Tagged "workplace health"

How to be More Passionate About Your Work

Posted by Julia McVeigh on

When it comes to our professional lives, we’ve been told to “lean in,” aim for the four-hour workweek, focus on “deep work,” and not give a f*ck. We’re encouraged by our employers to achieve on the highest level… but to absolutely prioritize work-life balance first. And we’re tasked with providing for our loved ones (and ourselves!) financially and emotionally. 

We here at Busy Happy Healthy know just how hard living well and working hard can be: We’re a team that sometimes needs to works long hours – including weekends and nights. But we’re also a group that deeply prioritizes health, happiness, and personal fulfillment. Which is why it is so important to try and be passionate about our work – ahead, we have our top three recommendations how to do just that.

Find what you like doing best and push to do more of it

Are you secretly a killer public speaker? Do you have a gift for writing? Are you a numbers whiz? Seek out areas in your job that reinforce your skill sets and try to make them more central to your role. I’ll use myself as an example: I started my career in media, where a lot of my job consisted in crunching numbers and whizzing through spreadsheets. I’m not an incredibly analytical person and I don’t love excel. Rough. 

I soon found, however, that there were other parts of my job that I really liked – such as writing media briefs, drafting client emails (seriously, I liked doing that), and contributing to creative brainstorms. I started asking my boss if I could sit in on more brainstorms, with my role being to send a recap email to all involved about what we discussed. My fellow colleagues loved how thoughtfully I summarized and (sometimes) contributed to the chats. Soon enough, creative and writing projects started pouring my way and that became my “thing.” 

Set goals and celebrate them

Many of us neglect to cheer for ourselves when we accomplish milestones, largely because we don’t even realize that they are milestones! Remedy that by establishing  – and then celebrating – goals. These don’t need to be the big and/or usual professional goals (get promoted, get a bonus, et cetera), but rather smaller, more intimate goals. For example, at the start of my career I used to really struggle with presenting to clients -- I’d become a nervous wreck. About two years in I was on a phone call and suddenly realized: I wasn’t nervous! I’m sure no one noticed but me, but that was an epic accomplishment. I didn’t celebrate it then but I sure as hell am going to celebrate it now: Go me!  

Look to the positives -- or look elsewhere 

Generally speaking, we get down easily. In fact, Psychology Today reports that up to 70% of our “mental chatter” is negative. Given that we, on average, spend 8-9 hours at work – which is more than the amount of time we spend asleep! – plenty of those thoughts are focused on our jobs. 

This is why it’s crucial to bring a persistently positive attitude to our careers. For example, instead of focusing on what you don’t like about your job (quarterly earnings reporting), stay focused on what you do enjoy (your colleagues). If you find it hard to be upbeat about your work at all, then try focusing on the positive things your job does for you -- even if it's as basic as the fact that it provides you and your family with a source of income. (Many of us our blessed to have things like regular paychecks or health insurance, but we often forget about those things in the midst of dreary office to-dos.) And, hey, if there's absolutely nothing positive in your job -- actual work or how it benefits you -- then you heard it here first: Maybe it's time to start passionately pursuing something new. We're rooting for you!

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Put Down That Donut: Our Favorite Healthy Office Snacks

Posted by Julia McVeigh on

In my first job out of college, I worked at an advertising agency in the media department. Now, media is one of those businesses where you’re constantly being wined and dined, schmoozed, and generally solicited; after all, you are buying expensive ad space from commission-hungry sales representatives. As such, there were constantly (and I do mean constantly) goodies being sent our way in order to curry favor. I’m talking about designer cupcakes, fresh cookies, obscure bacon-flavored everything, and plenty of seasonal popcorn. As you can imagine, our department snacked a lot. Me included! 

That novelty eventually wore off when I realized that my daily afternoon cookie-cupcake combo didn’t just leave me bloated, it left me feeling depleted of energy and, puzzlingly, hungry. Even if you don’t work in a business where goodies galore are always available, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about: That afternoon witching hour comes, you “treat yourself” to a donut / sugary latte / Pop-Tarts from the vending machine (after all, you’ve worked so hard today) and you feel awful thirty minutes later. An hour later, you’re starving and exhausted. WHY!?

That, my friends, is not because you’re snacking – it’s because you’re noshing on the wrong things. Sugar and refined carbohydrates cause your blood sugar to spike rapidly, resulting in a “crash” afterward. Hence: You’re hungry, irritable, tired, and craving more sugar… again.

Fear not, brave office snackers. Ahead, we’re sharing some of our favorite office-friendly snack – read on!


I’m sure you’re all like, is this for real? WATER!? It is, people. Because the first thing many of us don’t realize when we go a-snackin’ is that we’re not hungry, we’re just thirsty. So now our go-to snacking technique is to down a glass of lemon-infused H20. Lemon is detoxifying, plus gives the drink a little pizazz which makes it feel more like a treat and less like… water. Drink an 8 ounce glass, wait 10-15 minutes, and if you’re still feeling hungry, it’s snack time. 


Rich in healthy omega-3 fats, avocados are a great work-friendly snack for several reasons. For one, they leave you feeling fuller and more satiated for longer, which is great news if you’re a serial snacker. In fact, one study showed that eating them could even help curb hunger. They’re also a bonafide brain-friendly food, loaded in Vitamins K, B, and C, as well as folate – which can help improve cognitive function and concentration. Furthermore, healthy fats like avocado have even been found to help boost mood. For anyone who has suffered through the 4pm doldrums, this is great news. We like to sprinkle ours with a nice salt, such as Pink Himalayan or Maldon because we’re fancy (AF: Can we remove this.  We are casual but this is a smudge too basic for us.)


Blubs  are infinitely snack-able fruit with a low glycemic index, meaning they won’t trigger the dreaded sugar spike-and-crash. Add in the fact that they’re full of protective antioxidants and soluble fiber, and you’ve got yourself the perfect satisfying office bite. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, trying pairing your blueberries with roughly 1 teaspoon of almond butter on top (eat with a spoon) or a scoop of full-fat and/or coconut plain yogurt.  


This one goes out to all of you crunchy-savory cravers who love a good-old fashioned bag of vending machine pretzels. Chickpeas are an awesome alternative, thanks to the fact that they’re fiber rich and filled with protein. But because there is nothing more depressing than eating one of these guys straight from the can, we recommend roasting them with your favorite spices; we love rosemary and lemon or chili, cumin, and turmeric to provide some antioxidant activity. They’ll come out nice and crispy and zesty…and will totally make you forget your old friends Rold Gold and Synder’s…  


Our ongoing obsession is with homemade protein balls, aka little bites of goodness that keep you full and are fun to eat, too. These Cashew-Coconut-Vanilla Balls are a great choice; they’re loaded in good fats, high in protein (duh), and have just enough sweetness to satiate your inner cupcake fiend. Because after all, you deserve a little treat. 

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How to Protect Yourself From That Office Cold

Posted by Julia McVeigh on

Is there anything more disheartening than learning that a nasty cold is slowly and ominously circulating its way through your office? Ugh. Just thinking about it makes us shudder a little. This year, don’t brace yourself for the worst – be prepared to be your best. Ahead, we’re sharing some smart tactics for avoiding the dreaded office cold. Read on!


Eliminate Bad Bacteria…

It’s something you learned in kindergarten: Germs spread. And they’ll accumulate and flourish if you don’t take the measures to eliminate them, particularly in the midst of an office-wide sickness outbreak. While good personal hygiene goes a long way here (we don’t need to tell you to wash your hands after the bathroom), you’ll need to be more vigilant about your personal surroundings, too. So use this as an opportunity to clean your desk thoroughly.


Begin with your computer: Keyboards and mice are notoriously dirty, with one study finding that they contain more harmful bacteria than a toilet seat. Woof. Next, wipe down all surfaces, ideally using a non-toxic cleaner (we love Seventh Generation) and/or a diluted antibacterial essential oil like tea tree, oregano, or eucalyptus. Toss any old trash, clean out old food (you’d be shocked what you find in a desk drawer), and generally try and keep as spick-and-span as possible during this time.


…But Embrace Good Bacteria

Modern research like this continues to point to the very important role our gut bacteria – also known as our microbiome – plays in supporting a healthy immune system. To summarize a complex concept simply, a flourishing microbiome can help regulate proper immune function; oppositely, a disruption in healthy gut bacteria is now linked to autoimmune issues. It’s critical, then, that we eat to support our “good” bacteria, particularly during times of vulnerability. Fermented, probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso are all good bacteria-supporting choices. Bad choices? Refined sugars, processed or fried foods, red meat, and gluten. Why not swap your afternoon coffee for a kombucha?


Watch Your Stress Levels

This is always good advice, as the medical community at large acknowledges that prolonged stress can ravage the immune system and suppress its response to bacteria and viruses. So managing stress well is particularly prescient during ye olden office plague outbreak. This means taking plenty of mental breaks, engaging in mindfulness activities (from breathing to stretching to walking), and making time outside of work for self-care. We love evening baths, yoga, and reading: All great activities when it’s chilly outside.


Exercise More

It seems like counterintuitive sickness-prevention advice (after all, shouldn’t you be cozied up in bed?), but working out is an excellent way to ward off a cold. Indeed, one study found that women who engaged in 45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days per week were three times less likely to develop a respiratory infection than their non-exercising counterparts. So, unless you’re feeling sick yourself, don’t use the threat of the sniffles as reason to excuse yourself from getting your sweat on.


Sip While You Work

Feel something coming on? The old adage of “lots of liquids” is still sound advice here. Not only do they help break up mucus (sorry) and keep you hydrated, selecting the right fluids can boost your immunity, too. Both research and your grandma make an argument that bone broth (aka old-fashioned chicken noodle soup) as an amazing immune system supporter. We’re also huge fans of lemon, manuka honey, and hot water: Lemon is detoxing while manuka honey has antibacterial properties. Drink up!


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