Fitting healthy choices into busy days

I am a desk-oholic.

I work at a major state university, smack in the middle of gorgeous collegiate scenery filled with wooded areas, walking paths, a campus lake and more.

Seriously, this is the view out my window (you can see my other window's reflection in the right side of the pic) and yet I'm too stupid to look up once in a while and appreciate it.

Seriously, this is the view out my window (you can see my other window’s reflection in the right side of the pic) and yet I’m too stupid to look up once in a while and appreciate it.

And yet I’m one of those people who feels guilty about standing up to take a break, or eating lunch away from my computer screen, or giving myself any sort of time allowance to move around during the workday or even appreciate my beautiful surroundings. I attribute it to too many years working in reception positions where you’re tied to your desk and can’t leave for a minute in case someone calls your phone or strolls in the door. Whatever the case, I’ve been trying harder lately to make a conscious effort to free myself of the shackles of that past and embrace the idea that I now CAN get up once an hour to walk a flight of stairs or do some stretches or use my stapler as an ersatz dumbbell. That I don’t have to be tied to my chair every moment of every work day to still be an exemplary employee. And that, in fact, it would probably improve my work performance to get up once in a while.

This hurdle has grown particularly ridiculous in the past six months since moving from a hectic hub of an office to my current digs in a very quiet, remote office space in a building used as an auditorium for large evening events. I don’t know how I wound up so lucky to land this workspace, but it’s amazing. Natural lighting from REAL windows, plenty of staircases to climb, and health-conscious coworkers who think nothing of seeing me doing laps around the auditorium balcony before leaving for the day. Also, there is an ice machine in the basement. WE HAVE OUR OWN ICE MACHINE. I sort of feel like I have won the lottery here.

And yet, I stupidly struggle with the most basic concepts of “workplace wellness,” mostly out of sheer habit.

For example, there is a small conference table with comfortable chairs that is literally FIVE FEET FROM MY DESK, but I still catch myself almost every day sitting in front of my computer monitor, hunched down like a caveman, shoveling lunch into my face from the lunch bag I brought it in while I check my email. Why?

I am sitting at my desk with my legs crossed so you can see how close this table really is and how ridiculous I truly am.

I am sitting at my desk with my legs crossed so you can see how close this table really is and how truly ridiculous I apparently am.

So, simple and silly as it may sound, my next short-term goal in my fitness journey is to stop eating at my desk. To turn off my monitor, stand up, walk to the kitchen for a real plate and real fork and real water glass, prepare my lunch as if I were a normal human being instead of some insane Tolkien-esque halfling, and sit at a real table while I concentrate on the one task at hand: providing my body with nourishment.

(As an added bonus, this method prompts additional post-lunch movement by then requiring me to walk back to the kitchen and wash my dishes and center my brain with the idea of now returning to work, refreshed and ready to concentrate with my full attention again on my projects.)

It shouldn’t be this hard, but it is. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has a real difficulty in shutting off the work mind for a little while to take a proper break like a healthy human being ought to, so I felt like it wasn’t entirely silly of me to mention. If nothing else, I want this blog to be a reflection of my own personal obstacles in becoming more health-minded, so there it is. I have a problem, and I’m working on it so I can be a better worker AND a healthier one.

 

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