In a perfect world, the intense structures associated with office environments would be a non-issue. We could all pursue side hustles we鈥檙e passionate about or quit our day jobs to聽run frozen yogurt shops 鈥 and make a solid living doing it. Wouldn鈥檛 that be nice? It would be, and we鈥檇 probably all feel a lot better in that kind of world. Unfortunately, that鈥檚 just not reality 鈥 but who says we can鈥檛 learn to cope with the existing pressures of work in a healthier way?

When business networking expert and BNI CEO Ivan Misner was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, he decided to take steps in his own workplace to promote better health for himself and his employees. 鈥淢ost people don鈥檛 consciously realize that the things they do, or don鈥檛 do, at the office when it comes to food and fitness can really harm their health,鈥 he tells us. Misner 鈥 whose book Healing Begins in the Kitchen was released last month 鈥 points out these seven common unhealthy work habits, as well as easy tweaks that can put you back on track.

A woman looks unhappily at a stack of files

1. Having Deadline Drama: The pressure to meet deadlines is one of the most stress-inducing aspects of any job, and stress is a persistent threat to good health. While deadlines are a totally reasonable part of professional life and can鈥檛 exactly be eliminated, you can switch to a healthier approach to them. 鈥淭ake five deeps breaths every 30 minutes to help keep your immune system strong,鈥 Misner suggests. 鈥淪tudies have shown that when your brain is oxygenated, you perform better, as well.鈥

2. Eating Fast & Easy Breakfasts: Maybe you鈥檙e running late to the office and feel like you have no choice but to swing by the convenience store for a donut, or maybe the conference room at work is constantly hosting pastry parties. Whatever the situation, if you鈥檙e making a habit of high-carb, starchy breakfasts, it鈥檚 time to revisit your morning routine. Indulging instead in eggs or a protein drink will boost your energy and help you maintain strength, which will keep your whole body healthy throughout the day.

A woman works at a standing desk

3. Sitting Still: You鈥檝e heard about the dangers of being stationary for too long (hello, step counter!), but we鈥檙e here with another friendly reminder 鈥 and this time, we鈥檙e more concerned for your immune system than your waistline. 鈥淕etting up and walking, or even using a stand-up desk, keeps your lymphatic system flowing and your oxygen levels higher,鈥 Misner explains. 鈥淭ake stretch breaks or march in place at your desk every half an hour.鈥

4. Over-Caffeinating: Start your day with one cup of coffee or black tea, but cut your caffeine intake after that. By switching over to water or herbal tea for those later-in-the-day refreshments, you鈥檒l be feeding your body鈥檚 need for hydration and avoiding the extra acidity caused by too much caffeine. Elevated acid levels can lead to calcium depletion and weaken bones.

5. Bringing Work Home: With deadlines approaching and a boss to impress, it often feels like the best (or only) option is to bring a big stack of work home to finish after hours 鈥 but while this may be unavoidable sometimes, it should never become a regular habit. 鈥淭he concept of 鈥榖e here now鈥 is so important to your health,鈥 encourages Misner. 鈥淭aking work home with you robs you of your personal time and adds to your immune-suppressing burden of stress.鈥

Coworkers meet over lunch

6. Skipping Lunch: On a busy day, it鈥檚 easy to suppress your appetite and focus on the projects at hand, but regularly skipping lunch will result in consequences even more negative than a grumbling pre-dinner tummy (we know 鈥 that already sounds pretty miz). Skipping a meal will cause your blood level to drop, which can slow you down and restrict your ability to think clearly. Be mindful of your physical and mental health by prioritizing midday nutrition for your body.

7. Having a Bad Attitude: Your mom had no patience for a bad attitude, and when it comes to your professional situations, you should also have a zero-tolerance policy for 鈥榯ude. By laying off the complaining and negative gossip, you鈥檒l do more than just look like a happier camper 鈥 you鈥檒l be healthier too! 鈥淧ositive attitudes lead to healing hormones鈥 being released, which support healthy immune function,鈥 Misner shares. 鈥淣egative attitudes lead to damaging hormones being released.鈥 Remember that the people you choose to surround yourself with play a huge role in your attitude, so seek out office friends who are as happy and positive as you would like to be.

How do you maintain healthy office habits? Tweet us @BritandCo!

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