13 Nov How to stay healthy at your Desk
Find yourself reaching for your cup of coffee when you’re feeling stressed at work?
That decision is all too common for the average desk worker. When I graduated college and began my career as a writer, I found myself almost matching each hour at my desk with another cup of coffee to stay warm, keep me focused on my screen, or get up to chat with coworkers in the office kitchen.
At noon, I’d reward myself with a soft pretzel from the cart outside. When I left at 6 pm, I was too tired to make it to a class at the gym. Eventually, the day-to-day stress and exhaustion added up and every few weeks, I’d take an unplanned day off to get away from the computer screen.
Bad workplace habits can make even a dream job seem monotonous. Time to shake up your daily routine. Good habits incorporated into your work schedule can help combat stress, avoid fatigue, boost your mental and emotional well being, and prevent burnout. If you’re looking to bolster your wellness routine, add these easy fixes into your daily to-do list.
Make Your Workspace Work For You
Most people don’t realize how much time they spend sitting in their workspace slouching at their computer screen. Being at work does not mean sacrifice your posture. According to the Mayo Clinic, adjusting your furniture so it’s ergonomic is an easy way to start feeling better at work. Raise your monitor to eye level about arm’s length away to avoid eye strain, forward head posture, and hunched shoulders, which causes tension in muscles in the upper back, neck, and scalp, which can lead to tension headaches and shoulder and neck soreness.
Home Away From Home
If you’re going to be at your desk for at least eight hours a day, claim your space and personalize it. Add photos of your friends and family, pictures that you like, little things that bring a sense of peace or happiness. That way, during a frustrating sales call, you have something to look at which will help lower your blood pressure and keep you calm. It’s an easy way to give your mind a break from whatever you’ve been focusing on.
We’re all sitting all the time. In fact, sitting is now considered the new smoking habit.
If a standing desk is not an option, set a timer on your phone to get up and move at least once every two hours. Walk to get water, hold a conference call on a walk, or brainstorm for a meeting while you walk around the perimeter. Adding small breaks to move around will loosen tight muscles and prevent common pain felt in the low back and joints from being stationary for too long.
Don’t Forget To Snack
It’s easy to spend hours on end working on projects until they’re done. Prepare for times you’re bogged down with paperwork and have healthy snacks on hand. A water bottle, dried fruit, and nuts are all non-perishable and take up minimal space. That way, when a call runs through your lunch, you’ll have something healthy to keep you energized and focused until you have time to eat a proper meal. Plus, you’ll save money you’ve been spending on those quick trips to the cart outside and those dollars add up quickly.
Take a Mental Health Break
There’s a positive correlation between stress levels and mental health. Taking just a few minutes each day can help keep cortisol levels balanced. Try mindfulness meditation during your morning commute or breathing exercises on your walk to a meeting.
Some companies like PECO, American Heart Association, UBS, and others, bring wellness into the workplace for employees. Busy offices add chair massage throughout the year to help staff take a break from stress. “It’s amazing to me how a 10-minute massage can change the course of my workday. After a chair massage, I feel relaxed, clear-headed, and ready to take on the rest of my day. It increases my productivity and happiness at work,” comments Janet Binswanger of Vynamic.
The next time you find yourself going for that extra cup of coffee, try implementing these strategies into your workplace routine. Your brain, low back, and bank account will thank you.