African American man stretching at desk with the title


Main Content

Ten tips can help develop healthy habits on the job

Published on Thursday, August 1, 2019

By: Lindsay McMurtray,

Improving the health and well-being of Mississippians might start at home, but it continues at work when companies encourage their employees to live healthy and happy lives.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center was recently recognized as one of the state's healthiest workplaces by the Mississippi Business Group on Health, the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Mississippi Business Journal because of UMMC’s commitment to encouraging healthy habits and lifestyles for its faculty, staff and students.

Portrait of Dr. Joshua Mann

This recognition highlights UMMC's dedication to creating a healthier Mississippi, beginning with its own employees. But Dr. Josh Mann, professor and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and director of the Office of Well-being, explained the importance of health care providers encouraging healthy behaviors for others as well.

“As the only academic medical center in the state, UMMC has a vital role in promoting and modeling healthy lifestyles for Mississippians,” Mann said. “Improving health and well-being within our own community of more than 12,000 people is an important part of this mission."

While UMMC has an Office of Well-being that advocates for employee and student health initiatives throughout the organization, there are many ways that anyone can incorporate a robust wellness routine in their workplace.

With a significant amount of time spent in the workplace each week, finding ways to support healthy habits both at work and at home is essential to overall health.

Portrait of Brea Cole

"Wellness in the workplace is important because we spend more time at work than we do at home, so what we do at work matters," said Brea Cole, manager of the Everyday Wellness program in UMMC's Office of Well-being.

Follow these 10 tips to help stay healthy and reach your workplace wellness goals:

     •  Sneak in extra steps.

Throughout the day, take opportunities to walk a few extra steps during lunch, while heading to meetings or while discussing a project with a coworker.

     •  Take the stairs.

If you are only heading up one floor or down to the lobby from your second-floor office, opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. This will help get your blood pumping and give you an impromptu workout during the day.

     •  Find a wellness buddy.

It's easier to stay on track and meet your wellness goals when someone is holding you accountable. Cole recommends finding a coworker (or even a group!) who wants to achieve similar goals. "Wellness in the workplace is a support system to support each other’s well-being goals, such as behavior change," she said.

     •  Stretch at your desk.

There are stretches you can easily do at your desk. Next time your neck or shoulders feel tense from sitting at your desk, take a few minutes to roll them, first in one direction and then the other.

     •  Sit up straight.

Practicing good posture at your desk can help reduce back pain and fatigue.

     •  Take a break.

It is important to take short breaks to rest your eyes, stretch your muscles and allow yourself time to refocus your mind. This is also a great time to get in some steps. "Use your small breaks throughout the day to take a brisk walk," Cole said. She suggests setting reminders to get up and move around the office throughout the day.

     •  Stay hydrated.

Drinking enough water throughout the day can help you focus and prevent headaches.

     •  Enjoy a healthy snack.

Keeping a small snack on hand will help give you the brain and energy boost your body needs! Dried fruits, nuts and popcorn make great snacks to keep in your desk and fight off afternoon hunger pangs.

     •  Get enough sleep.

Most adults need a minimum of 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Making sure you get the correct amount of sleep can allow your body to stay energized and help reduce stress.

     •  Look at the bright side.

Keeping a positive attitude can increase productivity and allow for a calm atmosphere in the office.

The above article appears in CONSULT, UMMC’s monthly e-newsletter sharing news about cutting-edge clinical and health science education advances and innovative biomedical research at the Medical Center and giving you tips and suggestions on how you and the people you love can live a healthier life. Click here and enter your email address to receive CONSULT free of charge. You may cancel at any time.