When we think of the various causes of disease and poor health, we often consider factors like bad diet, lack of sleep, or family history. When we hear the term “self-care”, it’s usually about relaxation methods, mental health care, or pursuing hobbies. For working Americans, there is a key component that is drastically affecting our health, sometimes causing detrimental damage, and frequently being overlooked: the way we care for ourselves at work! Are bad office habits putting you at risk for major health issues? How can you take care of YOU at the office?
Here are 3 effective ways to take care of your health at work and avoid serious long-term damage.
1. Stand Up for Your Health
No, literally: STAND UP! Studies prove that sitting down all day makes us more likely to develop deadly diseases and conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. If you spend 6 hours or more sitting in an office chair, try spending periods of time standing up at work instead. Standing up at the desk for periods of time throughout the workday has been proven to improve energy levels and mood, reduce back pain, lower blood sugar, and burn calories. Recently, adjustable & standing desks have become a popular addition to the workplace. Many employers have incorporated standing desks in the office to benefit the health of their employees. If you’re in need of workplace self-care, spending more time on your feet might be a healthy place to start.
2. Get Physical
Incorporating physical activity into each workday is an essential tool for workplace self-care. Avoid the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle and treat your body to healthy daily movement while at work. By taking time throughout the day to stretch your muscles or try office yoga poses, you can improve your mood, focus, and physical health. Try taking invigorating walks during break times. Step outside for a mood-enhancing stroll or take a brisk power walk around the office to boost your energy and burn extra calories. Look into an office treadmill workstation for the ultimate walk-while-you-work experience; many employers are even offering them to promote physical health in the workplace. Whether you do it inside, outside or at a desk, incorporate physical activity into each workday to boost your health and wellbeing
3. Straighten Yourself Up
Incorrect posture is a common culprit for issues like daily back pain, neck pain, fatigue, and bad circulation. Slouching in an office chair for extended periods of time greatly increases the risk for chronic pain, arthritis, mood problems, and even respiratory difficulties. If you are experiencing discomfort because of incorrect posture at work, it is imperative to correct the problem immediately to avoid developing severe health issues. To easily and quickly fix your posture at work, try adjusting your computer monitors upward so that you’re never looking downward to see your work. Also, try placing a pillow or back-support device in your office chair, or getting an ergonomic office chair that will conform to your custom posture support needs. Take the health benefits of good posture a step further by incorporating ergonomic furniture throughout your office. Ergonomic furniture is specifically designed for efficiency and comfort in the working environment. Studies show that switching to an ergonomic workplace yields a reduction in waste, errors, work-related injuries, turnover, and absenteeism. If incorrect posture is affecting you, consider these correction methods and make the adjustments that work for you.