When you think of ways to promote a healthy lifestyle, you might consider improving your nutrition, sleep, and exercise habits. However, most people spend at least 40 hours per week working. For many Americans, this means that you will spend about 30% of your life working. This means that which job you choose, and how you do your job, can help to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some tips for ways your job can promote a healthy lifestyle:
Choose a Job Where You Can Be Active
Inactivity is one of the greatest risk factors for your health. Lack of exercise can lead to obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Choosing a job like fence contractors can provide you with exercise during the day. This guarantees that you get at least some exercise during the day even if you do not have time to exercise before or after work.
However, many people have jobs that do not require physical activity. For people with office jobs, like dermatology care technician, most of the day might be spent working with clients and sitting behind a desk. A sedentary job like this can promote a sedentary lifestyle rather than promote a healthy lifestyle.
Adjusting how you do your office job can help you remain active during the day. For example, taking the stairs rather than the elevator can burn calories, increase your heart rate, and build your leg muscles. Similarly, switching to a standing desk rather than a sitting desk can allow you to exercise even when you are doing paperwork. Walking to lunch rather than driving or ordering in can provide both exercise and a much-needed mid-day break.
Choose a Job with Manageable Stress
Different people have different tolerances for stress. The owner of a new home construction business might experience high levels of stress, but might have a high tolerance for stress. The goal is to match your tolerance for stress with your ability to manage it to promote a healthy lifestyle.
If you choose a job that stresses you out and you lack the coping skills to manage that stress, you are more prone to stress-related problems including:
- Substance abuse: People with unmanageable stress levels might resort to drugs or alcohol to deal with the stress.
- High blood pressure: The brain’s fight or flight response causes blood pressure to increase in times of stress.
- Sleep issues: Hormones released in response to stress can make a person edgy. This can lead to chronic sleep disorders like insomnia.
- Depression: Unmanaged stress can create feelings of despair leading to depression.
This is not to say that everyone needs a low-stress job. Some people are highly capable of managing the high stress that come from high-stress jobs. However, it is to say that if your job causes you such high levels of stress that you cannot manage them, it may be time to look for a lower stress job.
Choose a Job Where You Get Enough Sleep
Working odd hours or long shifts is sometimes necessary. However, sleep is also necessary and you should be sure that your job provides you enough time for sleep. For example, some work, like emergency residential plumbing repairs, might require you to be on call 24-hours per day. This can lead to sleep disruptions and, over time, sleep disorders if you do not have enough time to sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, weight gain, and memory problems.
If you work nights, be sure to maintain a consistent sleep schedule so you do not miss out on sleep. Research shows that sleeping in on weekends or your days off probably does not erase a sleep deficit. Instead, it merely indicates how sleep-deprived your body feels.
Some tips for improving your sleep to promote a healthy lifestyle include:
- Establish a routine: Sleeping nights on weekends and days during the week can lead to sleep disorders as your body is unable to establish a set routine. Instead, try to sleep during the same hours and for the same amount of time on your workdays and your days off.
- Get enough sleep: Although it might seem difficult for those with a busy schedule, make sure you get enough sleep. Signs of sleep deprivation include drowsiness, inattention, and irritability.
- Make sleep a priority: Some people go until they drop, whether they are working, cleaning the house, or watching TV. Instead of staying awake until the point of exhaustion, plan your sleep and stick to your plan. If you still feel tired when you awake, plan to take a nap after work. This ensures that you avoid the effects of sleep deprivation.
Plan Your Meals to Match Up With Your Job
A job that has a regular work schedule can help you ensure a regular eating schedule. A regular eating schedule promotes a healthy lifestyle by minimizing the risk of eating disorders and weight gain.
For example, working for an exterior house painting service on a regular eight-hour shift will allow you to eat breakfast before you leave for work, take a lunch break, and eat dinner when you return home. This job will also keep you busy enough that snacking during the day will be confined to small snacks during work breaks.
Conversely, a job that requires you to work long hours, skip breaks, and stay late can create a cycle of binge eating when you have time to eat broken up by long periods of fasting while you are busy. You may also be more prone to eating junk food because your body will try to acquire calorie-rich foods when you eat so it can survive the fasting periods while you work. Consequently, poor eating habits can lead to weight gain, metabolic disruptions, blood sugar irregularities, and hormone imbalances.
Some tips for eating better to promote a healthy lifestyle include:
- Minimize processed foods with high fat, salt, and sugar content. These foods may give you a burst of energy, but are usually low in nutrients and can lead to weight gain if you do not burn off the calories.
- Drink water. Water helps you feel full and hydrates your body so it can function efficiently.
- Eat a variety of foods. Eat balanced meals and vary your snacks so you do not go overboard with any particular food group.
- Include fruits and vegetables in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are usually dense with nutrients and provide a source of water and sugars. They also provide fiber, which can keep your digestion regular.
- Pack a lunch instead of eating fast food. Fast food is often high in fat and salt. As a result, homemade meals are almost always healthier, plus you can practice portion control to make sure you do not overeat. In fact, over 30% of people who renovate their kitchens say that using their new kitchen helped them promote a healthy lifestyle.
Take Breaks at Work
Breaks at work are promote a healthy lifestyle because a brief break is good for both your mind and body. Breaks help you to maintain your concentration and rest your body. Both can be critical for working at your most efficient. Jobs that require focus, such as countertop contractors, can be performed more accurately and productively if you take periodic breaks.
Breaks also allow you to drink some water and eat a healthy snack. Snacking is not necessarily bad, as long as the snack is healthy. It can keep you from feeling hunger pains, which will help you maintain your concentration. It will also keep your energy up. Both of these are essential for avoiding mistakes and accidents at work.
Breaks can also make you more creative. When your brain is deep into a task, it can be difficult to step back and see the big picture. By taking a break and mulling over the tasks at hand, you can often find solutions that eluded you while you were engaged in work.
Finally, breaks can reduce stress and burnout. Work-related stress can often be relieved by taking a brief walk, eating a snack, or chatting with a co-worker for a few minutes. After you return to your tasks, you will feel relaxed and capable of working again.
Find a Job Where You Can Get Along with Co-Workers
Although your co-workers do not need to be your friends, you do need to be able to get along with them. If you clash with your co-workers, your job performance and health will suffer.
You and your co-workers must work cooperatively to accomplish your tasks. If each of you are unable to work together, the entire business will be less productive. Tasks will be duplicated and quality will suffer as each worker does their own thing.
On the other hand, a good working relationship with your co-workers can have many benefits including:
- Your work environment will be safer. For example, if you work as an installer for HVAC companies, having a close teammate will reduce the risk of a workplace accident. When everyone works together, you are more likely to watch out for each other and less likely to get caught in situations where you could be prone to an accident or, worse yet, workplace violence.
- Quality will improve. As workers watch out for each other, they will catch small mistakes and correct them before they affect customers or clients. This will improve both quality and customer satisfaction.
- You will be happier. Socialization will promote a healthier lifestyle. People who have friends and social acquaintances are less prone to emotional and mental problems. Having friends can even reduce the risk of dementia.
- Your stress levels will be lower. Socialization releases hormones that counteract the stress hormone called cortisol. As a result, you will be better able to cope with difficulties in the workplace without feeling the negative effects of stress.
Work in a Comfortable Environment for You
Everyone has different preferences for where they want to work. Some like high-end offices while others prefer to work outdoors. Once you understand what you prefer, you can find a setting that fits your preferences. This will promote a healthy lifestyle by improving your sense of well-being and happiness.
The value of the working environment is often underestimated. Many workers believe that since they only spend eight hours per day at work, the working environment has little impact on their lives.
However, a working environment that is incompatible with the worker’s needs can have many negative effects including:
- Increased stress: Uncomfortable environments, particularly ones that prove feelings of fear and danger, can create stress. For example, for many people, working at elevated heights for a tree pruning business would be a good opportunity for fresh air and isolation. For others, it could provoke phobias of falling.
- Magnifying health problems: If a working environment exacerbates health problems, you will be less productive and less healthy. Thus, someone with arthritis might be unable to work in a refrigerated warehouse without experiencing joint pain. For other people, working in a refrigerated warehouse might be preferable to working outside in the heat.
- Elevated risk. If you are unhappy in your environment, you might become careless. For many jobs, carelessness can lead directly to on-the-job accidents.
Work for Companies that Promote Safety
Worker safety should be the top priority of every business. However, many fail to promote a healthy lifestyle and, in fact, place their workers at risk of accidents or work-related injuries.
Even though they sometimes feel oppressive, businesses that take safety seriously can help workers avoid lifelong disabilities or chronic illnesses. Some policies to look for in a safe workplace include:
- Are workers encouraged to report safety hazards?
- Are workers provided safety equipment?
- Does the employer follow industry best practices and safety laws?
- Is someone in management responsible for safety policies?
- Do co-workers take workplace safety seriously?
- Do vendors and suppliers, like heavy equipment rentals, provide safe products to the business?
While this might seem like a minor point to promote a healthier lifestyle, keep in mind that about 2.8 million Americans are injured, and over 5,000 Americans are killed, in work accidents every year. By practicing safety at work, your chances of avoiding a serious injury or even death can be vastly improved.
Choose a Job with Health Benefits
Unfortunately, not all businesses provide health benefits to workers. However, one of the most important ways to promote a healthy lifestyle is to get a solid health insurance policy.
Health insurance companies may be difficult to work with on occasion, but they produce positive health benefits for customers in many ways, including:
- Paying for preventative care, from checkups and immunizations to nutritionists and health and wellness centers.
- Providing emergency care and quick care services when immediate medical attention is required.
- Paying benefits for substance abuse treatment, thereby helping addicts improve their health and well-being.
- Covering prescription medication for people with treatable illnesses and conditions.
Finding an employer that provides health insurance may not be easy, but it may be worth the search. Without health insurance, you might delay seeking medical treatment. This delay could turn an easily treatable illness into a highly risky or even deadly problem.
You have control over whether your job helps to promote a healthy lifestyle. Looking for jobs that provide health insurance, take safety seriously, and provide an active and social environment can help you live a longer and more productive life. Moreover, healthier employees help a business to become more efficient, ensuring that everyone benefits..