Dealing with Heart Disease at Work
You don’t get sick days for heart disease. It’s a chronic condition, which means it’s something you live with day in and day out. In order to stay on a path toward a healthier heart, you may need to make certain changes at work. Keep these key tips in mind when dealing with heart disease while on the clock.
If you spend lots of time sitting at a desk, make an effort to stand up and move around during the day. Increasing your physical activity is critical for boosting your heart health and losing weight. Here are some ways you can sneak more movement into your workday:
Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you work on a very high floor, take the elevator but get off a few floors below the one where you work and walk the rest of the way.
When possible, walk over to a coworker’s desk instead of calling or emailing.
Spend your lunch break exercising. Write it into your schedule like you would any other appointment.
Get a stand-up desk that allows you to work while on your feet.
Pack a Healthy Lunch
Eating a nutritious diet is key for managing heart disease. Instead of grabbing food on the go, which is often loaded with fat, sodium, and calories, try packing a lunch at home and bringing it to work. Some ideas include:
A big salad loaded with vegetables, beans, and tuna
A sandwich on whole-grain bread with chicken, hummus, shredded carrots, and spinach
Broth-based soup with lentils and veggies
Very high stress levels can trigger a heart attack. Seek out ways to better cope with the stress you may feel at work. For example, you could:
Take short breaks throughout the day to do a non-work activity that helps you recharge.
Try relaxation activities such as meditation or deep breathing exercises.
Talk with your supervisor about your workload if it feels like too much.
Let friends and family members know what they can do to make your life a little easier. If someone offers to run an errand for you or bring you a meal, accept their support.
Take Your Medicine
If you need to take medicine during the workday, remember to bring it with you to work. Set an alarm to remind you when to take it so you don’t forget during a busy day.
Smoking raises your risk for a heart attack. If you smoke, it’s crucial that you quit. Quitting is hard enough, but if you work in an environment where smoke breaks are common the temptation may seem unavoidable. Arrive at work prepared with a plan to help you power through your cravings. You could ask a coworker to go on a short walk with you, or make a phone call to distract your mind when you feel the urge to smoke. The good news is that cravings only last three to five minutes before they subside.