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How Your Desk Can Make You Healthier

BY: Rachel Matuch | Dec 11, 2018

Most of us are acquainted with the deadly hazard that is office life, thanks to cheery articles like TIME's Sitting Is Killing You. But standing desk isn't the only way to make your office healthier. Laptop surrounded by an inspiring coffee mug, bowl of clementines, timer, and succulent plant. Whether you've got a private office, a cubicle, or a new-fangled open seating plan, you likely spend a significant chunk of your day at your desk. But it's easy to neglect that space. I shudder to think of the mutant dust bunnies I battled the first time I cleaned out my desk. A happier, healthier space can help jump-start better habits and improve your productivity. Here are a few simple changes you can make.

1. Stock healthy snacks.

The call of vending machine Pop-Tarts is strong at 3 p.m; fight it with a cache of healthy snacks. I love clementines because they keep for a couple weeks and don't make a mess. (Does anyone else feel weirdly self-conscious eating an apple at work? Just me?) Or, try out Graze. They'll ship healthy snacks straight to your workplace, with everything pre-portioned so you don't have to think about serving sizes.

2. Add a little greenery.

A 2011 study found that participants who worked at desks with plants got a performance boost on "attention demanding work," as opposed to those who had no plants at their desks. Even if you're not by a window, desk-friendly plants like succulents and cacti still add a refreshing dose of green. Succulent plant Save on succulent trios and more with a 1-800-Flowers promo code.

3. Set a timer.

Set a digital timer on your desk to remind you to get up and move every 20 or 30 minutes. When it goes off, stand up and stretch, walk over to the water cooler, or turn a few cartwheels down the hall. Of course, you can set a timer on your phone or computer, but a separate timer on your desk serves as a visual reminder to set it and take your breaks. If your worried the alarm will disturb your coworkers, look for one with a mute option, like this Taylor timer on Amazon.

4. Get inspired.

Keep something that inspires you or makes you laugh at your desk. For example, I love this gigantic mug with a quote from Gary Lew, who is literally famous only for saying this quote (from his Pinterest profile: My name is Gary Lew, author of the quote "this is your world. Shape it or someone else will.") You can find a similar one here. Maybe it's a picture of your family, or a photograph you love, or an art print that inspires you. Just decorate with something other than used staples.

5. Keep it clean.

Keep a stash of Clorox wipes under your desk and wipe everything down weekly, with special attention to your keyboard and phone. Sicknesses seem to thrive in close office quarters, and keeping your space sparkling can help you avoid that thing going around. For more healthy living inspiration, check out these health & fitness coupons.