March 1st, 2012
Here are some excerpts from an article by Alicia Ciccone in today's edition of The Huffington Post. Most of us spend well over half of our waking hours at work, so it's good to be sure that it isn't "killing you"!
"Is your office killing you? Hours of sedentary, stressful work under bad lighting is taking a big toll on your well-being -- and the health risks extend far beyond junk food at the vending machine. ...here are eight tips -- from simple modifications to high-tech gadgets -- to help ward off the Grim Reaper at work.
#1 Stop Hoarding
OK, so desk clutter may not be killing you, but it certainly is killing your work. In fact, a cluttered workspace can significantly hinder your productivity and mental clarity, according to organizing guru Nancy Castelli, founder of BALANCE.
"Clutter is self-inflicted stress," Castelli says. "You waste time looking for something, then waste more time reproducing it because you couldn't find it."
Castelli recommends following a popular organizing acronym:
A- Assign a space
#2 Drop the M
It's easy to let your diet spin out of control, but eating processed, fatty foods directly contributes to the expansion of your waistline, which significantly increases your risk of developing heart disease and Type II diabetes.
By brown-bagging your lunch, you know exactly what's in your food, and you're also limiting your options.
# 3 Don't Stress
While stress may seem an ever-present part of your workday, continued stress without any relief can cause adverse body reactions. According to WebMD, ongoing stress can attribute to headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pains and problems sleeping.
When work has you in a frenzy, it's best to mentally check out for a few minutes and get some peace and quiet. Yoga gurus recommend completing some simple breathing exercises and meditation to stabilize your heart rate and refocus.
# 4 Straighten Out
While sitting at a desk all day seems safe compared to hard labor, millions of Americans are doing long-term damage to their joints, muscles, tendons and spine by not utilizing a proper work station setup or simply sitting up straight.
# 5 Get Some Sleep
While sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body, most of us do everything in our power to avoid it -- working overtime and having too many late night distractions. Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on your immune system, memory, mood, metabolism and general overall well-being.
# 6 Step Away from the Computer
While researchers have yet to conclusively prove that computers cause permanent eye damage, the unnatural, backlit glare of a computer screen almost certainly causes eye strain.
While many can't escape the reality of staring at a computer screen all day, there are several preventative measures that can help reduce eye strain, headaches and neck soreness caused by overexposure.
# 7 Walk this Way
No amount of gym time can make up for the eight-plus hours you spend sitting at your desk only moving your eyes and fingers. Catrine Tudor-Locke, a specialist in walking, said the minimum amount of steps a person should take in a day is 8,000. In reality, the average office worker logs between 3,000 to 5,000.
To counter the effects of sedentary work, specialists recommend standing desks and conducting walking meetings.
# 8 Drink Up
While the common notion of drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is slightly off from the Institute of Medicine's recommendations, (13 cups for men, nine for women), the health benefits of drinking water are widespread. ...even mild dehydration can cause you to feel tired and less energized, according to the Mayo Clinic.
While keeping a water jug at your desk is your best bet for adequate (and affordable) intake, ...Snacking on fruits and veggies like tomatoes and watermelon, which are nearly 90 percent water by weight, are a great and tasty source of fluids to keep your bodily systems functioning.