here are three signs you office is in need of a Health Make Over:

  1. Negativity in the workplace. People who do not feel well overall tend to have a more negative outlook on life . . . both personally and professionally. When suffering all day with a headache or fatiue, it is hard to feel or act positive and cheerful. If you notice that the overall energy level of your office is low or negative, then perhaps it is time to brighten things up by focusing on recapturing high levels of health in your office.
  2. If one person gets a cold or flu, many others get it. When everyone’s immune system is strong, colds and flus do not get passed around quite so easily. Some offices bring in a healthcare worker to administer flu shots each year, although the efficacy of these shots has not been proven by medical studies. In my own office, the focus on building health takes an approach of building up the staff’s own immune systems to prevent the spread of colds and flus. If you find that your office goes through times where quite a few employees are out sick at the same time, you may want to evaluate whether a health make over is needed.
  3. Many of your staff members are overweight. When the metabolism slows down and people gain a significant amount of weight, other systems in the body are also compromised. The immune system and the liver (which plays a large role in the strength of the immune system) usually do not function as well in people with slower metabolisms. When I focused on boosting my immune system and engaging my liver in the healing process, I easily lost nearly 40 pounds, all while eating four to five times per day. The difference eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and antibiotic-free and hormone-free chicken and seafood was simply amazing. While my immune system became stronger, I naturally and easily dropped the extra weight I’d been carrying for years. Take an objective look at your staff. If you realize that more than 10% of your employees are overweight or obese (with a Body Mass Indicator ((BMI)) of 30-39.9), then your office may benefit greatly from a health make over.

Remember though, you can’t change things over night.  I found that the key to encouraging some members of my office staff into adopting a healthy paradigm at work is to make incremental changes, rather than coming in all at once and making sweeping changes. Not everyone in the office will be excited about embracing a healthy lifestyle, but many will. Most people need to make changes and know it, but they may not know how to make those changes, or they may lack the motivation or willpower to do it. Having a healthy, supportive focus at work among others with whom to share this positive shift can make all the difference.

Have you made changes in your office toward maintaining a healthy environment?  If so, I’m really interested in hearing what you’ve done.  Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

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