How to Handle the Work Commute Stress

One thing I noticed about long commutes was that they tended to take all my energy away. By the time I got to work my coffee was gone and I was tired again, I had wasted precious energy on 40 minutes or more of car-dancing, I had already talked to seven people at red lights, and I had panicked about traffic as well as mostly everything in the world.

I couldn’t sustain this any longer and I knew I had to do something. I’ve kind of narrowed it down into four basic strategies:

1. Wake Up Early and Leave Early
The classic mistake: wake up late, leave late, freak out for an hour in the car, get to work late. It’s true that the initial moment of getting out of bed is close to impossible, but when I wake up early, stretch, and drink a little water, I’m eternally grateful for the extra few minutes. I can leave earlier, too. And then in the car when I have to stop and let a pedestrian cross the road, instead of shouting “WHY IN GOD’S GREEN EARTH IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?” I can let the pedestrian go in a pleasant manner.

2. Pace Yourself
I’ve started trying different things to conserve my energy in the mornings. The first thing I realized is that, as much as I may want to listen to energetic rock-and-roll while chugging espresso at 7 a.m., it helps a lot to put on some soothing music and just calmly zone out during the car or bus ride. It saves my energy for when I get to work and keeps me in the right mood for it. The other thing that helps is to get your lunch and/or breakfast ready at night, so you can just grab it without rushing on your way out.

3. Or, Don’t
Feel free to get excited on your way to work. Car rides can be fun if you have the right tunes, the right weather, and the right mood. Roll down your window, drink your espresso drink (or your green tea), and think happy thoughts.

4. For Goodness Sake, Talk Yourself Out of It
As the cars creep inch by inch down the highway, stopping short just so, it helps to keep reminding yourself: I will not stress. It’s okay. I will not stress. This is not the end of the world. This also has to do with pacing yourself. What’s the point of wasting all that energy so early on? I ask myself all the time: Is this situation really worth feeling pure terror over? If not, just relax. Breathe. It’s going to be all right. Calm yourself with words.

Going nuts in the morning is no fun. But when I wake up early, pace my energy (or don’t), and remain composed in the face of unfortunate driving conditions, I find that the long morning commute is totally manageable and even a good chance to start your morning off right.

How to Watch What You Eat At Work

Do you eat like a gem on the weekends and then, at work, find yourself torn between the cheeseburger and the $3 mozzarella sticks?

It can be difficult to maintain your diet during the week, but I’ve found that a few things work really well for me:

Fruits with skins are cheap, healthy, and easy to bring to work because you don’t even have to worry about keeping them on a clean surface. As a germaphobe I am particularly into bananas, kiwis, oranges, and grapefruit and it’s fun to just have them rolling around on your desk, waiting to be eaten.

Easy Sandwiches
There’s a lot you can do with just some bread, arugula, already-cooked chicken sausage, a piece of cheese, and a microwave. Just saying.

This is probably the holy grail of maintaining your diet at work. If you just muster up the mental willpower when you get home at night to cook a big dinner, you can bring your leftovers the next day. You won’t even have to consider the $1.25 Cup ‘O Noodles.

Raw Veggies
This is for the go-hards… A Tupperware of raw veggies never hurt anyone. Just eat them along with your granola bar and your easy sandwich. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, even cucumber (although you’ll have to slice that up and at that point you might as well make a salad). Also—if you do bring a salad, pack your dressing separately. Salads aren’t gross, wet mushy salads are gross.

Be patient with yourself and try to bring one healthy thing a day. Or, at the cafeteria, buy one healthy thing instead of one unhealthy thing. It’s easy to eat healthy on the weekends, when you’ve got time and the willingness to spend a bit more money, but it’s important not to let work get in the way of a healthy, happy lifestyle.

How to Eat Healthy At Work

Let’s face it, eating healthy at work is not fun or easy. The bottom line is that work equals stress, and for most of us, stress equals eating (usually unhealthily). Being able to manage your diet at work is a key tool that will allow you to maximize productivity on the job while also feeling good about yourself. Everyone wants to be healthy and fit, but dedicating the time and energy to be able to consistently make the right food and exercise choices, especially while working a grueling schedule, can seem like a daunting task. Here is a list of five easy and healthy choices to make while at the office rather than daydreaming of donuts and other delicious treats.


Pack Your Lunch
Packing a nutritious lunch is a key tool in being able to resist temptation to reach for that bag of potato chips from the vending machine or the pasta primavera from the cafeteria. Bringing lean meats, whole wheat breads as well as nuts and water instead of those greasy alternatives will not only make you feel better about your choices, but give you sustained energy when that “2:30 feeling” rolls around.

Avoid the Vending Machine!
The vending machine is for lack of a better term, your mortal enemy at work. This big box of horrors is most always filled with salty and chocolaty snacks that will ruin your diet and leave you feeling bad just minutes after that wrapper hits the trash can. Try alternatives such as celery and peanut butter, apple slices, almonds and raisins to replace those waist-busting treats.

Take a Walk during Lunch
Ah, our cherished lunch break. Our time to relax, unwind….and continue to sit. This is the completely wrong idea for most people who are looking to maximize their day. After you eat (a healthy and satisfying meal of course) try taking the second half of your break outside and get moving! Even just a 20 minute walk at a moderate pace can get your blood pumping and release crucial endorphins that will uplift your mood for the second half of the daily grind. Instead of sticking your nose in your neighbor’s business or reading about which celebrity said this and that, make your lunch break a productive one!

Stay Hydrated
Water, unlike the vending machine, is your best friend while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Having a glass of water handy at your desk will not only keep you hydrated, but keep you feeling fuller throughout the day. Instead of snacking, drinking a few 8oz glasses a day is an essential tool to looking and feeling great. Replace those sugary drinks and carbonated beverages with a good ol’ glass of h2o.

Stick Together
There isn’t an easier way to stick to a healthy diet at work than having a buddy who wants to keep healthy with you. Sticking together while the rest of the office is digging into some birthday cake for the third time this month will help to ease the pain as you watch those empty calories go to waste. This teamwork can often lead to a workout partner (another essential tool in living a healthy and active lifestyle) so team up, and everyone wins!

Quick Exercises You Can Do At Work

Simply sitting at a desk all day shouldn’t be a reason to lose yourself, physically, mentally, or emotionally. Exercise plays a part in everyone’s life, just in different ways. So here are some quick Exercises You Can Do at Work.


The following exercise is best for sitting; Calf crunches, at your desk place your legs hip width apart and simply tip toe for 3 seconds, then release, placing your foot flat on the floor for 3 seconds. After doing 3 second intervals 10 times, you then decrease your count to 2 seconds up and down 20 times. Finally, your last set you will be tip toeing for 1 second both up and down 30 times.

Another quick Exercise You Can Do at Work is to walk on your break. Take a walk around your facility instead of having a seat in the break room. This will keep your metabolism going and may deter you from eating such a heavy lunch. Once you get comfortable with your walk, time yourself. Each day try your best to beat your last time. Here’s another tip for preventing additional weight gain while working behind that desk.

If you are sure to eat a complete breakfast between 6:00am and 8:00am you can hold off hunger for until at least 11:00am. Having a morning snack like a piece of fruit or healthy snack bar around that time will decrease your appetite for your 12:30pm break; ultimately you’ll eat less at lunch.

Exercise Plan For The Office

Think you can’t make time to exercise at work? Well, think again. Turns out the average American will spend over 90,000 hours working in their lifetime! So, spend those hours wisely and implement this fool-proof exercise plan for the office:


  1. Healthy begins as a mindset. Write a list of your fitness and nutrition goals and pin it up in a visible spot at your desk or office space. Try to remind yourself of these objectives by reading through them at the start and end of each day.
  2. Get moving! Organize daily walking trips around the office grounds with your co-workers during lunch and break times. If you have a park or walking track nearby, even better! As you progress, incorporate ankle or hand weights for an added challenge and maximum calorie burn.
  3. Snack smart. Bringing healthy food from home is easier on your wallet and can boost concentration and energy levels. Here are some quick and easy snack ideas: hardboiled eggs or cheese with whole wheat crackers, apples and peanut butter, veggies and hummus or low-fat dressing and trail-mix/dried fruit with plain, low-fat yogurt.
  4. Stay hydrated. Did you know that people often mistake dehydration for hunger? Before reaching for that bag of chips, drink at least 8oz. of water. You’ll feel better and more satisfied after a few minutes, guaranteed!
  5. Stairs are not just for fire-drills anymore! If you work in a multi-story building, challenge yourself by walking to your destination whenever possible instead of using the elevator. Climbing just a few flights each day can build endurance and promote stress-relief.

Changing little habits can produce big results when done consistently. While these tips alone don’t guarantee you a six-pack, this simple but effective exercise plan for the office might just kick-start a lifestyle transformation for you and your co-workers!

How to Exercise at Your Desk

Many of us have good intentions when it comes to working out in spite of being at work for 1/3 of the day. We try to get up early to squeeze in a workout before we head in to the office. We plan a stop at the gym on the way home. We might even try to see what can be done during a lunch break. How about sneaking in a workout while you’re at your desk?


Let’s face it, that’s where many of us spend much of our day, and all of those hours sitting in our desk chairs, hunched over our keyboards, are a big part of why we need the exercise in the first place. Turn that Catch 22 into the perfect time to wake up your muscles and learn how to exercise at your desk.

These Arm Exercises actually use your desk as your exercise equipment:

Place your hands under the desk, palms up, and press up as if you’re trying to lift the desk. Hold this contraction until your arms feel tired. You can do both hands at the same time, or alternate between working each arm individually.

Now place your hands on top of the desk, palms down and press as strongly as you can as if you’re pushing the desk down into the floor. Hold contraction until your arms feel tired.

Isometric Hand Press:

Sitting upright in your chair, grasp your hands together in front of your chest as if you were clapping. Firmly press them against each other, the right hand pushing to the left and the left hand pushing to the right. Hold contraction for 10 seconds before releasing. Repeat 4 times.

Shoulder Shrug:

Lift the tops of your shoulders toward your ears and hold for 5-10 seconds
Relax and drop your shoulders low, feeling a slight stretch in your neck.
Repeat as you like.

The Wooden Leg:

Sit in your chair, back straight. Engage your stomach muscles and extend one leg out straight in front of you even with the chair height and hold for 5 seconds. Pressing through your heel, slowly raise your leg up as high as you can, and hold it again for 5 seconds. Lower to the floor and repeat the sequence 8-10 times. Follow up with your other leg.

The Wooden Leg can also be done with both legs at once:
Sit closer to the edge of your seat and place your hands on the desk for balance.
Raise both legs together as high as possible under the desk. Hold for several seconds and slowly lower back down.

Crossed Leg Resistance Lift:

Cross one ankle on top of the other.
Begin to raise your feet off the floor.
Press top leg down and resist with bottom leg – hold this contraction until muscles are tired. Release to the floor.
Repeat with opposite ankle crossed over the top.

Chair Squats:

Stand tall with back straight.
Slowly lower your body to within 1 inch of the chair, almost sitting down but not quite touching the seat.
Hold for ten seconds.
Relax and sit fully into the chair, or lift back up to standing to repeat.

Thigh Muscle Static Contraction Series:

These isometric contractions can be done with all the muscles in the thighs simply by focusing your attention on each muscle group individually.

Begin by focusing on the inner thigh muscles: Contract/squeeze the inner thighs with maximum effort, holding the contraction for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat between 10-15 times.
Next focus on the outer thigh muscles. Contract these muscles as much as you can, holding for roughly 5 seconds and release. Repeat 10-15 times.
Continue on with your hamstrings – the backs of your thighs – strongly contracting those muscles for several seconds and then releasing. Repeat 10-15 times.
For your quadriceps (the tops of your thighs), straighten your legs out in front of you and then do the contractions, holding for 5 seconds, releasing and then repeating.
These can be done periodically throughout the day.

Inner Thigh Adduction:

Choose an item that can be squeezed such as a rolled up towel or even your sweater. Sit up straight in your chair towards the edge of the seat, your abs tucked in. Be sure your feet are flat on the floor and place the item between your knees. Squeeze your knees together with maximum force, holding for several seconds before releasing. Repeat 10-15 times.

Butt and Ab Clenches:

Tighten your buttocks as strongly as you can and hold that contraction for 10 seconds. Relax your muscles. Repeat this contraction 10-15 times.

Follow with your abs:
Tighten your tummy muscles, focusing on pulling your belly button in towards your spine and your side muscles in towards the center. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds. Repeat this contraction 15 times.

Sitting Spinal Stretch:

Sit tall in your chair, abs engaged and making sure your spine is straight. Place your left hand on the desk and with your right hand grab the back of the chair and gently twist your spine and neck to the right as if you’re trying to look behind you. Try not to hold your breath. Hold the twist for 10 seconds and then gently twist back to facing forward. Repeat with your right hand on the desk and your left arm on the back of the chair, gently twisting to the left until you can see behind you. Hold for 10 seconds and then release.

Finally, even just checking in every now and then to be sure you’re sitting properly in your chair helps your back muscles stay strong. Your chair height should allow your feet to be flat on the floor with your knees and hips bent to a 90-degree angle. Your back should be straight, with the lower spine flat against the back of the chair and your chair pulled in close to the desk to avoid hunching forward.

Follow these ideas throughout the day and you can get in some great movement, and you won’t even have to lunge your way to the photocopier.

Ten Simple Exercises You Can Do At Work

Exercise is a love/hate relationship to most of us. Some exercise faithfully, and there are others who wouldn’t think of it. I was raised in a physically active home as a child with a Dad who played semi- professional baseball, and parents who engaged in bowling, tennis, swimming, dancing and walking. There was no way around it, and I am happy for the healthy education of exercise. I began teaching fitness, from infants to seniors, in 1985 and for 22 years brought the gift of healthy living to many of my clients.

Ten Simple Exercises

In many professional offices, employees sit at a desk for approximately 7 hours per day. Ten simple exercises you can do at work can make you body feel energized, provide a clear thinking mind and grant you good health in your professional journey. While you sit at your desk, make a conscious effort to:

1. Rotate your ankles
2. Perform heel raises
3. Raise your toes
4. Stretch your arms over your head and bend to each side while in your chair
5. Roll your neck to reduce tension
6. Do knee lifts in your chair
7. Perform straight leg lifts
8. Be mindful to sit up straight
9. Tap your toes to keep the blood flowing
10. Stand up often

These ten simple exercises that you can do at work will make you feel more alert, hold your energy level high, keep your muscles strong, keep your mind stimulated and your attitude enthusiastic!

Good Ways To Deal With Stress At Work

In our lives we are met with challenges that test our patience, our character, and sometimes all that we have held true to our personal image. Though we look for escapes they are not always available to us, the stress builds and we become less of who we want and more aggressive or more detached from our social structures. It can engulf so much of our lives we sometimes begin to think these feelings normal, all from negativity and stress. Stress at work can add to the already overwhelming amount of difficulties presented in life, but if we take a few short moments to collect ourselves, we can spare ourselves some weight from the boulders we each push uphill.

Stress at Work

Available at all of our desks is a key to lower stress levels. While reading, take both hands and place them palm up on your desk. Rest your feet on the ground and relax your body against your chair. Close your eyes and breathe in heavily through your nostrils, expanding your abdomen as you do. Hold your mounted breath for a moment and exhale slowly, pulling your abdomen in as you do. While taking the time to focus on your breathing, tell yourself you are relaxed. Repeat it while you inhale, feel the weightlessness of your limbs. When you again open your eyes, repeat that you are relaxed. Whenever you feel stress or negativity, you can come back to this small meditative exercise for as long as necessary.

Stress at work can be out maneuvered by simply removing yourself from the situation momentarily to collect thoughts. Taking the time to focus on our breathing can again center ourselves when we spin away; taking the time to work through a stressful work situation can relieve us from continued negativity throughout the day. You deserve to feel as stress free as possible, and you can begin your journey today!

Ten Simple Steps To Get A Good Workout At Work

Many of us would love to be able to get more exercise, but the problem most people face is having time to workout. With our busy lives, some of us barely have enough time for work, family and home obligations, and sleep, so getting in a workout on top of all that would be quite a challenge.

So what to do when you don’t have time to workout? Since we spend so much time at work, it makes sense to try to squeeze in small bits of exercise throughout the day at work. The recommended amount of physical activity for health benefits varies depending on individual needs and goals, but 30 minutes of moderate activity is a good place to start. Note that this does not mean the 30 minutes has to be done all at once; it can be broken into smaller amounts of time that add up to 30 minutes total. Looking at it that way, it is easy to see how you can squeeze in some exercise at work in order to total 30 minutes per day. Here are ten simple steps to get a good workout at work.

Workout at Work

  1. If you drive to work, park as far away as possible from your building, so that you get a good walk in. Wear a pedometer and try to get 10,0000 steps in per day.
  2. Take the stairs whenever possible inside the building.
  3. Put in face time with your coworkers. Instead of emailing, get up and walk over to see your coworker. You can also suggest taking walks during meetings instead of gathering to sit in a conference room (if there is no presentation or anything that needs to be seen). When you are on the telephone at your desk, stand up instead of sitting down.
  4. Trade your desk chair for an exercise ball. This will force you to work your core to balance. Or have your desk replaced by a high desk, so that you have to stand at it. This will greatly reduce the amount of sitting you do per day.
  5. If you have an office, you can close the door for privacy during breaks or at lunch and do a number of no-impact exercises. You can do squats, lunges, pushups, crunches, etc. You can even keep hand weights at your desk (or use waterbottles) to get in some light resistance training.
  6. Join a local gym and workout at lunch. Many gyms offer 30 minute “express” classes that cater to working professionals on their lunch break. Or you can walk on the treadmill or use one of the other cardio machines for 30 minutes. This will leave plenty of time to shower and grab a quick healthy lunch.
  7. Like to be social during lunch? Start a lunchtime walking or jogging club. Forget the water cooler and catch up on the latest office gossip or entertainment news while getting in shape with your coworkers.
  8. Set a timer on your computer or cell phone to go off every hour to remind you to stand up, step away from your desk, and either walk a lap around the floor or go up and down a flight or two of stairs. Every little bit of activity counts!
  9. Want to encourage your co-workers to fit in exercise too? Start a sports league at work. You can practice or play games during lunch or after work at a nearby location or local school.
  10. Whether or not you have an office, you can still do some exercises at your cubicle. Isometric exercises are performed without weights and require you to tense your muscles for a time and then relax them. Since the moves are performed without actually moving any part of your body, no one will actually even know you are exercising!