It’s no secret that staying healthy is crucial if you want to be your best self at work and at home. If you’re feeling exhausted, under the weather and generally lousy, your ability to focus and work quickly can be severely impaired. It can be very difficult to be mindful of your work when you want to be at home in bed, sleeping off a nasty headache or a lingering cold. Young professionals are especially prone to burn-out because the difficulty of creating a work-life balance can lead to neglecting certain aspects of self-care that are necessary to feel well and stay well. The following strategies can help you stay on top of your health so you can keep your edge at work.

Drink More Water to Stay Alert and Focused

You’ve heard it a million times: Drink up.  Water, of course. It is both very important and very true. A study by Boston College notes that only one-third of the American population is actually consuming the amount of water they need to be fully hydrated and healthy. This can be legitimately dangerous. When your body is dehydrated, it is far from in peak condition. You may experience exhaustion, headaches, weakness and an increase in your heart rate. If you’re wondering if you’ve been drinking enough water, the color of your urine is a direct clue. It should be nearly clear. If it isn’t, it’s important that you add more water to your diet.

The human body needs at least 64 fluid ounces of water a day to maintain optimum hydration. This is about eight small glasses or four large glasses of water, which really isn’t too hard to consume if you are mindful.

  • Keep a 64 oz bottle with ice, water and a cup on your desk, in your work area and near you at home. Instead of grabbing a soda, you’ll be visually reminded that your thirst requires water.
  • Invest in an infusion bottle, which will allow you to infuse your water with fruits, mint or other herbs for a refreshing natural boost that may make water more enticing.
  • Make a point of putting a pitcher of water on the table at dinnertime with a 16 oz glass for everyone to encourage water drinking.

Sugary soft drinks, tea and coffee aren’t good substitutes as they have other properties that can effect their capacity to hydrate you. If you’re having a hard time remembering your water or making the switch, here are some helpful tips.

Move Around As Much As Possible

Regular cardiovascular exercise is crucial to both short term and long term health. It strengthens your heart, burns calories and can increase your energy level considerably. Many professionals struggle with finding time to exercise due to long hours at sedentary jobs, but making time to move your body is essential to maintaining your health and strength. The Mayo Clinic recommends that Americans have an average of 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity per week. This is about 21 minutes per day. While you can break this down into smaller portions, cardio is most beneficial when your heart rate is maintained over time. Here are some ways you can add more cardio to your daily routine and improve your strength.

  • Instead of letting your dog out to play in the yard, take him for a walk and share the exercise time with your pet. Getting up a half hour early will let you share this fun time and be energized for your day.
  • Find a friend, co-worker or neighbour who is interested in improving their health as well and partner up for a few walks a week. Friendly conversation will make the time pass quickly.
  • Take the stairs! Ditching escalators and elevators will boost your heart rate and energize you, putting some bounce in your step by the time you get back to your desk.

There are also several exercises that can be done right in your desk chair that can help you keep good circulation and avoid burn-out in the afternoon.

Yes, You Need to Eat Your Greens

Mom always told you to eat your vegetables, but as an adult, how often do you actually consume the recommended 2.5 cups of veggies per day? If the answer is rarely or never, it’s time to get some greens back into your diet. Dark greens and cruciferous vegetables contain antioxidants, vitamin C and other essential nutrients that can boost immune function and increase energy levels. If you never developed a taste for vegetables, it can be tough to figure out ways to integrate them into your diet in a way you can truly enjoy. Here are some tips on boosting your meaningful vegetable consumption.

  • Toss a handful of kale into a low-sugar fruit smoothie with Greek yogurt for a super healthy breakfast boost.
  • Ditch those iceberg salads and replace them with dark greens like spinach, topped with healthy roasted nuts and low fat dressing.
  • Try new ways of eating classic sides by roasting broccoli or brussels sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt.

Sitting in a office chair all day does not have to compromise your good health. Take time to work out a routine of daily exercise and healthy meals.  Your mind and body depend on you to take care of them.  If they go into burn-out, guess who’s to blame?