With all the hours we spend at work — whether that means time in an office, at home, or on the road — it’s important to examine the challenges that your career poses to eating well and living a healthy lifestyle.
For example, is your job extremely stressful? Fatiguing? Fast-paced? Boring? Any of these situations could push you toward eating as a way to cope. Instead, try the following tips:
* Practice stress management. When the pressure mounts, instead of turning to a high-calorie, high-fat trigger food to calm your nerves, try healthy, stress-relieving techniques like deep breathing, visualization, and mindful meditation.
* Learn to communicate what you want and need in an assertive way. Bottling up your frustration or lashing out in anger doesn’t work — on the job or off. While it may seem scary or uncomfortable at first, as you practice communicating your needs, it will become easier.
* Work in some active “me time” into your workday. Instead of using eating as an excuse to take a break, bring your walking shoes along and hit the road instead. The quick walk will get you out of the office, let you blow off some steam, and burn calories to boot! Likewise, if you travel for your job, walk in the airport rather than pass time in the bar or food court.
* Save some energy for you. If your job often leaves you feeling too exhausted to do anything but collapse on the couch at the end of the day, something’s wrong. Remember that while giving your all at work is admirable and important, you’ve got to strike a balance that allows you some get-up-and-go during your personal time too.
* Evaluate your job satisfaction. Do you feel ownership of and satisfaction in your work? Do you feel that your job utilizes your natural talents and skills to the fullest? That it challenges you and stimulates your creativity? That it’s fulfilling? If you answered no to any of these questions, perhaps it’s time to consider a career change or other adjustments to your job situation that will help you meet these emotional needs.