11 Ways To Feel Better At Work Every Day
Even if you love your job, heading off to work may not feel like the most joyous part of your day. There's the stressful commute, the desk chair-induced backaches, and the dreaded eye strain to contend with, among a long list of other negatives. Thankfully, there are ways to feel better at work, so that your daily grind doesn't have to feel too... "grind-y."
Because, let's face it — we all spend a lot of time at work. In fact, adults employed full-time in the U.S. report working an average of 47 hours per week. That's almost a full workday longer than what a standard five day, 9-to-5 schedule entails, noted Lydia Saad on Gallup.com. Other full-time workers indicate they work at least 50 hours, which sounds a bit closer to the truth, in my opinion.
Whether you work 40 hours, 50 hours, or even part-time at 25 hours, that's a long time to sit in one spot. "Hunching over a computer is a leading reason why four in five women end up with crippling back pain at some point in their lives," said Susan Hall on Health. And that just won't do. You don't want back pain, you don't want eye strain, and you don't want to sit at work being miserable all day. So here are some ways to feel better at work, both physically and mentally.
1. Get There On Time
If you've ever shown up to work a sweaty, flustered mess, then you know how awful it is to start the day by being late. That's why it's a good idea to plan ahead, and factor in delays, so you can save yourself all that early-morning drama. As Dustin Wax said on Lifehacker.com, "Always add 25 percent to your time estimate to get anywhere ... If you think it takes 30 minutes to get to work, give yourself 40." It may be hard to get used to at first, but showing up on time (or even a bit early) is totally worth the effort.
2. Actually Eat Breakfast
As a huge fan of cereal, I wouldn't dream of skipping breakfast. But I know that a lot of people do so in an effort to save time, or because they simply aren't hungry. I kind of understand the reasoning, and yet it's still pretty important to have a little something, if you can. That's because many studies have linked eating breakfast to good health, including better memory and concentration, according to Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on WebMD.com. Have some yogurt, or an egg, and you'll be less likely to nod off oh-so-obviously in your morning meeting.
3. Don't Be Too Sedentary
If you're like me, then you plop down at your desk and don't move for hours at a time. You may feel all efficient and hardworking, but sitting for so long is actually doing a great disservice to your body. "If you’re sitting too much each day, you're at risk for obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and a whole host of health problems," said Carrie Schmitz on Entrepreneur.com. So do yourself a favor, and take a stretch break every 30 minutes.
4. Try A Standing Desk
If you really want to bring a healthy revolution to your office, then consider getting everyone on the standing desk trend. Standing up while you work means saving yourself from the above mentioned sedentary problems. It's also way better for your posture, and thus your desk-induced back pain.
5. Invest In A Good Work Chair
I know, I just said you are better off not sitting, but if you're going to anyway, at least invest in a good chair. In a study conducted by Staples, 82 percent of office workers admitted to slouching in their chair, according to Jenny Everrett on SELF. While it is totally comfy, slouching is pretty horrible for your back muscles. So look for a chair that supports your lower lumbar region, and make sure it's not too low or too high at your desk.
6. Reduce Your Eye Strain
Most of us stare at our laptops all day long, which can lead to a pretty bad case of eye strain. This occurs when your eyes get tired from intense use, such as staring at a screen for too long, according to the Mayo Clinic. (Cue headaches, tired eyes, and blurry vision.) Luckily, it can all be avoided by dimming your desk lights, taking frequent breaks, and dropping in some artificial tears to remoisten your eyes.
8. Avoid The Office Cold
One of the worst things about offices, and public spaces in general, is how fast cold viruses can spread. Your coworker comes in on Monday looking a little tired and congested, and by Wednesday the entire office is out with the flu. (Gross.) The best way to avoid this awful fate is by washing your hands, and clearing the way for sneezy coworkers. You can also make a little germ station at your desk. "By keeping tissues and sanitizer handy, you're subtly encouraging your co-workers to do the same," said Mary Elizabeth Dallas on EverydayHealth.com.
9. Do Some Desk Yoga
It may look a little weird to your coworkers, but who cares? Desk yoga is where it's at for stretching during the work day. In fact, there are five poses you can do at your desk, including the seated backbend, seated twist, wrist release, desk shoulder opener, and the forward fold, according to yoga teacher Meredith Nordhem on HuffingtonPost.com. The poses take up hardly any space, and are totally worth doing midday to get all those kinks out.
10. Take Your Lunch Break
Many of us plow through the day without getting up for lunch, much less those highly recommended stretches. But even if you're the busiest person on the planet, you should still take advantage of that hour off. Taking a break allows your brain to recharge, and actually makes you more productive when you return, according to an article by Beth Braccio Hering on CNN.com. So no more excuses, OK?
11. Decorate Your Desk
You don't have to frame 10 photos of your dog (unless you want to, of course), but you should put in a little effort to make your space more cozy. As Tikva Morrow suggested on TheMuse.com, "Plants are an easy way to brighten up your desk ... And bonus: Some types can actually purify the air in your office." Try some cute succulents, or an air plant, as they require minimal attention.
You spend a heck of a lot of time at work, so doing what you can to feel good all day is totally worth the effort. Take care of yourself physically, as well as mentally, and those 40 hours should be that much better.
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