Whether working from home or in an office, your daily grind can come with some not so pleasant side effects. From picking up the common cold from coworkers to things like carpal tunnel syndrome or headaches, many illnesses are born out of our daily activities.
Follow these six tips to keep yourself healthy and pain free in the workplace.
1. Practice good hygiene.
Whether you work in a home office or in a building full of coworkers, your desk can be one of the things keeping you sick. Keyboards, phones and shared spaces are breeding grounds for illnesses like COIVD-19, the flu and the common cold.
Wipe down your workspace with disinfectant on a regular basis, especially in shared spaces. Your cell phone could be the culprit, so wipe it down, too. Clean it with products safe for electronics to avoid damage. Frequent hand washing is essential whether at work or at home.
2. Stay home.
If you are sick, stay home to avoid spreading illness.
If you work from home and are not feeling well, disinfect everything you touch to not spread illness to others. If you’re sharing space at work with someone who is ill, avoid direct contact with them and disinfect shared items.
If you have a lingering cough or sneeze, wear a mask. If that isn’t possible, cough or sneeze in the crook of your elbow rather than your hands.
3. Take care of your eyes.
Many jobs come with screen time. When you add in cellphone and tablet use, your eyes are under a lot of strain.
Eye strain can come with headaches, tired eyes, watery or itchy eyes, blurred or double vision, spasms and other irritations. Avoid eye strain by making sure your monitor is located right in front of you.
Also, make sure it’s positioned properly. Position your screen four to five inches below your eye level and 20 to 28 inches away from you. Take a break to give your eyes a rest when you can.
4. Manage work-related stress.
Stress is detrimental to the body and the mind. Without effective tools to manage work-related stress and other stressors in your life, you’re at risk for both short and long-term illnesses.
In the short-term, you may experience headaches, shortness of breath, insomnia, anxiety, an upset stomach and other symptoms. Long-term illnesses include depression, heart disease, back pain and even an overall weakened immune system.
Minimize your stress by taking breaks when you can. Just a five-minute walk outside can reduce your stress levels.
Effective time management is also important. Using tools such as to-do lists to help prioritize your day lower your stress. Mediation and other relaxation techniques improve stress levels.
5. Ergonomics, ergonomics, ergonomics.
Just sitting in your chair impacts your health. Repetitive motions in the workplace can be a source of strain — and pain. Make sure your body is protected no matter your line of work is important to your health.
Your chair should be positioned properly at your desk where you can comfortably sit with both feet on the floor and not have to strain to use your keyboard. Simple hand and finger stretches reduce the chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Using proper safety gear in good working conditions helps prevent injuries during manual labor.
6. Make healthy food choices.
As the saying goes, you are what you eat!
With busy workdays, it’s easy to pop into a favorite fast food restaurant for a quick fix. While convenient, it’s not often the healthiest choice.
Fueled by good nutrition, our bodies and minds operate at their optimum level. Take the time prepare a healthy lunch for yourself with fruits, vegetables and protein. Go for water over soft drinks or energy drinks with their empty calories and too much sugar.
It’s also good to keep walking right past the vending machines — they’re usually loaded with candy and other unhealthy snacks that may be tasty but can lead to a sugar crash later in the day and make you more prone to obesity.
Get more advice on healthy eating and lifestyle choices at GetHealthyLiveWell.org.