From demanding project deadlines to unexpected new clients, many situations keep you working longer than the standard 8 to 5 schedule. Working long hours at the office is a great way to earn overtime as an hourly employee or to show commitment as a salary worker.
However, long office hours also bring certain drawbacks. Increased stress, less personal time and bad eating habits are all typical overtime side effects. If not kept in check, these side effects of long office hours can lead to an increased waistline and overall lowered health level. Here are five tips to stay fit while working long hours so you can enjoy the benefits of overtime without the drawbacks.
Avoid Stress Eating
Long office hours often lead to increased stress. This stress then turns many employees to junk food and mindless snacking. If you’re stressed from an extended work schedule, avoid eating more in response to that stress. Food provides comfort against the things you can’t control but it also provides additional calories with each snack you consume.
Free your workspace of all junk food and be mindful of your urges to eat. If you notice that you turn towards food as a comfort from stress, find a new habit to replace the stress eating. Whether bringing a stress ball to the office or listening to music as a distraction, these coping strategies prevent mindless eating when stress arrives.
Eating several small meals throughout each long work day keeps your mind sharp and your belly full. Small healthy meals offer the nutrition you need to focus longer and complete work projects sooner. Additionally, when you remain satisfied by eating small meals regularly, you’ll be less tempted to break out the junk food.
Plan Meals in Advance
When working long office hours, you may consume breakfast, lunch and even supper at your workspace. If not planned properly, this office schedule can lead to lots of fast food or frozen meals. If you’re unsure how long you’ll be in the office each day, plan ahead by bringing enough healthy food for all of the day’s meals. This will prevent a shortage of food and will keep you away from the fast food lines.
Take Fitness Breaks
Long office hours should be accompanied by frequent breaks to avoid burnout. When you start to feel fatigued, take a brief fitness break by going for a walk. The fresh outside air will reset your concentration and the activity will burn a few additional calories.
Workout on the Weekend
Long office hours often lead employees to lounge around watching television and sleeping all weekend. While you certainly deserve to relax, you also deserve to remain in shape. As such, if you don’t have time to exercise during the workweek, set aside an hour or two each weekend day to visit the gym.
Staying fit while working long office hours can be a challenge. However, by planning your meals in advance and by remaining active whenever possible, you’ll effectively battle office weight gain by meeting project demands.
Author Bio: Shayla Ebsen is a full-time freelance writer and graphic designer with more than seven years combined experience from her time in the corporate world and through her freelance work. Shayla’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in News/Editorial Journalism from South Dakota State University and a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Organizational Communication from the University of South Dakota. Learn more about Shayla and her services at shaylaebsen.com.