How to Take Care of Your Health when Working at a Computer
More in How-To
There are many jobs where you spend a lot of hours sitting at a desk clicking, writing, reading. And as your laptop/computer become the tools of your business you shouldn’t ignore your health, even though it seems working on computer cannot hurt you at all. So here are a few tips that will remind you of the simple things you can do for your health – so that your work doesn’t hurt you.
1. Get up, stand up !
It is probably the simplest one of all. Yet, we forget about it all the time. What you need to do is get up from your desk every hour, and do a little stretching for about 5 minutes. Do a few sit-ups, try touching the sky with your hands, try touching your toes with your fingers. Walk a bit. Don’t let your spine muscles tighten and your spine get sore. If you will remember about these simple exercises, you will drastically improve your health in a few weeks. And, what is also important, it will be easier for you to concentrate, as these few minutes away from the screen will give your brain a “breather,” and consequently – some freshness.
2. Sit up straight !
Another simple and obvious tip. But how many of you really take care of your back ? I’m not talking about straightening your back every now and then – that won’t help you at all. Even if you’re sitting straight, but on a wrong type of a chair – this will not help your back. Here things get a little more complicated. First of all, you need a good chair that fully supports your back. Sitting straight with no back support will cause more pain than leaning on a badly constructed chair. A good back support pushes the thoracic part of your spine, at the same time ensuring that every part of your back is supported. It is also important to get a chair with a high backrest, so you can fully lean on it (not only your back, but the head as well).
3. It is a monitor not a microscope
This tip is about your sight. How many times you caught yourself staring at the screen from a few centimeters away ? You probably just wanted to take a closer look at something, and then realized you had been staying in this position for 30 minutes. So, remind yourself to keep a “safe” distance from your computer screen. And what “safe distance” is ? The further the better. 🙂 You can work having a monitor on another end of a room if that works for you, as long as you can see what is on the screen. Also – don’t work with your screen directly opposite the sun or another source of light to avoid light reflections ; these will hurt your eyes and may result in vision impairment. Position yourself and your monitor in such a way to have a window to your side, and other sources of light arranged on the ceiling. There are studies shown that light emitted from computer screens may be disrupting sleep patterns, so try to minimize the time using a computer to as little as possible.
4. Take care of your hands and wrists
Pain in hands and wrists can happen when you type on keyboard and use a mouse. The good news is, it can be easily avoided. One of the main reasons for the discomfort is putting your keyboard just at the edge of the desk, which means your wrists also have to lean on the edge or – what is even worse – remain suspended in the air. Push your keyboard (or your laptop) away from the edge of the desk, so that your forearms could rest on the desk, and support your hands and wrist. Also, try not to put weight on your wrists and hands. This should eliminate the pain. You can do one more thing – while doing your hourly 5-minute exercise routine, work the hands as well.
5. Eat somewhere else !
This can surprisingly turn out to be the hardest wont to change. It was proven that eating while working at a computer is both unhealthy (can cause digestive disorders) and a simple way to gain weight. So just go somewhere else to eat. Simple, but easier said than done. When you’re focusing on a project, and spend many hours sitting and working, you almost automatically choose to eat without interrupting your work. Your hands may be busy, but you can still browse some websites or just check something online. The only thing I can recommend here is a small steps method. Try eating pizza and all hot meals away from the desk. Leave the chips and sandwiches. Then, after a few days – get rid of the sandwiches, and then exchange your chips for water. Seems hard, but it can be done (currently I’m drinking like 5 glasses of water during work because of that method). You will feel much better after just a few weeks. And the food will taste better.