Ah, desk jobs. To those who work in more active fields, a job in a cushy office may sound like the easiest lifestyle imaginable. However, those of us who have worked at desk jobs in front of computers know otherwise.
Unfortunately, sitting all day can be incredible taxing on your body, and looking at a screen all day isn’t great for your health either. While some offices may offer standing desks, they aren’t an option for everyone — and they still don’t eliminate the problem of staring at screens all day. If you work at a computer, here are five wellness tips to help you maintain your health (and your sanity).
Set an Alarm
A lot of times, it’s easy to become so absorbed in work that we suddenly realize an entire morning has flown by — and our eyes have barely left the screen. Set an alarm for yourself every hour, on the hour. When that alarm goes off, take five minutes to stretch, walk to the bathroom, look around the office and stop by a coworker’s desk for a quick hello. Not only will you get the benefits of some physical movement, you’ll be taking your eyes off the screen and re-immersing yourself in what’s going on around you.
Take an After-Lunch Walk
Whether you work in a downtown office or a hospital, you have options for taking an after-lunch walk. If you’re not in a very walkable area, a quick stroll around your workplace or the lobby will still do the trick. Bottom line: It’s important to get a little exercise after eating lunch. Doing so will also help you avoid that after-lunch energy slump.
Wear Blue Light-Blocking Glasses
The blue light emitted from screens is known to contribute to sleeplessness. For many office workers, it can be difficult to wind down after working in front of a computer all day. Invest in a good pair of blue light-blocking glasses to protect your eyes and your brain as you work.
Talk to Your Coworkers
Workplace messaging services like Slack or Google Hangouts can be helpful at times, but there’s no doubt that workplaces have come to over-rely on them. If you work in a digital environment, socializing with your coworkers — in person — is beneficial not only for its tendency to get you out of your seat and away from your screen, but also for eliminating workplace communication errors. Whenever possible, when you have a question for a colleague, get up and walk over!
Limit Screen Time at Home
No one should simply spend their evening in front of a television, but this is doubly important for office workers. Can you imaging the mental health ramifications of spending eight or more hours in front of a screen at work, only to come home and binge for three hours on Netflix? At the beginning of each week, schedule after-work activities for each day. Some ideas include: Attending a fitness class, taking a self-care night in which you read a book and take a bath, going out to dinner with your significant other, getting drinks with friends or taking a book to a nearby coffee house for a reading session.
Detach from News and Social Media
Another unfortunate side effect of working on a computer is that you’re often exposed to internet content all. day. long. And this can get extremely taxing for your mental health. As part of disengaging from the computer after work hours, make it a point to put your phone away and avoid social media and digital news after 5 p.m. If you like to keep up with current events, get a newspaper subscription and browse the headlines in the morning before work. Even if you get a digital subscription, you’ll be scheduling an intentional time to look at the news, rather than exposing yourself to it after-hours.