5 Ways To Maintain Health At The Office
You've heard it before, maybe even a few times here on our website; the office environment can be hazardous to your health! Just because you have your work responsibilities, doesn't mean you can't also focus on staying healthy and happy.
The Midwest is currently being bombarded with its first snowstorm of the season, so now is a better time than any to make plans to stay healthy, and even active, at the office. For the purposes of this article, however, it's time to look beyond cold prevention or remedies -- and start thinking about making sure the eight hours you spend at the office aren't slowly breaking you down. It's often the smaller details -- ones folks aren't as aware of -- that can contribute to winter health issues. Drinking tea, keeping a clean workspace, and other important details go a long way, but if you're not utilizing the following techniques, chances are
Take Mini Mental-Breaks Throughout The Day
Stress contributes to getting sick (and storing fat!) more than you might have known -- and one of the main reasons is because people find themselves too busy during the winter months. This is partially on account of the holidays, but also thanks to work deadlines towards the end of the year.
The most important, easy trick you can do to help prevent such a buildup of stress is to simply unplug for a bit. It doesn't have to be much, maybe 5-10 minutes -- but taking that mental break will allow you to recharge your productivity reserves. This will allow you to perhaps think more creatively about a solution, but more so to allow your brain to let off the mental gas pedal for a moment. That wear and tear will get you in the long run, so take care of yourself.
Get Some Exercise, Even Just A Little
It's the easiest, most convenient addition you can apply to your day at the office. Set hourly reminders, make a to-do list, just do something to make sure you are getting up out of your seat throughout the day. Some helpful ways to move around in the office would include:
- Walking Meetings
- Push Ups Every Hour
- Squats Every Hour
- Lunge Walk Around The Office
- Taking The Steps Instead of Elevators/Escalators
- And, of course, actually getting in a full workout (if your office has accommodations)
- Before/During/Right After Work
Avoid Sitting Altogether
The scariest trend of the last few generations is this: we as a society are working out far more, but have increased, nation-wide, significantly in obesity. Sitting is one of the major reasons, because people don't just do it for the 8-9 hours per day at the office, but extend those hours into the evening. Now, TV watching, reading, or lounging continues the daily trend of not using your legs for anything.
The standing desk has been getting a lot of attention lately, and it'll continue to be hammered home until more people start to take action. There are so many helpful factors that apply to standing desks that it's nearly absurd that we aren't seeing an overwhelming majority in our nation's offices. If you have a few moments, take a look at this graphic, explaining all the inherent health risks of sitting all day at the office:
If Sitting, Take Charge Of Your Posture
If you happened to check out the provided link to the graphic, you'd notice just how awful sitting at a desk is for your posture. In the event that a standing desk is out of the question, it's important to make sure to avoid the hunches. First off, try to keep your back straight as often as possible. Slouching leads to neck aches, which leads to headaches, which leads to you getting sick -- and not enjoying winter whatsoever (and certainly not work).
Where this starts is with folks craning their necks forward, as if to get closer involved in the screen ahead of them. One thing you should realize is that your head weighs a bit, and it's a stressful position to have your cervical spine carrying a load in that way. Think about holding a heavy object in your hand; you'll be able to do it much longer while keeping it close to your body. If you tried to keep your arm extended out in front of you with that load, you'd get tired quite quickly. The same goes for your neck holding your head up. So keep that chin back, your back straight, and keep in mind one last helpful tip...
Dial In Your Line Of Sight
This is the beginning point for all the structural issues of your spine during the work day. Where you keep your eyes is a domino effect on how poor your posture will begin to take shape. To get this right, the top of your screen should be level with your eyes. This way, your gaze will only be about 10% down towards the main parts of the screen. Any lower than that, and you begin running the risk of slouching forward.
Going the opposite way, if your screen is higher than the straight ahead gaze of your eyes, those eyeballs will begin to dry out very quickly. In terms of making sure that never happens, even if your screen is perfectly situated, follow the 20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object that's at least 20 feet away.
By following these few tips, you'll become better at safeguarding against some of the lesser known reasons that folks suffer from headaches, stress, and weight gain during the winter months. It's important that we all fight against the tendency to hibernate, and become inactive during this cold stretch. Take care of yourself, and hopefully you'll come out on the other side a happier and healthier individual.