Having an office job is the safest job in the world, right? I mean, what could go wrong?
Well, a lot actually.
Sure, your day job might not literally kill you, but it may be having a negative impact on your health and well being. The sedentary lifestyle we’ve come to know as normal is actually bad for your health, and can be compounded by unhealthy working habits repeated day after day.
Let’s take a look at some improvements you can make to your day job habits.
Pay Posture Attention
Sitting for hours on end hunched over a computer screen weakens your core and negatively affects your posture. Eventually that hunch becomes a little more permanent, your shoulders roll forward, and your neck sticks out like a turtle. These postural changes are common and can cause backache, neck stiffness and headaches. Symptoms people suffer from every single day!
Here are some easy ways to help your posture along:
- Sit up against the back of your chair and keep your feet flat on the ground. This takes pressure off your spine by keeping it in a more neutral position.
- Invest in a good chair with a comfortable lumbar support.
- Sit on an exercise to ball keep your core engaged and encourage a healthy posture.
- Take regular breaks to practice the Brugger Relief Position to help provide postural relief throughout your work day.
Brugger Relief Position:
- Stand tall or sit at the edge of your seat with your head held high
- Spread your legs slightly apart to the sides
- Turn your feet outward slightly
- Draw your belly in slightly toward your spine
- Tilt your pelvis forward and raise your breastbone up
- Turn your hands palms-up and your arms slightly outward
- Hold this position and take 10 slow, deep belly breaths
Eat Your Lunch
It’s easy to get so carried away with work that you lose track of time and totally forget to tend to your tummy. Skipping lunch is actually counter-intuitive though, as it negatively affects your ability focus on the task at hand. Missing your midday meal also has some not-so-great effects on your metabolism, and may be contributing to that pesky weight control problem you can’t seem to crack .
Plan ahead and pack a healthy lunch to take to work. Then, most importantly, remember to eat it! This will re-energise your body and raise you blood sugar levels when your concentration is waning. Try to take along some small snacks to nibble on too throughout the day. Nuts, dried fruit and yogurt are some good examples of healthy snacks that help keep your metabolism ticking between meals.
Lack of activity during the day causes a layer of fat to develop around the heart. This causes an increase in the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. To add insult to injury, you burn 30% fewer calories when you’re sitting as opposed to standing. This seems like a waste, right?
Make your work day work for you! Try to stay more active during the day by getting creative with colleagues. Have walk-and-talk meetings, do some stretching during lunch breaks, switch to sit-to-stand desks, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you really want to go crazy, try cycling or walking to and from work if the distance is realistic.
Find your Zen
Work is mentally draining! There’s no arguing with that. Poor stress control can leave you overwhelmed and exhausted, and can have some serious effects on your mental and physical health. Stress can cause elevated blood pressure, heart palpitations and panic attacks…just to name a few!
Try practicing deep breathing techniques throughout the day to better manage your stress levels at work. A quick 5 minute meditation routine after a long day can help you re-centre when you get home, and switching TV time for reading time can be more soothing for your tired brain. Regular exercise throughout the week is another excellent way to manage stress levels, especially when done outdoors.
Is It Killing You?
Okay, so your desk job might not LITERALLY be killing you, but it can definitely do some damage to your health and wellbeing. What needs to be done? A lot more moving! Use every opportunity you have during the day to get moving, and your body will thank you for it!
Move Well. Live Well.