4 Easy Steps to Ensure a Healthy Work Environment at Your Desk

Guest post by Jason Munroe

As a freelance writer, I have discovered all the perks that come along with it, as well as the pitfalls. Fortunately, the upside far outweighs the downside…as long as I take care of that which can drag me down.

If you sit at a desk all day, whether you are a freelance writer, or a customer representative for a company, you could benefit from the steps I am about to share. They will help you to become more energized, leading to more productive work.

So, read on to learn more about how you can produce a healthier environment for yourself, as well as the increased productivity that will come along with it.

1. Get the Kinks Out

The first thing you can do is to make sure you are doing what you can to reduce the physical strains that are associated with sitting at a desk all day. Dr. Amy Grabowski, a doctor of Chiropractic Medicine, emphasizes the importance of ergonomics as it can help reduce muscle strain in the back, neck, and even the eyes.

A good ergonomic chair with lumbar support is a great investment to make. Although, if you don’t use it properly by sitting back to get the benefit of the lumbar support, it won’t do much for you at all. Also, make sure that you have your feet resting comfortably on the floor, which will also help reduce strain on the lower back.

Roll it right up to the desk, because sitting back too far leads to leaning in. This goes a long way to relieve lower back pain, as well as eye strain. If you are sitting back too far, the eyes will have to work harder at reading the monitor.

Also, use a pad to support your wrist in order to best defeat Carpal Tunnel. Some keyboards have it built right in, which would be convenient. However, if you don’t want to replace your keyboard, you can get a separate pad that will work just fine.

2. Schedule Mini Breaks

I have found that taking a few mini breaks throughout the day really helps to rejuvenate for the next part of my day. However, I don’t just mean to sit at the desk and play a game of solitaire. Get up and move.

Here are some things I have done when taking a mini-break:

* Walk around the block, or just to the corner
* Take a shower
* Stretch for 10 minutes
* Eat a protein snack
* Play a quick game of tag with the kids
* Do a load of laundry

As you can see, it doesn’t have to be a long break, but long enough to get the blood moving in the body again. I typically take 2 a day in addition to eating lunch (away from my desk). I have at times taken 3 or 4, on a day that I can’t seem to get motivated.

3. Take a Vacation

You don’t have to go anywhere, with the exception of away from your desk. Take a week off, when finances permit, to get completely away from your business. We work hard and I believe it’s the only way to prevent a real burn out.

How often you actually take a vacation is completely up to you and your wallet. However, if you can’t afford to get away, or even take time off, at the very least…don’t work on the weekends, if you can help it. Block that time right off and let everyone know you will be back on Monday.

Years ago my father could never take a vacation without his boss calling him at least 2 or 3 times. My mom grew so tired of it that she finally told his boss ‘if you can’t live without him for a week, then you don’t pay him enough.’ They never bothered him on vacation again.

4. Eat, Sleep and Be Merry

Finally, taking care of ourselves away from the desk is also important. Here is a Buddha quote I read the other day that makes sense to me:

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

Eating right and getting enough sleep will increase our energy for work and play. For a while I was snacking on a lot of carbohydrates, such as crackers and toast. It was quick, easy, and relatively low in fat.

However, I soon realized the surge of energy I would get from the snack was short lived and a crash soon followed. I changed the snack habit…not in snacking itself, but in what I snacked on. It is said that it’s best for us to eat more small meals or snacks during the day, rather than 3 large meals.

After switching to more protein in my diet, my energy increased significantly. You can get more protein in snacks such as nuts, cheese, or protein bars and shakes. If you would also like to cut down on fat then will want to limit these as well.

In Closing

I hope I have inspired you to take some of these easy steps to prevent, or reduce the most common complaints that come from sitting at a desk all day. Each of them will help in keeping our motivation up, and boosting it when necessary.

Jason Munroe is a freelancer, writing a series of articles with help from a Chiropractor in Sacramento, CA. He is married, living in California with his wife and 2 children.

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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