Working long hours in front of the computer can do a number on your physical and mental health.
We humans are meant to be in transition; it’s in our genetics. Living a sedentary lifestyle means that we do a whole lot of sitting with very little exercise. Couple in the fact that we finish out our day generally plopped in front of the T.V. and you can quickly see how you can develop health problems in the long-run.
The following will share a few different ways to (at least) break up your day so you’re not always in the chair. Following these items will increase your physical prowess and mental stability even when that “cabin fever” starts to set in while at the office.
Your physical health matters.
Why go through all the trouble of building a successful business if you can’t enjoy any fruits of your labor later on in life? You don’t want to be confined to a chair or bed, don’t you?
You have to stay healthy when you’re working long hours in the office. You’ll do yourself a major favor in terms of health both short-term and long-term (which also means less medical bills that may arise after years of physical neglect).
Get Up and Move
Your office chair may be comfy but it’ll do you in after many long hours and years at the office.
One way you may combat this is through joining a gym or doing an exercise program after work but why not just cut to the chase and do some exercise while you’re working?
The Washington Post has created a great, printable PDF with multiple office exercises you can do right at your desk. These can be done in just a few short minutes during downtime or even when you’re multitasking such as answering the phones.
Convert Your Office to Incorporate Exercise
Your office probably looks like most others: chair, desk, computer, printer, sticky notes, and the like.
What if you were to turn your office into a home gym, at the same time?
There are many different items to choose from if you’d like to stay fit while working.
Take a gander over at Amazon or Google Shopping and you’ll find a nice variety of equipment, including:
- Medical ball chairs to promote strong back and stomach muscles
- Standing desks which is a very natural position for humans
- Under-the-desk cycling units
- Small weights
A small investment of $100 (or less) can keep you healthy throughout the day while you’re doing work.
Your mom has at least told you, at some point, to “sit up straight!”
Yes, sitting straight is definitely better than slouching but a BBC report makes not that the best position to be in is at a 135 degree angle – essentially, you’re leaning back into your seat, like so:
The report states that the 135 degree angle reduces the stress placed on the lower back.
This position may not always feel comfortable but we’d recommend you try to use it whenever you’re in a working “mode” which allows you to relax such as data entry, answering emails, or talking on the phone.
If you do sit up than keep it at least straight so you’re not hunching forward; this will stimulate your back muscles which will lend aid to keeping better posture.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
Working those long hours, burning the midnight oil, at the office can change your mentality. In some ways you begin to build a sort of “cabin fever” where you become restless and lack focus.
Having a stable, healthy mind will keep you focused on what needs to be done – and put a smile on your face.
Get some Sun
Take no mind to the negative side of being in the sun (sweating, getting burned, or skin cancer) because it’s not like you’re laying out there just to feel uncomfortable. No, instead what you should do is simply position yourself to get a great deal of sunlight throughout your day.
According to a study posted on USNews.com, getting in sunlight will:
- Help you with sleep because it regulates melatonin
- Increases your outlook which, in turn, leads to happiness
- Promotes a healthy immune system
- Lessens the effects of Alzheimer’s
Now the last may not be something affecting you, for now, but the other easily explains the benefits.
Consider doubling your benefits by going outside for a walk during your lunch break – you’ll get some good sun and exercise!
Add in some Plants
Plants can spice up the room, give it a natural, organic feel, and provide oxygen – what’s not to lose?
The office can often feel “cold” because it’s mostly technology in which you’re interacting. Plants can add variety and color which will lighten your mood. The best part is that many office plants are relatively easy to maintain and can be bought for a very small price at a local store!
Here’s a great article about office plants: Healthier Office Spaces Benefit Everyone.
Play Passive Entertainment
Yes, we did a whole week of productivity and one of the main elements was eliminating distractions but there are times (and types of people) when external stimulation, through entertainment like music, movies, or pictures, can do wonders for your mental health, creativity, and motivation.
- Music can unlock your creativity and give you new ideas when facing a problem
- A movie, playing in the background, can help the time fly by when doing tedious tasks
- Pictures can be used as visual reinforcements for your activities
As long as they don’t get in the way of completing your work you should certainly consider adding them to your office environment.
Your physical and mental health will begin to feel strain if all you’re doing is work, work, work. Take a few of these suggestions and put them into practice if you wish to keep physical healthy and mentally stable when working long hours.
What tips do you have for staying healthy in the office?