9 Tips to stay healthy at a desk job
A sedentary lifestyle is dangerous to our health – medical professionals even go so far as to say that sitting is the new smoking. Evidently, sitting for too long increases the risk of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Evolutionary speaking, working at a desk is a relatively recent development – the human body we inherited from our hunter-gatherer forefathers has evolved to move, and sitting hunched in front of a screen for hours at a time is against our nature. Add to that the stresses of a mentally demanding job and the eyestrain caused by staring at a screen and you have the perfect storm. And yet, there are simple rules you can follow to offset the harms of a desk job. Here are nine actionable tips to make office work healthier and more productive.
1. Correct posture
2. Deep breathing
Office workers often experience a condition called “screen apnea” – the tendency of most people to hold their breath when looking at a screen. We do it subconsciously and the best way to correct this habit is to be mindful of our breaths – just focus on deep belly breathing when answering emails. Over time, you will develop the habit of breathing consciously while doing screen time.
4. Pomodoro technique
5. Work-life balance
9. Digital detox
Last but not least, digital detoxes are an underrated way to recharge and fight work-related stress. The rules are simple – you need to spend at least 24 hours away from all screens and wi-fi. Easier said than done but if you push through with it, you will wake up the next day like you’ve pushed the reset button on life. We do this to replenish our dopamine reserves and let our brains and nervous systems wind down after a long week’s work. If a single day or weekend is not enough, you can try a digital sabbatical and take more than a week away from digital devices. And you get bonus points if you spend those precious offline moments out in nature, walking or doing sports!
I discovered digital detoxes a few years ago after a stressful round of projects for a large corporate client. The week I spent offline running barefoot on the beach every morning literally saved my life and since then I try to at least spend each Sunday with my laptop closed and data turned off on my phone.