How to Stay Healthy at Work

By: Lauren Mineau

Winter at work, for many of us, means dry air, sick coworkers and temperatures too chilly to spend time outside. When it seems like everyone around you is coughing and sneezing, there are many things you can do proactively to stay healthy.

Wash Your Hands

It may not seem like it’s doing much, but handwashing can cut down on the spread and transfer of many germs. According to the Mayo Clinic, handwashing can cut down on the transfer of many viruses and microbes. It should be done before and after preparing food and eating, using the bathroom, blowing your nose, or shaking hands with someone. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be used, as it’s often not practical to run to the bathroom every time you sneeze.

Medical professionals recommend singing “Happy Birthday” through two times while washing your hands vigorously with soap and water.

Stay Home if You’re Sick

Most of us have sick time available, and it’s meant to be used to prevent your illness from spreading to others. If you can avoid the workplace when you’re feeling less than well, do it. Your colleagues will thank you.

Wipe Down Your Surfaces

Door handles, computer mice, keyboards, and your desk phone can be a breeding ground for germs. Wiping down your surfaces at work with a disinfecting wipe can help keep germs from spreading as well. The kitchen or break room likely gets cleaned at your job, but your personal space won’t be – unless you do it. According to a study by Market Wire, your desk may contain hundreds of bacteria – sometimes more than the public restroom.

Manage Your Stress

Stress is not good for anyone’s health, but what comes along with it could make you more susceptible to illness. Not enough sleep, eating poorly, and long hours working away at your desk without movement can wreak havoc on your immune system. Keep calm and practice good stress management.

Keep Moving

Exercise has numerous health benefits, including staying healthy and away from illness. A brisk walk at lunch can be enough, but don’t overdo it. Keep your body in motion and work up a sweat when you can. But be cautious at the gym, germs lurk there too! Wipe down your equipment before and after use.

Take a Vitamin Supplement

A multivitamin can help keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Try and remember to take one each day to get all the nutrients you may miss in your diet. 

Don’t Share Anything

Be cautious about community potlucks, office treats and snacks left in the break room. The more hands that touch something, the more chances for germs to spread. Use caution when sharing drinks and food with others during flu season.

Limit Happy Hours

Around the holidays, parties and meeting for drinks is commonplace. Having fun is important, of course, but overindulging can affect your sleep, productivity, and health. Enjoy a few cocktails, but limit it to a couple times a week and stay hydrated alongside the booze.

Get Enough Sleep

Staying well rested makes everything better. Rest is just as important for your body as being active and proper nutrition. Make sure you are getting quality sleep by limiting caffeine and keeping your sleep space free from distractions.