We can think of a million ways we do our bodies a major disservice at work. Skipping breaks, sitting for hours at a time, staring into our computer screens non-stop — we’ve done it all and suffered the consequences. However, treating your body better on the job is a great place to start if you want it to love you when you leave the workplace behind for the day.
Being mindful of ways to stay safe at work and actively incorporating them into your daily life requires effort, but it’s necessary if you want protect yourself from the toll that professional routines take on the body. The good thing is that most of what’s required to take care of your body on the clock can be done easily and in a way that doesn’t make your colleagues give you funny looks.
These are some simple (yet extremely beneficial) things you should during your workday that your body will thank you for.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be high impact, but getting in a little exercise at your desk throughout the workday will keep the blood flowing throughout your body, which helps you stay alert, clear-minded, and focused on your tasks. Try simple moves like walking around the office, holding a few easy yoga poses to stretch, jogging in place, or doing wall sits.
2Take an actual lunch break.
For people with extremely demanding jobs, separating lunch from work may be difficult or even unheard of. Still, there are physical benefits to taking a lunch break that’s strictly designated for eating. For one, you’re more likely to relax and eat your food slower, which means you’re less likely to overeat (and feel sluggish and uncomfortable later). It also improves digestion and helps your body better absorb nutrients, Healthline reports.
Workplace expert Michael Kerr tells Forbes that what you do on your lunch break also has mental benefits. “It’s critical to make the most of lunch and remind yourself that by taking a proper break you will accomplish more in the long run, and that productivity and creativity will increase, while your levels of stress and fatigue will diminish,” he said.
3Make your office space more ergonomic.
Desks are so not designed in ways our bodies like. Maybe try investing in an ergonomic mouse and keyboard that will help reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis, which can be aggravated by continued stress on your hands and wrists. CNET recommends setting up an ergonomic workstation by adjusting your chair, positioning your screen so that it’s not too far away or too close to your face, and positioning your keyboard and mouse “in a way that keeps your elbows to your sides, and your arms at or below a 90-degree angle.”
4Remind yourself to take breaks.
We often get so involved in our work tasks that we look up and hours have gone by without a break. Regardless of how busy you are, understand how much the brain benefits greatly from mental downtime.
Scientific American writes,
Use an app to help remind you to take a break, set a timer on your phone, or enlist the help of a co-worker to drag you away from your official duties for a brief timeout. Just take a break.
5Find ways to reduce eyestrain.
Think about how often you use a computer at work then go home and continue to glare into your laptop or phone for hours on end. Studies show that staring at screens all day changes your eyes. Additionally, our blink rates decrease drastically when we’re reading on screens, which can lead to dry, tired eyes, a symptom of computer vision syndrome. To deal with this, experts recommend practicing the “20-20-20” rule, which The Verge describes:
It may also help to adjust monitor settings such as brightness, color, and text size, or invest in a protective anti-glare filter.
6Perfect your posture.
If you’re accustomed to slouching all day (guilty as charged), it can be a pretty hard habit to shake. To motivate yourself to practice sitting up straight all day, think about all the scary things that happen to your body when you slouch, like headaches and constipation, not to mention back, neck, and shoulder pain.
If all else fails, you could buy this nuisance of a device that vibrates when you slouch. Whatever works!
7Sanitize your workspace.
This requires more than just deleting old files off your hard drive. We’re talking regularly wiping down the surface of your desk, your office phone, and your keyboard. Maintaining a germ-free workspace can help keep you out of the line of fire during cold and flu season.
Want to feel less anxiety at work? One way to do that is to meditate. This can be done at your desk, in your car or in a bathroom stall. If you’re unsure exactly how to avoid panicking on the job, download an app for basic meditation tips or check out a meditation exercise video to help you keep your cool at work.