7 Healthy Habits Accountants Can Learn from Cats


It's not uncommon for accounting pros to remain glued to their chairs day after day. That's quite understandable considering much of their work is performed independently at a computer – compiling, analyzing and reporting on large volumes of numeric data. However, accountants who maintain a long-term sedentary lifestyle put themselves at risk for some pretty serious health issues.

Cats, in comparison, are also independent creatures by nature. And while they may have a reputation for lazing around, they're regarded for their long lives and ability to care for themselves over long stretches of time. How do these sometimes-sedentary animals balance out their lazy afternoons? They obey instinctual habits that lead to health and happiness.

Cats are clearly on to something. In fact, accountants and financial analysts who choose to adopt workplace habits as demonstrated by cats stand to preserve their razor-sharp mental skills and their ability to leap from the floor to the dining room table. Here's how:

  1. Get plenty of sleep. You don't need 16 hours of sleep per day as enjoyed by cats, but getting ample sleep is necessary for maintaining proper health and a sharp mind. In fact, studies show that individuals who average fewer than six hours of sleep face serious health hazards, such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. In preparation for your workday make sure you skip the late night prowling and curl up for at least seven to eight hours each night.
  2. Stretch your body and scamper. As a bookkeeper or accounting clerk, you may seldom have excuses to get out of your office chair throughout the day. But the many hours spent sitting puts you at risk for obesity and other life-threatening conditions. Many accounting professions are rather sedentary in nature, so you must create reasons to loosen your body and move around. Run up and down the stairs. Swat paper wads across the floor. Chase your tail. Do anything that will get your blood pumping.
  3. Drink lots of water. A cat responds to its body's need for water and drinks from almost anywhere water is available to maintain proper hydration. You, on the other hand, have the luxury of choosing the origin of your daily 8-cup intake of water. Keep a water bottle, a drinking glass, or a plastic bowl with built-in water filtration at your desk each day, and keep refilling it – your many trips to the litter box (err, the restroom) will get you out of your chair!
  4. Look out the window. Cats love to perch on a window ledge and peer at the world outside because they maintain a curious fascination with their environment, and they're never disappointed with the show. If feasible, choose a desk for yourself near a window, and if that's not an option pay visits to an office window each day to remind yourself of the little moments that take place outside of your own mind.
  5. Socialize with other CATs (Certified Accounting Technicians). Sure, cats love their independence, but watch out for the non-socialized feline who shreds up a room when an uninvited kitty pays a visit. Nobody is overly concerned that you're a scratcher, but if you spend too much time with your nose down crunching numbers, you may lose touch with your team. Initiate chats in the break room or the parking lot – the interactions will bring balance to your workday.
  6. Find quiet places to hide. While socialization is important, cats know solitude is bliss when it comes time for a catnap. Likewise, talkative coworkers or other distractions can understandably slow down your productivity or make you cranky. If you're up against a tight deadline or struggling to balance the books, relocate your workspace to a secret hideout for a few hours. Just be careful not to lock yourself in the utility closet.
  7. Purr when you're happy. Scientists theorize that cats purr to signal others that they're harmless or to trigger a chemical in the brain that eases pain. Either way, purring serves as a peaceful gesture. When co-workers pass by your desk or stop to chat, be sure to express your gratitude for their visit with eye contact and a kind demeanor. And while on the way to your hideout or to refill your water bowl, share friendly sentiments to your teammates. The positive energy is good for you and everyone else.

Maintaining a healthy balance between your work and your well-being will ultimately improve your job performance and help you remain a productive member of your accounting team. So whether you're an accounting professional or anyone who sits all day long, it's not too late to incorporate healthy habits into your workday. You may not have nine lives, but you do now have seven tips to inspire you to get the most out of the one life you do have.

By the way, for those of you who do choose to mimic a cat's way of life, you may want to avoid adopting these common feline tendencies by mistake:

  • Bathing yourself in public
  • Napping on a co-worker's lap
  • Bringing catnip to the office

For any readers employed in a mostly sedentary job, what methods have worked well for keeping you active during the workday? What are your most effective stress relievers? Please share your comments!

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