Monday, November 13, 2017

Your 9-to-5 Corporate Job is Killing You. Really. Some Helpful Tips to Stay Healthy.

It was yet another epic commute into downtown Boston this morning crawling at the top speed of 20 miles per hour on the Mass Pike, when lucky.  It made me think how awful commuting is, not only for our mental health but also for the environment, for our productivity and our wallet.   So why do we still commute in the age of personal computers and VPN, I wonder?

We are in the world of the 9-to-5 and it is not going to shake soon.   We are entrenched with being stressed in the morning, sitting it traffic and then plopping ourselves into a desk chair for eight hours then getting even more stressed with the afternoon commute home hoping that you see your family before they hit the sack.  Yes, there is flex time, and working from home, however, judging by traffic patterns, they have not made a dent changing reality.

It is not that you probably hate your job and we are not bashing the 9-to-5 job.  After all, you may be doing some interesting work, making some interesting phone calls or working on that cutting edge project.

However sitting at your desk is killing you.    You have muscles for a reason.  They need to be worked to stay fresh.   But we sit, sit and sit again.   In our office, at the endless meetings and your body is stressed out from not moving.  You are in front of computer screen or a phone and your eyes start getting blurry from the glare of the screens.

Then lunchtime rolls around and what do you do?  You take the elevator to the cafeteria and order that salad with blue cheese dressing and some onion rings and proceed to go back to your desk and eat your lunch in front of your computer screen getting stressed out over the latest string of emails.   Not exactly the mission to health & wellness.

By the end of the afternoon, you would have to be pried from your chair so you can get into your car and take on that afternoon rush hour at the breakneck speed of 15 miles per hour out of the city.

Between the stress of our commute, the lack of movement at your desk sitting in front of a glaring computer screen, worrying about deadlines and our bad lunch diets, we are killing ourselves as if we are better off smoking a pack of cigarettes dangling from a crane high above the city below.

Again, I am not recommending quitting your corporate job.  After all the bills need to be paid.   I would however recommend planning your exit from the traditional 9-to-5, but that is a story for another blog.

So here are some suggestions to tackle the health habits of the Corporate 9-to-5 day in timely order -

-  Before you leave for work - Start off your day with Exercise -  The best time to go to the gym is in the morning, bottom line.   It sets the tone for the day, it de-stresses you and you end up feeling awesome.   If you cannot make it to the gym, do some exercises at your house.   I have a great video on what to do with a couple of dumbbells that can help.

- OK it is commute time - Don't look at the traffic report.  It stressed you out.   Instead either queue up some upbeat music or listen to an inspirational audio in your car.   It would allow the time to past by and the next thing you know, you are pulling into the office garage.   If you have a hands free phone in your car, catch up with some people that make you happy.   

- Now you are at the office and that office chair is calling your name.  If you are on calls, stand up in your office and periodically move your muscles.  Try to sit as little as possible.    Do some stretches every once in a while to keep your body alive.    Snack on something healthy like raisins or trail mix instead of a sugary snack.

- Of you are off to a meeting five floors above you.  You guessed it, I am going to suggest taking the stairs whenever possible.  Stair climbing is amazing exercise.  If you are having a 1-on-1 meeting or a small group, I suggest a walking meeting.   I like to do my 1-on-1 meetings taking a walk outside to a nearby park.  Walking and exercise in general, kicks the creative thinking in gear and you would be amazed how much you can accomplish versus if you just sat in your office.

- OK it is lunch time.   Step AWAY from your office and go out.  Get fresh air and a light lunch low on sodium and sugars and high on protein and Vitamin B & D.   Lean meat, dark vegetables and a nutritious juice is ideal.    Everyone is busy, but believe me you will get more accomplish away from your desk at lunch versus sitting there stressing over emails.

- The afternoon is nap time.  Yes, you heard me.   Take a quick five minute nap if you can and then have a healthy tea or snack and repeat your morning activities of periodically standing up when taking calls and stretching in your office to keep your body moving.    Before you know it, your work day is over and you will feel as great as you did at the beginning of the day.

- Now you are ready for that commute home and the traffic is just as bad as the morning only in all directions.   Put on that relaxing Jack Johnson song or listen to an inspiring JR Ridinger or Tony Robbins talk and take your mind on all those red lights in front of you, and before you know it,  you are home in the arms of your family.

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