7 Self-Care Secrets for People Who Work Desk Jobs
It’s no secret that sitting for eight hours straight is terrible for your health. Uninterrupted sitting for that amount of time raises the risk of high blood pressure, strokes, diabetes, and heart disease.
Sure, there are standing desks, but even that doesn’t solve the problem of the sedentary aspect of desk jobs. Standing in the same spot all day might be better than sitting, but it doesn’t mean you’re being healthy. And most of us cannot read, type, and take calls while running on a treadmill.
The bad news is: Humans are meant to move for the majority of the day, and you’re not doing that if you’re sitting at your desk for eight hours at a time.
The good news is: sitting all day and focusing on completing your tasks requires an immense degree of intelligence and focus – intelligence and focus that can be harnessed into living as healthy as possible despite the limitations of your day job.
Find physical tasks in your office to do. Or really any excuse to move.
Does the HR lady need help decorating for a party? Did a big delivery come in that needs to be unpacked and put away? Is the boss having a bad day and might appreciate a coffee? Always be the one who volunteers, because it means you get to get up, move, and still be considered “useful.”
Eat light for lunch.
This one is hard because there’s nothing like an office job to make you want to stress eat. But think about it: much of your day is spent sitting, meaning your metabolism is slowing down to compensate. So eating heavy, greasy foods might set off your dopamine receptors, but it is not the way to go, health-wise.
Ditch the sandwich and go for a salad. Instead of a processed granola bar or candy, have a bit of fruit. Drink lots of water throughout the day.
Take care of your eyes.
If your office job requires looking at a screen all day, take breaks every twenty minutes, even if it’s only for a minute. Take a minute to look away from your screen and focus on objects that are at least twenty feet away. Doing this will help alleviate “digital eyestrain.”
There are also blue-light-blocking glasses to consider. It’s possible to get them even if you don’t need glasses for eyesight and the filter can be added to an existing prescription. While research has questioned their effectiveness in alleviating digital eyestrain during the day, scientists do believe that filtering out blue light can help prevent the disruption of sleep patterns that some people experience when they use their phones, computers, or TVs at night.
Take meaningful breaks.
You are entitled to take breaks. You need to for your health and wellbeing. Take your well-deserved breaks and make them intentional. Meet a friend who works nearby, take a walk by yourself, or even work out. If your gym or yoga studio is close enough, take advantage and squeeze in a workout before lunch. If you’re concerned about taking too much time out of your workday, consider investing in a jump rope. They’re cheap, easily portable, and jumping rope is amazing for your cardiovascular health.
Design an active commute.
Is there a way for your commute to be more active? Could you bike to work? Or walk part of the way? If you take a bus or subway, try getting off a stop or two early and walking a bit more than you’re used to (but of course, only if it’s safe).
Advocate for yourself and your colleagues.
Many companies are taking this data seriously and bring in yoga instructors, Zumba instructors, or masseuses once a week or once a month. It may be that the only reason your office hasn’t already done something similar is because nobody has asked for it. Be the person who asks for it.
Your company may be too frugal or small to support something like this, but you’ll never know until you ask.
Be as active as possible when you’re off the clock.
Sometimes your workday is completely out of your control. There will be days when duty calls and you’ll neglect the jump rope and will really have to sit all day. It’s important to remember on these days especially that you are in control of your off-time. Use your precious time to be active, knowing that you are investing in your long-term health and wellbeing.