The PICPA Brings You Tips to Stay Healthy

The PICPA and Marci Thear, CPT, MPH, owner of Dig In Fitness, have partnered to help you relieve stress this tax season. Marci created a weekly wellness program to support you during tax season and beyond. Check back frequently as content will be added each week.

Enjoy fitness tips, exercises, nutrition hacks and more.

Winter Wellness Stretches

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PICPA's Winter Wellness Program has developed exercises that will boost your productivity and reduce your stress level during busy season.

More Wellness Videos:

Tech Neck Reversers
Low Back Fixes
Headache Remedies
Stress Release

Week 1: Breakfast Sets the Tone for Your Day


Start your day off with a nutrient-dense breakfast. Studies show that eating breakfast within 45 minutes upon waking will rev up your metabolism and get you burning at your optimum. But let's be real...we have a million things to do, so if you can't eat before you get out the door, bring your breakfast to the office. This week's recipes focus on breakfast options, providing seven different, delicious make-ahead and take with you options.  

Download Breakfast Recipes 

Healthy Breakfast Options On the Go

No time to prep? No worries. There are healthy choices eating out as well. Here are some top picks, advantages, disadvantages, and practical fixes.

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Week 2: Lunch Can Be a Healthy Diversion


How many times do you find yourself working through lunch? This week set a goal for yourself to take a short break at lunch, even if it is just to walk the long way around the office to get your lunch out of the break room. Make a point to focus your attention on something other than getting right back to work. 

When you are building your lunch remember to keep it balanced. You need protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates to keep you satisfied well into the afternoon. The ideal lunch will contain fewer than 500 calories and include 20-30 grams of protein, 8 grams or more of fiber, be relatively low in fat (less than 8 grams) and keep added sugars to a minimum (less than 10 grams). This includes beverages. 

 Download Lunch Recipes 

Healthy Lunches On the Go

If you are heading out of the office for lunch a good rule of thumb is to make your selection before you get there! Look over the menu in the morning, when you are not hungry, and you will almost always make a healthier choice.

Here are a few of the healthiest options to choose from and take note that there is not a salad on the list! Salads usually contain more water than nutrients and are just a vehicle to shovel croutons, cheese and creamy dressings into our mouths! Plus they take a long time to eat…all that chewing! And we don’t have time for that. So let’s build a nutritious lunch choice so you can focus on fueling your body for the best performance in the afternoon. 

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Week 3: Office Friendly Snacks to Banish the 3 p.m. Slump


Does the 3 o’clock hour have you hitting the vending machines for a sugary indulgence? Maybe you’re more prone to gobbling crackers and chips unconsciously while trying to finish your day’s work? Not all snacks have to sabotage your wellness efforts; they can be an added source of nourishment. If we build a snack to incorporate nutrients, they will be a satisfying way to fuel you to the next meal. It’s only when we feed a sugar craving with empty calories that we create more and more distractions as we search for our next fix instead of concentrating on our work.

To build a healthy snack, focus on protein and fiber. This combination will satisfy you and not cause a sugar crash. Snacks should be 200-300 calories, 5 grams protein and 3 grams fiber, and look like a mini meal. Think about pairing nuts and a piece of fruit, cheese and a whole wheat cracker, veggies and humus, steamed shrimp and avocado toast, or oatmeal with peanut butter and fruit.

 Download Snack Recipes 

Food for Thought

If protein bars are your go-to snack, be forewarned. Many options out there contain more sugar than a Snickers bar. They are marketed to promise you lean muscle, weight loss, or endless energy, but truth be told, many are empty on nutrition and loaded with carbs and sugar. Check your labels and try to find a bar that is less than 4 grams of fat and 5 grams of sugar. If less than 200 calories, you can pair it with an apple or orange to fuel you through the rest of the day. Here are my top picks for grab-and-go bars that hit the nutritional profile.

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5 Office Friendly Snacks On the Go

Stock your desk drawer or office fridge with these easy snacks that can keep energy meltdowns at bay.


Oranges have high levels of vitamin C, which has been shown to decrease fatigue around two hours after consuming. If you know you’re in for a slow afternoon, get ahead of the game with an orange.

Tip: Pack them pre-peeled to avoid sticky fingers while you’re typing. Pair your orange with a cheese stick and some nuts for a complete snack to keep you energized and fueled all afternoon.

Greek Yogurt

Feeling sluggish and need to make some big decisions this afternoon? Keep a few of these in the office fridge for a quick pick-me-up. Greek yogurt is also packed with protein, so it will keep you going until dinnertime.

Tip: Choose a plain flavor with low sugar, and add fruit and sunflower seeds for a complete snack.

Dark Chocolate

Yes, you can indulge in a (semi)sweet afternoon treat! Aside from the wonderful taste, dark chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which can help raise focus and energy. Many brands offer 75 percent to 80 percent cacao (or even higher), which is what you’re aiming for.  

Tip: Opt for a dark chocolate with less sugar so that you don’t get a sugar crash later. 

Nuts/Nut Butter

Go nuts this afternoon. Many nuts—such as almonds, cashews, and pine nuts—contain magnesium, which has been shown to improve energy levels in those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  
Try a nut butter on a rice cake, apple, banana, or celery. Add a spoonful of peanut butter to a bowl of oatmeal for a power protein snack.

Tip: Stash a container in your designated snack drawer so you don’t end up reaching for something from the vending machine.


Ok, so it’s not a snack, but let me explain. Getting enough water can help you stay alert, and most people aren’t getting enough of it. In studies of both men and women, dehydration causes feelings of fatigue, so drink up! And this is a great chance to move away from your desk and take a much needed break.

Tip: Walk to the water cooler and fill up, add some watermelon, cucumber, or strawberries for a flavor boost.

Head Check

Before you hit the snacks, check with yourself to make sure you are hungry. You not always are. Did you just get out of a difficult meeting and need something to cheer you up? Stop by a friendly colleague’s desk or call a friend. Are you frustrated with a project? Go for a short walk around the office or follow along with the Office Fitness Fixes in the below video clip. Many times by midafternoon we need a mental break more than we need a snack. So check with yourself before you try to eat your way out of a situation.

Week 4: Dinner and Sleep


Planning is the key to success, and meal planning can help you be prepared and successful all week. Meal planning and prep can be fun and relaxing once you get the hang of it; then you are relaxed and well-stocked for dinners, lunches, and snacks for the week!

Dinner Meal Prep Tips 

 Download Dinner Recipes  


Everything looks better in the morning! Sleep is our body’s way of healing and rejuvenating.  Why do we short change ourselves on this free luxury? Here are some tips on developing good sleep hygiene to keep you cozy and refreshed.

Sleep Tips

Week 5: Eating Out

Eating out is often looked at as a convenience and a privilege but it can be an overindulgent expense to your budget and your waistline. Here are some tips and hacks for eating out, including ways to pamper yourself and watch your waistline.

Eating Out Tips

Week 6: Stress Reduction and Mindfulness

We have been focused on the nutritional aspects of our health but we all know that if we are not mentally healthy we will not be able to maintain our health.  In a busy work season stress levels rise and can lead to devastating health conditions regardless of how we eat or exercise so you need to make time for stress reduction to ensure all your efforts are not in vain. 

Stress reduction should be part of your self-care plan regardless of how stressed we think we are.  We all have stressors of varying degrees in our lives.  But the more your pile on the harder it is to handle one more thing.  Ever notice how some people can handle certain stressful situations better than others.  It is due to all the other stressors that are piled on those individuals.  When you are stretched thin one more thing can throw you off the deep end.  We need to have a stress reduction plan in place so when the unexpected hits we can take it in stride instead of having an outburst.  Here are some easy practices to incorporate into your day so you can reduce your stressors and save your fight or flight response for the true emergencies. 

No Fail Stress Reducers


The smell of citrus has been associated with happiness and stress reduction.  If you don’t care for eating citrus fruits why not diffuse a citrus oil in your office while you work.  Or place a citrus soap in the bathroom.  One easy way to work in more citrus is to squeeze some lemon into your water.  The smell will be invigorating and the flavor boost will quench your thirst.  Lemon water also jumpstarts your digestive system so drink some right after lunch to alleviate any bloated feeling.

              “Why do oranges wear suntan lotion? Because they peel. “

Time Out

Schedule a time out for yourself for whatever brings you stress relief.  Often times we     leave our guilty pleasures for the last thing on our list but make these a priority and schedule them.  Is it your gym time, lunch with a friend, a movie, a walk in the afternoon, reading a book?  What is the time when you feel most at peace?  Schedule it….pull out your calendar and schedule some time, even if it is 10 mins, for you to decompress.  Just having a dinner reservation on your calendar for 2 weeks out can be a stress reducer, it is having something to look forward to that allows you to work towards it. 

Meet Marci

After receiving a master’s in public health (MPH), Marci designed an 8-week wellness program, Healthy 56, to empower individuals to change their lives. She then founded Dig In Fitness where Marci offers individual and group fitness programs.

Marci's goal is to motivate and encourage clients to dig deep into their well-being by introducing holistic wellness values and healthier nutritional choices into their program. This includes establishing fitness and healthy diet goals, while maintaining accountability for a consistent and sustainable lifestyle.

Marci is a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor, nutritional consultant and behavioral change specialist with more than 20 years of direct experience.