While being stuck in an office cubicle all day does good things for your bank account, it really does end up wreaking havoc on your body. Eye strain from continuous screen time, posture and back issues from staying in the same positions for long durations, and lethargy and drop in energy from a sedentary lifestyle are some of the obvious issues, but stick at it long enough and you’ll end up facing more serious health issues down the line, both physical as well as mental.
So how do you break out of this cycle? Do you just quit your job? Wait, is that even an option? No, no, hold it right there. We’re not asking you to quit your job, or change your career. We’re here to share some tips and tricks to help you bring small changes in your daily routine to minimize all these problems. And you can do them right there, in the office itself!
1. Take a walk
This one’s pretty easy to do. Just get off your chair and take a small walk around the office. If you do this every hour or two, it gives your back a chance to stretch, gets some blood flowing, and also freshens your mind a bit.
2. Rest your eyes
This is something you should definitely do every hour, on the hour. Especially if your work requires you to be practically glued to your computer or laptop throughout the day. The blue and bright light emitted from screens, especially for prolonged periods, causes eye strain. If you don’t take care, this can lead to vision problems, headaches, and general unease. Also, invest in a pair of anti-glare eyeglasses. You can get these from any optician, even if you have 20-20 vision. And for an added break, a cool eye mask on your eyes for 20 minutes before bed does wonders too. (You can use used and drained tea bags kept in the fridge for this too).
3. Light stretching
Even if you can’t do this at regular intervals, do try to at least thrice in the day, ideally when you reach the office, at the start of your lunch break, and before you go home for the day. This could be whatever you’re comfortable doing, whether a few full body stretches, or some simple yoga poses that don’t require a mat or too much space. And if you feel awkward doing so in an office space, try to rope in some colleagues to do it with you. Not only will make it less awkward, you’ll also be able to motivate and remind each other to follow through every day.
4. Drink up
Your parents told you, your teachers told you, Google told you, and they’re all right! Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. We cannot stress the importance of this enough. Getting caught up in your work and simply forgetting to drink water has happened to the best of us, so how do you avoid falling into that trap? Keep a bottle of water on your desk at all times (don’t forget to refill it!). Another great tip? There are a bunch of apps available for your phone that remind you to drink a glass of water throughout the day. Talk about technology saving the day!
Yup, you read it right. Studies have shown that if you smile, whether you’re in a good mood or not, you can actually trick your mind into releasing endorphins (the happy hormones), and then you genuinely are in a good mood. And we don’t need to tell you that the happier you are, the better, right?
6. Take the stairs
Not only is this great advice for your health, but it’s great for the environment too. And don’t worry, if you work on the 20th floor, don’t overdo it either. Take the lift to 15th floor, and then take the stairs. (We’re not averse to a little cheating as long as you put in some work). Don’t work in a high rise, or just plain work on the ground floor? Well, you know those three-four steps at the entryway, just go up and down those at quick speeds about 4-5 times before heading in, and before heading out. Extra points for doing it at lunch time too!
Oh, and just in case you don’t work in an office, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing these things too. Whether you’re a student, someone who works from home, a freelancer, it doesn’t matter. We can all benefit from healthier bodies and minds. And it’s never too early or too late to start.
You have the tools now. It’s up to you to put them to work!