"I don’t want to spend 8 hours a day sitting at a desk." "I could never find happiness with a 9-5 office job." Sound familiar? Most of us have similar thoughts at some point in our lives. As a response, we are told that it's just all a part of life and we are finally discovering what it’s like to be an adult. I had this realization while searching for a business career during my last semester in college. After several interviews, it became clear that my career would require me to spend most of my hours sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen, inevitably turning me into a hunch-back grouch whose small talk mostly consists of "is it Friday yet?"

It wasn’t until I accepted a position with gap intelligence that my dreadful perspective towards the typical desk job completely turned around. gap continues to prove that they are passionate about their employees and care about their physical and mental health by providing the tools and support necessary to maintain optimal wellness. The following are some of the lessons and tools gap has taught me to improve overall health while working a 40 hour/wk desk job.

Eat, Drink, Play

Some of the biggest challenges I faced during my first 6 months at gap were drinking enough water, not skipping lunch and maintaining an active lifestyle. My first day at gap intelligence, I was given a reusable insulated water bottle with a Herbie the Hedgehog sticker on it. Needless to say, my water drinking problem was pretty much solved. It may sound too easy but many of us can go hours without drinking a glass of water and it’s extremely wasteful to use plastic water bottles, thus keeping a full, thermal water bottle nearby increased my water intake tenfold!

Another struggle of mine is skipping or putting-off lunch. We all have those crazy days where we can’t seem to find enough time in the day to get work done ultimately resulting in eating quickly at our desk or skipping lunch altogether! If we don’t give our body the proper fuel it needs, then the work we are so eager to get done is more likely to take longer to complete or be riddled with mistakes. It’s no secret that meal prepping is best practice, especially for maintaining a healthy weight and saving some money. Thus, my advice is to set aside some time during the weekend to prep (healthy) meals for the week. I also find it helpful to reward myself by going out to lunch once a week in order to prevent from getting burnt out.

Squeezing in some physical activity in-between an 8 hour work day is not as simple as buying a fancy water bottle or packing a lunch. Luckily, we are extremely fortunate that gap intelligence offers employees a vast amount of options to encourage staying active throughout the work week. Some of these perks include free group training workouts at Point Loma Sports Club, free pilates classes at Club Pilates Liberty Station and free YogaSix class, all of which offer gap employees discounted club memberships. We also get the amazing opportunity to compete in Vavi sports leagues a couple times a year (Go Fighting Hedgehogs)!  It’s vital we take advantage of all the perks employers have to offer and if they do not offer anything, then don’t be afraid to make suggestions of how/what they can do to improve the wellness of its employees.

PLSC Group Workout

FIND YOUR BUDDY!

Another way I’ve found to maintain an active lifestyle at work is to find a buddy! Aside from the obvious fact that making friends with our coworkers can create a more enjoyable environment, friends can also motivate each other to take better care of our health, even something as simple taking walks together. It’s well known that sitting for a prolonged time is not good for our health. Some researchers have said that sitting can be even more dangerous than smoking. Not only does gap offer its employees the flexibility to take walk breaks at will but we have awesome, energetic coworkers who constantly motivate each other to take a break, stretch our legs and get fresh air throughout the day.

Another effective tool to encourage physical activity during the workweek is activity tracking devices such as Fitbit which track steps, workouts, water intake and more. We are fortunate enough that gap intelligence provides us each with Fitbit activity trackers which we organize friendly (-ish) competitions and offer rewards that tie into wellness such as hydro flasks and wobble discs. Finally, coworkers can motivate us to better our health by simply eating lunch together. As I mentioned earlier, we should avoid eating lunch at our desks because aside from the lack of actual break-time we are getting, studies have shown that we tend to consume more throughout the day when doing this. It’s helpful to find a place outside of the office for lunch with different scenery and natural lighting or if you’re lucky enough to work at a wonderful place like Liberty Station…PICNICS!

Liberty Station Picnic

The most important lesson to take from this blog is to make your health and happiness your number one priority, especially at work. Those 8-hour days will seem much longer if they are spent entirely at your desk so take a lesson from gap intelligence and start making something special out of your work-week. For those newbies out there, I hope this blog was a helpful overview of the many ways gap intelligence encourages wellness at the office and has you feeling more optimistic about the next chapter of your career.