Taking charge of your health is important to do on a daily basis, especially if you work in an office with dozens of other people. There are plenty of tips that will prevent you from getting sick, and knowing how to keep those yucky germs at bay at your job is vital to keeping your immune system strong. Even though you might be the only one touching your desk area, you're still in contact with other items in your office that can be probably contaminated with germs. But staying healthy at your job doesn't mean you need to turn into a germaphobe. It has much more to do with eating well, moving around, and peeling your eyes away from the computer screen every once in a while.
"Doing simple seated twists a few times a day wrings toxins out of the internal organs and also promotes healthy digestion," says CEO and co-founder of Mindfresh Jen Kluczkowski in an interview with Bustle over email. Essentially, you want to make sure that you're boosting your immune system as much as possible so it can fight off those nasty colds that somehow always seem to end up going around the office. Feel like your job is a breeding ground for germs? Here are 11 tips you can use to help prevent yourself from getting sick while you're at work.
1. Use Sanitizers To Disinfect At Work
According to travel expert and chief executive officer of Savvy Travelers Tina Aldatz, when you're at your desk, make sure you use disinfectant wipes to keep yourself from getting sick. While the office is a great place for germs to spread around, it's a good idea to clean your keyboard, telephone, vending machine buttons, and other areas where a lot of people come in contact with.
2. Drink Hot Water With Lemon
If you want your metabolism and immune system to get ahead start, try drinking a glass of hot water with lemon to help wake up your body. "[It] flushes out toxins and keeps the body alkaline [in check]," says Kluczkowski.
3. Do Breathing Exercises
Your work environment can become very stressful if you allow it to overwhelm you. Remember to take a break every once in a while by doing small breathing exercises away from your desk. "Inhale to the count of four and exhale to the count of five. The longer exhale helps to expel stagnant air and toxins from the lungs," says Kluczkowski.
4. Make Sure You're Getting Enough Vitamin D
According to nutritionist and founder of NAO Nutrition Nikki Ostrower, there has been a lot of research indicating that Vitamin D deficiency leads to lowered defense mechanisms against colds and flus. Make sure you step outside to get some sun exposure. But if you're unable to do that during the winter months, try to take Vitamin D pills to keep your body flu free.
5. Keep Your Digestive System Healthy
According to Ostrower, your digestive system makes up 85 percent of your immune system. That means you should try to consume high quality probiotics or fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso, and kombucha as much as possible to help keep your immune system strong.
6. Reduce Your Stress
While there might not be a cold going around in the office, you can still get sick based on how stressed you might feel. "Stress negatively impacts the immune system and can seriously make if ill if you're not careful," says founder of Moss Wellness and certified holistic nutritionist Andrea Moss in a phone interview with Bustle. "Make sure you take vacations, walk breaks throughout your day, and do multiple 5-minute breathing exercises to help reduce your stress."
7. Avoid The Vending Machine
Even though those candy bars and bag of chips look delicious, junk food is not the way to go when you're trying to stay healthy. "Refined carbohydrates can increase inflammation which is a key factor in weakening your immune system," says Moss. "Instead, bring healthy snacks, fruits, and even dark chocolate to eat at your desk."
8. Prioritize Sleep
Pulling all-nighters might be imperative to do when you have to hit a deadline, but try to properly plan out your to-do list so you won't have to disrupt your sleep cycle. "Not getting enough sleep is the leading cause of a weaker immune system," says Moss. "The amount of stress and lack of sleep can determine how fast your body recovers from getting ill."
9. Boost Your Antioxidant Intake
While that extra large caramel coffee drink sounds amazing, you may want to consider sticking with drinks and foods that are filled with antioxidants to help your immune system stay strong. "Sip on green tea. It will boost your metabolism and immune system as well as hydrate you. Dark chocolate is also good, especially if you like 75 percent or higher cocoa," says Moss.
10. Stay Hydrated
Ever feel hungry right after you eat? You might actually be thirsty because you're not staying hydrated enough. "Dehydration is common in the office when you get caught up with work. Have a water bottle next to you so you can be aware of how much you're drinking. Also, take a few moments to get away from your desk when you're refilling your water bottle. Walking around will also help reduce stress," says Moss.
11. Move Your Body Away From The Desk
"If you're sitting at your desk for four or five hours at a time, you're actually doing harm to your body," says Moss. "Exercise releases endorphins and helps reduce cancer and blood pressure. Make sure you stand up and take a 10 minute walking break. If you have the luxury to go to the gym in the middle of your day, do that too."
By simply doing a few of these tricks, hopefully you'll never have to take a sick day ever again.