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How to stay fit, health and focused at work

By Liva Emmatty

Senior Account Director

Clarity

Disclaimer: The comments in this article are based on the author’s experience as an individual living with Type 1 diabetes. None of these insights should be taken as hard advice as everyone is different. Clarity offers employees bespoke healthy living advice within its Employee Assistance Program through Besupported.

In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift in working style - many organizations have embraced a hybrid working model, while others have implemented remote working policies. While these changes have provided many benefits to employees, we work in the twenty-first century where most jobs require considerably less physical activity than they did before. We’re stuck in our seats throughout the day, and many of us barely have the time to take a proper break or prepare a healthy meal, all of which is taking a toll on our health. In addition to poor posture, back and neck problems, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to slow metabolism, obesity, diabetes, risk of cardiovascular conditions, high blood pressure and cancer among other medical conditions. 

As someone who has been living with Type 1 diabetes for 27 years, staying physically fit and eating healthily are a necessity for me, and I have constantly struggled to manage my blood glucose levels with a desk job. 

It’s tough to stick to eating healthy meals as part of a routine, when you are often attending social events with catered food, and need to manage the general lack of physical activity associated with long, and sometimes stressful, days. After years of observing the impact of sedentary lifestyle on my physical and mental health, I recently incorporated small changes to my lifestyle where I made a conscious effort to stay hydrated, get a good night’s rest, take small breaks when working, eat mindfully, and fit in some light cardio half an hour after a meal. Joining Clarity has also helped, as our Wellbeing Taskforce and company policies support us to live a healthy lifestyle and practice mindfulness. 

Wooden chopping board with a selection of cut up vegetables - half an avocado chilli, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, spring onions, salad leaves and mushrooms.

Mindful eating:

While there have been many conversations on driving healthy eating habits and having a great work-life balance, some of us find this difficult to manage. During one of my visits with my doctor, I was asked two simple questions that changed my perspective: Are you eating when you’re hungry? Or, do you eat when your subconscious mind makes you want to get over a stressful situation, suppressing an emotion or simply boredom? Until that day, I had not reflected on how I tend to eat a lot more when stressed or how I tend to snack often, completely oblivious to the fact that I just had a meal. 

It was a game changer for me -  practicing mindful eating helped me manage my blood sugar levels and be more focused at work. I made three key changes:

  1. Reduced my carbohydrate intake and increased my protein intake - this helped me feel fuller for longer.
  2. Started having three higher-calorie meals a day featuring lots of healthy fats including avocado, fresh cheese, and nuts.
  3. Started taking time to prepare a delicious, homemade, wholesome meal instead of relying on store-bought ready meals. 
A sign with a figure of a man walking, the country side in the background with green grass and blue skies

Physical activity:

The stress of completing tasks on time or the need to rush to meetings while managing household chores can be a struggle. It was initially difficult for me to fit in any physical activity during weekdays. However, the lack of exercise along with the desk job started affecting my health, and I realized I had to find a way to change my lifestyle.

Having flexible working hours has helped me plan my day better and include some form of physical activity in my schedule. I made small changes including taking small breaks during office hours for a walk after lunch, short run, or even just climbing stairs. Taking a five minute break after a long meeting to stretch my legs has helped reduce body ache. By embracing a healthy and active lifestyle, I feel more focused, energized, positive, creative and can manage my  tasks more efficiently.

How Clarity supports me:

Employers have a responsibility to promote healthy choices and encourage employees to participate in physical activities to ensure they stay well while working a sedentary job. To my delight when I joined Clarity a few months ago, I discovered the office was stocked with multiple healthy eating options including fruits with a low glycemic index and nuts, seeds, greek yogurt, keto snacks, and organic dark chocolate. During any office function, there are also always options for healthy food choices that cater to everyone - whether people are following a keto, low-carb, gluten free or vegan diet. 

Moreover, Clarity’s employee-led Wellbeing Taskforce is focused on setting a standard for a holistic work-life balance. One of my favorite initiatives undertaken by the team in Q2 was a walking competition, The Clarity Conqueror Challenge. Each Clariteer was challenged to walk 46 miles during May and June, which also aimed to represent the 46% of adults experiencing mental health issues.

I am so grateful to be part of an organization that prioritizes physical health and wellbeing by providing healthy eating options and making meals inclusive for everyone, having flexible working hours for employees to take breaks and pursue physical activity. It empowers me to manage my health far more efficiently, work flexible hours - and enjoy the work I love.

If you want to learn more about how Clarity looks after its team look at our values and if you would be interested in joining the team, check our careers page

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