So, you have found a job after graduation (Miracle of all miracles)! You’ve got your business cards, you’ve got your professional wardrobe, you’ve got all the office-appropriate-but-still-fun stationery you can get your hands on. You are learning quickly and picking things up. You are even making small talk in the kitchen! However, you start to notice that when you get home you are exhausted. You feel like going to bed before 9pm. You are dragging by 2pm. And why?? It’s not like you’ve run a marathon.
If you weren’t already informed, sitting at a desk for 7-9 hours a day is incredibly detrimental to your health. While it is nice change from serving and retail jobs, you realise quite quickly that you have no energy to do anything in the evening. Or even just after lunch… I was hit pretty hard by it. I was really bad for working through my lunch, in addition to starting 25-60 minutes early. That is a ridiculous amount of sitting.
However, it isn’t all doom, gloom, and a hella early death from sitting. There are a few easy ways to combat desk fatigue, or so I like to call it!
1) Get up to do things!
In our office, we like to send emails for most things- the number of times we have needed to go back to something in writing is unbelievable. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t ever get up and walk to ask someone a question. Walk to the photocopier that is a little further away. Take 5-10 minutes outside for a little fresh air. My Fitbit informs me that you should take at least 250 steps an hour- I aim for a minimum of 500. That blood flow is good for you physically and mentally!
2) Keep water on hand!
Always keep a water bottle or a water glass on your desk. Slowly dehydrating yourself will not help with an energy problem- I learned that the hard way! If you don’t drink a ton of water, I don’t recommend jumping to drinking 6-8 cups daily. Your bladder will not be thrilled… Every little bit helps, though! I find having water around also stops me from snacking constantly.
3) Get away or out at lunch!
If you can, leave your desk for lunch! I usually eat earlier, and then head to the gym at lunch. I will either run and stretch, or take one of the group classes. If you don’t have a gym in or near your office, try and take a walk outside! Every little bit of movement helps. If it’s terrible out, take a walk through your building- do your office stairs 2-3 times. You might be surprised at how much more awake you feel after some easy movement!
4) Use your desk for exercise!
I’ve been lucky to take an office-chair yoga class three times now, and it is a miracle for those of us that sit at a desk all day. It’s simple yoga poses adapted to be done in an office chair- it allows you to stretch those muscles that are tightening as you sit. I would recommend this video by Adriene and this video by ChriskaYoga! I was a little hesitant to do a short yoga sequence on my 15 minute break, but I really started to see a difference after a few days!
5) Don’t crash when you get home!
No matter how tired you are, don’t crash when you get home. Don’t nap, don’t curl up with Netflix immediately, don’t sit on the couch for an hour. Try to keep moving- put on some music while you make supper (or a tv show), do the dishes right away, or do some laundry. Once you’re down, you’re down for a while. You don’t have to do P90X immediately when you get home, but keep the blood flowing. You will sleep better at night AND you will find your energy during the work day improves as well!
What do you do to keep your energy up for your desk job?