healthy workplace snacks for the break room

Wellness @ work

Nicole Jimenez

They say “Find a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Unfortunately, few people have the privilege of being able to say they work a job that they genuinely enjoy these days. The stress that comes with spending hours some place you may not want to be, in addition to the constant stress of everyday life, wear on your body, mind and spirit. You may be working hard to complete a project, earn the next promotion or prove yourself. You may be working multiple jobs to make ends meet each month. You may be working a job you despise, while pursuing your education and hoping for something better for your life. Whatever the reason you work, you cannot let it consume your life to the detriment of your health. 

We are beginning a new series of articles to help boost your Wellness at Work. We will be sharing information, resources, anecdotes and recommendations to help boost your physical, mental and overall health. Our hope is that you will also give us your feedback. Share the coping skills that you regularly employ; what works and what doesn’t. Also, share your questions. We all live very diverse lives, come from different backgrounds and aspire for different futures. Help us appeal to your unique experiences and serve you in the best ways possible.

Coach Sabrina is an 80/20 Endurance Certified Coach, mother, partner and business woman. Before transitioning to working from home after the birth of her last daughter in 2023, Sabrina worked in office settings for over 20 years. She brings a variety of knowledge to the platform from her time with her family, she enjoys hiking, running, researching, listening to podcasts and coaching diverse clients. She prides herself on staying a student and continually aspires to learn more and serve her community.

Ways to Decrease Stress At Work

What are the everyday things that you should be doing to decrease the stress you feel at work? Below are a few of our tried and true measures. These are simple strategies that have been shown to go a long way to helping the workday pass easier and make sure you are putting your best foot forward.

  1. Take your breaks - Your body needs to move and your mind needs a break (more on this in a later post)
  2. Stay hydrated
    1. Keeping a bottle of water within your line of sight often helps remind you to drink if you’re not someone who drinks water regularly
    2. Refill your bottle as soon as it’s empty so that you have no excuse not to drink
    3. Added bonus, you get extra steps for bathroom breaks
    4. Many smart watches and apps help you track your water intake and some reward you for reaching your goals
  3. Eat lunch - hunger and starvation can have a negative effect on your mental and physical well being
    1. If you have a longer lunch break, consider fitting in more movement and some Vitamin D
  4. Eat healthy snacks 
  5. Make sure your stations are ergonomically correct
  6. Leave work at work

At the end of the day, remember that the vast majority of us are working a job for other people. If something happens to you today, your employer can hire someone to replace you. There is no replacement for you in your family. It is important that you remember to take care of yourself before, during and after work, so that you continue to be the healthy, thriving person that you deserve to be.

Importance of Taking Breaks

The mandatory rest break rules in California are designed to give you a physical rest from the ‘labor’ that we do each day. Many people who work office jobs do not think they need their breaks because they’re already sitting. This is far from the truth. It doesn’t matter what the profession, if you have a job that requires you to sit or stand in one place for a long period of time, it’s putting physical stress on your body in addition to the emotional stress. The human body is not designed to be sitting for long periods of time. Motion is lotion. Your joints and bones need movement. Your cardiovascular system needs movement to keep the oxygen flowing throughout your system.

There are differing views over how often you should force yourself to stand up and move. Over the years I’ve seen apps that range from every 30 minutes to every hour. The one thing they agree on is that you MUST MOVE! It’s also important to give your eyes a break from the screens, give your arms a break from the keyboard and give your body a physical break from being in one position for too long. You will often find that your mood and mental clarity shift as well when you give yourself the space to think of something different. Some people benefit from yoga stretches or mindful breathing exercises. If you only have 10 minutes, many people enjoy a simple walk around the parking lot while munching on carrot sticks or an apple.

I was blessed at a young age to be introduced to walking on a work break. I had co-workers in my very first office job who enjoyed taking walks together and it is a practice that stuck with me for 20 + years. I have mapped out a safe route to walk either on break or at lunch, at every office that I have worked at.  Because I believe in paying it forward, I’ve also encouraged other people to join me on many walks. If you are uncomfortable walking in the neighborhood where you work, ask a few co-workers to join you. You may have to start small. If someone in your group is not used to walking, start with 5 minutes and work your way up. As you get more comfortable, you may find yourself wanting to walk for half of your lunch break or hosting walking groups before or after work.

Lastly, your breaks need to include holidays and scheduled PTO or vacations. Sometimes you really need a mental health break in addition to the time you already have scheduled off. Those who enjoy a more balanced life between family, social relationships, adventure and work tend to report more overall happiness in their lives. At the end of the day, we really want you to take care of YOU! Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup. If you’re always focused on others and not taking care of yourself, you will find yourself warn out sooner rather than later.

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