Take these Time-Outs at Work

Mashable recently released an article called, Your Desk Job Makes You Fat, Sick and Dead.

Over 80% of Americans work in jobs that require little to no physical activity, and the effects are starting to show.

Story of my life. Prior to moving to New York, I held an outside sales job so I was constantly moving throughout the day. Here, I’m confined to my desk and I can already feel my body’s response to sitting for 8 hours straight. I’m not necessarily getting “fat, sick and dead” but I’m definitely feeling the back pain, neck pain, dry eyes…the numb legs. To combat this, I came up with five daily practices or as I call them, “time-outs” from sitting!

  • Stand up while doing your work every now and then: Unfortunately I do not work at a company that provides treadmill workstations.  I get a cheap chair and a cubicle, so I need to spice it up by standing up every once and a while throughout the workday.  Conference calls have been good opportunities to do some of this standing.
  • Take a long and focused stretch break: This is when I’ll take the time to stretch my entire body.  I’ll go through my arms, legs, my neck…and be sure to wiggle my fingers and toes. I say “focused” stretch because this is also a great time to calm your mind; during these stretches, I try to focus solely on making my body feel good and nothing else, that way my mind gets a good reset.
  • Go to the water cooler even if you’re not thirsty: We’ve got two on opposite sides of the office, so it’s a good change in scene, and a good chance to do some walking.  I may not be thirsty before I get up to go to the watercooler, but I definitely am by the time I get there. 😉
  • Jam: Sometimes after I finish a challenging task or assignment, I like to put on one of my favorite songs to celebrate. It lifts the mood and I’ll start rocking to the beat. I like to think I burn more calories during these songs.
  • Give your eyes some TLC: Humans weren’t meant to stare at screens all day. The computer kills your eyes.  And if your eyes are as bad as mine, they might just go cross one day. I like to exercise my eyes a few different ways.  First, I give my eyelids a nice massage. Second, I close my eyes and cover them for a minute so that I only see blackness. Be weary that people might past by your desk and think you’re asleep. Third, I move my eyes in circles then have my eyes follow my finger from in front of my nose to an arms length away from my nose, repeatedly (I learned this from my eye doctor). Fourth, I focus on something nearby, then switch to focusing on something in the distance, repeatedly. Fifth, I close my eyes and end with another eyelid massage.

These five practices are sure to help reduce the stress my body and eyes endure throughout the workday, let’s hope I keep this up.  Gotta make moves in the workplace, right?

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