HEALTH8 Strategies for Staying Healthy in the Office

8 Strategies for Staying Healthy in the Office

By: Ryan Provencher, Firefighter Peak Performance Founder and Executive Fitness Advisor for CRACKYL Magazine

So, you find yourself “on days” as a fire service administrator. This is an amazing opportunity to support firefighters while moving the organization forward. Unfortunately, we often see folks give all they have in these positions at the expense of their own health. Common pitfalls include weight gain, isolation, mood swings, burnout, and more.

I recently completed ten years in the Training Division, and I can honestly say the experience was a highlight of my career. It was very rewarding and extremely challenging all at the same time. Here are 8 strategies that helped me to optimize my health:

1.     Set Boundaries: When responding to emergencies, each incident has a beginning and end. In administration, there may be project deadlines, but the work is never finished. It is important to set boundaries to avoid overwhelm and burnout.

2.     Stay Connected: The relationships we develop in the fire service are unlike any other. It is easy to get sucked into the office or stuck behind the computer at the expense of these relationships. Make a point to prioritize visits to stations, meals with crews, participation in training, etc.

3.     Stand Up: They say, “sitting is the new smoking” and the life of a fire service administrator involves a lot of sitting. Consider a height-adjustable standing desk that allows you to stand for periods of time throughout the day. 

4.     Move Often: Set an alarm every 60-90 minutes. When the alarm goes off, go for a 5-minute walk. Ideally, you will get outside for some fresh air and sunlight, but even a walk around the office will help to activate muscles and get the blood moving.

5.     Exercise Daily: One of the greatest advantages to working in the office is the structure provided in the schedule. You have an opportunity to prioritize exercise as part of your daily routine. Pick the time of day that works best for you and get your workout in.

6.     Plan Meals: The ability to plan your meals and eat at the same time each day without interruption is another great benefit. Map out a daily meal plan and stick to it. If you are preparing a healthy dinner at home, make enough for lunch the next day. 

7.     Get to Bed on Time: Nothing was more impactful for me in my administrative position than sleeping through the night. I experienced clarity, energy, and focus that I forgot had existed before shift work. Find out what sleep schedule works best for you and make it a priority.

8.     Leave Work at Work: One of the greatest challenges in administration is the fact that there are rarely immediate solutions to challenges. Make peace with this and I promise that the work will be there when you get back into the office.

Make the decision to lead by example with a commitment to your own health and wellness, you will be glad you did.

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