We spend so much time planning (and occasionally, actually doing) workouts before and after office hours, researching superfood-rich dinner ideas, planning healthy weekend activities, and buying cute fitness clothes. But—considering so many of us spend the bulk of our days sitting at a desk—it’s key to introduce some healthier habits at the office, too.
Chances are you had a health or fitness goal on your list of New Year’s resolutions, so make a start by implementing small changes at work–we’ve rounded up 13 of the best for you here. Because when you think about it, you probably spend more time at your computer than you do sleeping (yikes!), so it’s worth focusing on your office space.
1. Sit on an exercise ball.
Switching between your chair and an exercise ball is a smart way to improve your posture and work on your core strength (hello, Victoria’s Secret model abs.) First-timers might find it tough to use the ball all day, so try it out for short intervals.
If you’ve never been to Pilates, we recommend heading along to a class and chatting with an instructor to make sure you’re sitting on the ball correctly, and not doing any damage.
2. Practice micro-meditation.
Unfortunately, stress and the office go hand-in-hand like Kim and Kanye. Whether it’s caused by deadlines, boredom, conflicts with colleagues, or just being downright overworked, stress is seriously bad news for your health.
You can shake off those tightening shoulders and knots in your stomach in less than three minutes (without leaving your desk) through micro-meditation. It’s basically small bursts of meditation that will help you tackle a bad situation with a clearer head.
We’ve already outlined three great ways to micro-meditate from your desk, so bookmark this guide and get your zen on.
3. Buy a water bottle.
Staying hydrated is key to clear skin and staying at a healthy weight, so why aren’t you drinking up?
“Water is a great accessory for weight loss,” Brooke Alpert, R.D., founder of B Nutritious told Women’s Health. “Drinking enough water and staying properly hydrated is part of a healthy weight-loss system and healthy weight in general.”
Keeping a large water bottle filled on your desk will encourage you to sip, sip, sip your way to hydration. Still not getting enough? Check out these 13 sneaky ways to drink more h20 right now.
4. Fill your drawer with healthy, high protein snacks.
This sounds like such an obvious one, but so many of us get sucked into snacking on chips, crackers, and highly processed foods when those dreaded 3 p.m. cravings roll around.
Avoid temptation by keeping high protein snacks in your desk drawer, like raw nuts and seeds, to feel fuller longer.
5. Get a colleague onto a health kick too.
It will be much easier to say no to that office birthday cake if you’ve got some else declining it, too.
6. Use a teapot and stock up on tasty herbal teas.
Find yourself guzzling sugary, processed soda drinks or throwing back multiple cups of coffee mindlessly at your desk? Fill a teapot in the morning and the afternoon with a delicious herbal tea (peppermint is usually a crowd-pleaser) to distract yourself from the desire to drink anything caffeinated or carbonated.
Bonus: A teapot and teacup will look super cute on your desk. We’ll raise a cup of tea to that.
7. Put healthy things in your work fridge.
Nothing spells diet disaster like deadlines. Being trapped at your desk and unable to pickup your usual healthy lunch usually means delivery–and ending up with a burger and fries instead of the kale salad.
If you don’t have time to pack your lunch daily, keep fresh vegetables, hummus, cold meats like turkey or ham, Green yogurt, or frozen soups in your office fridge or freezer so that you’re never caught out.
8. Buy a plant.
Fact: A greener office is a happier office.
A 2009 study showed that employees in offices sans plants rated their job satisfaction lower than those with a bit of greenery in their workplace. When questioned about their overall quality of life, workers with plants considered themselves happier or more content than those without.
If you’re more likely to be seen wearing garden floral prints than spotted in an actual garden, consider keeping a terrarium of succulents on your desk. They’re trending hard, look super cute, and are basically impossible to kill.
9. Keep a face mist on your desk.
Not only does a face mist take your skin from tired and dry to dewy and fresh in less than five seconds, it’s pleasantly refreshing. A couple of spritzes is enough to reignite your motivation when the 3 p.m. slump inevitably hits. If you’re afflicted with slumps at 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 4 p.m., it’ll cure those too. Try: Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray Thirsty Skin Relief ($22.)
10. Do your pelvic floor exercises.
Winner of the award for awesome-exercises-no-one-even-knows-you’re-doing are Kegel exercises. Set a time every day, like in your morning meeting, or while doing your final inbox scan before heading home, and multitask by also completing your pelvic floor exercises.
Regular Kegel exercises will strengthen the pelvic floor muscles–that’s the part of your body supporting your uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. So it’s important, particularly for women. You can check out a how-to guide and aim to tick off three sets of 10 repetitions each day.
11. Supercharge your water.
For some of us, trying to choose plain water over fizzy Diet Coke, or a Venti Caramel Latte is like expecting a woman to pick Leonardo DiCaprio with a beard over Leo circa in his “Titanic” era. Basically, the plain water doesn’t stand a chance.
Extras like fresh mint leaves, lemon, ginger, berries, and cucumber will turn your H20 into a healthy, grown-up kind of cordial and add plenty of flavor, so it’s more of a level playing field against sweeter temptations.
12. BYO motivation.
There’s nothing like a cute quote on your wall, or framed on your desk, to remind you there’s more to life than having an organized inbox.
13. Bring a pillow.
No, not for snoozing, but for your lower back. If you find your lower back starts aching at work, and a new chair isn’t an option, buy a small cushion to use as lower back support.