We’ve all been through the phase where juggling between work and life can be all too overwhelming. This especially holds true ever since we entered the pandemic nearly two years ago, where the lines between both, work and personal life were easily blurred. It’s easy to forget about ourselves in the middle of all the chaos and in the process, we most often neglect our health.
No matter how hectic things get, it is of utmost importance that we prioritise our well-being. If we continue to put fitness on the back burner, it can cause serious problems in the long run. Several factors contributed by work from home such as prolonged working hours, lack of/reduced exercise, stress, and unhealthy eating habits and can eventually lead to cardiovascular diseases.
Here are a few health and well-being tips at work that you can follow — be it work from home or for when you resume office.
Maintaining a Heart-Healthy Diet
There is no question about the merits of a heart-healthy diet and the wonders it can do for your health. Healthy eating habits for office workers are essential for making sure your body gets the nutrients it needs for nourishment and maintaining a healthy weight. Try to choose foods that are rich in antioxidants (fruits such as apples, oranges, and mango; vegetables such as spinach, lentils, tofu, and soybean; nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, flax, and chia). Also, eat more whole foods over processed foods to reap the benefits of all their nutritional value, and limit salt and sugar intake. All these changes will help ensure you’re stepping closer to a healthier heart.
Looking to start your journey but not sure how? Read The Beginner’s Guide to a Heart-Healthy Diet.
A seemingly obvious but easily forgotten biological need is regular hydration for our body. When you get caught up in emails, calls, and other work, you forget that you still need to hydrate yourself with sufficient water for optimal functioning. Studies also show that hydrating well can prevent or reduce the risks of heart failure. This happens in two ways:
- Serum sodium exceeding 142mmol/l increases the risk of adverse effects on the heart and hydration levels should be evaluated regularly along with sodium intake.
- There is also a connection between hydration and thickening of the walls of the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle) – called left ventricular hypertrophy – which is a precursor to heart failure diagnosis and physical examinations should be done periodically.
Very often, long working hours also mean a decline in physical activity. Working from home typically requires you to be confined to certain spaces or your desk, while also being glued to the screen. However, getting enough movement and exercise is critical to heart health. It keeps weight in check, regulates blood pressure, and lowers bad cholesterol. Exercises to stay fit when working from home can vary between something more intense such as a complete workout circuit or even 30 minutes of brisk walking, 5 days a week might be good for the heart.
If you’re looking for something less strenuous and beneficial for heart health, you can also consider yoga. Since it is a highly effective relaxing and mindful technique, it decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases by keeping in check your body weight, blood pressure, and physical and psychosocial stressors while detoxifying the body.
Look After Your Mental Health
Giving work all your time over your health — both physical and mental can be detrimental. Work is a necessary part of life, but it should never be at the cost of your health and well-being. If you have a clear separation between work and personal life and make time to do things purely to bring you joy and enough rest, you will be more content, and happy, and feel less resentment towards your job. In today’s scenario, the burnout rate is much quicker and can very well lead to cardiovascular problems.
Working in isolation can also impact health. Try to avoid working in isolation and interact with people whenever possible. Interact more with your colleagues or the people around you at home to feel more connected and comforted, because a sense of being could potentially impact heart health too.
It’s important to take into consideration all of the steps mentioned above and follow these health tips at work to put your mental and physical health at the very front and centre, given that it has a direct relationship with your heart health too.
Setting a work-from-home daily routine can help you feel more in control of your life and ensure that you are following through with all the little steps along the way towards a healthier heart.