We all have to put food on the table, but are we working ourselves to an early grave? More and more Americans complain of work related health issues, from repetitive stress injuries to nervous break downs, to a nasty case of the flu. Aside from quitting your job, there is a lot you can do to decrease your chances of a workplace health catastrophe.
Take short breaks
In a world of 80 hour weeks and a cup of coffee in front of the computer passing for lunch, it’s not surprising that many office workers suffer from lower back pain, migraines and chronic stress. A 2-5 minute break every hour could help you avoid all of that. In between conference calls, leave your desk and walk around the office. Walking up and down the stairs, through the hallways, or even outside can help you calm your mind and improve your circulation. Give yourself a break from the computer and take time to relax before jumping into another task.
Can’t tear yourself away from your computer? Try a website like www.dejal.com/timeout/ that sends a customized reminder to chill out.
Swap your cup o’ joe for a green tea
The caffeine in a cup of coffee may wake you up, but it could be wreaking havoc on your body if you sip it continuously throughout the day. Excessive caffeine can lead to jittery, nervous behavior. Steering clear of that second cup could mean the difference between flipping over it and getting over it. Green tea on the other hand, has a much smaller amount of caffeine, and helps to improve your circulation and overall well being. If you need a quick pick-me-up reach for tea instead of coffee.
No one likes the workplace gossip, but getting to know your co-workers could lead to a more productive and stress free day. Talk to the people around you and get to know them. Comradely among co workers is important and makes the work day a little more bearable. Take time to casually talk about a popular TV show, families or the weather with your peers. Steer clear of work place negativity though; it’s easy to get sucked into complaining about the boss or putting down the company. Not only will that lead to further stress and negative feelings, but it could get you in a lot of trouble as well.
Although it may look clean, your desktop is teeming with bacteria and viruses. Cleaning thoroughly and often is a good way to prevent the office flu from ruining your weekend. Your phone and keyboard are key places harboring germs. Be sure to wash your hands repeatedly throughout the day. Use caution in communal spaces like the break room or kitchen. Touching your eyes, nose or mouth after using the public copy machine is a great way to pick up someone else’s germs.
Health risks in the office are similar to those around your own home. Taking care of your self is essential to a productive and positive work day. Remember that work time is all about quality rather than quantity. Taking two minutes here and there to wash your hands or get up and stretch is worth it when you consider the alternative week or two you would be out of the office because of health issues. Protect your well being and you will be well on your way to getting the most out of your job.
About the author: Sarah Danielson writes for Corboy Demetrio Law Firm, a personal injury law firm based in Chicago, Illinois.