Healthy Desk Habits

desk stretchingLet’s be honest: working at a desk all day is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. It increases the risk of repetitive stress injuries, eyestrain, back problems, leg problems, and heart disease. The good news is that it’s never too late to change your naughty desk habits for some healthy ones. Here are some we wanted to touch on.

Practice the 20/20/20 rule.

If you aren’t familiar with this rule, it’s pretty easy to remember. Every 20 minutes, you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This helps to refocus your eyes and helps prevent eyestrain.

If you find yourself inching closer and closer to the computer screen (I find myself leaning in all the time), readjust your posture to keep yourself at least an arm’s length away from the screen. This will help prevent strain on a lot of your body parts but most especially your eyes. I’ve found that with a pair of computer glasses (I wear Gunnar’s, but there are many other brands), I don’t lean toward the screen as much because my eyes don’t get as tired and strained.

Stand up. Often.

Just because you have a desk doesn’t mean you need to be sitting at it all the time when working. Try standing up when you’re taking phone calls. Walk around a bit—even if it’s just around your workstation. Get the blood flowing in those legs and bottom. If you start to notice your bum or legs going numb, get up more often.

Many offices are willing to accommodate standing desks. If you want one of those, it can’t hurt to ask. If they can’t provide a standing desk, there are lots of things you can do on your own to modify your existing desk. Stacking books under the monitors and keyboard and mouse can quickly reposition your peripherals to prime standing position.

Don’t zombie snack.

You’ve probably done this at some point in time. You open a party-size bag of peanut M&Ms and set it beside your keyboard. An hour later, your hand hits the bottom of the bag and you’ve mysteriously devoured the entire package—all 6,160 calories of it. There were 28 servings in that bag. That is not a pleasant feeling. Oh the guilt!

For work, it’s good to keep small portions of healthy snacks on hand. Things like nuts, vegetables, fruits, and crackers. Of course, it’s nice to have some sweet treats around like cookies or M&Ms, but those should be portioned as well. Those snack-sized Ziploc #### are a desk worker’s best friend for mindful snacking.

Try to avoid drinking a lot of soda at work too. Choose water more than other beverages and your insides will thank you for it. Water can also help curb your snacking.

Modify your workstation for healthy working.

Make sure your workstation is set up for ergonomic comfort. There are plenty of articles on the internet about ergonomic desk setup (we’ve even written a number of blog articles about it like this one and this one). When your setup is ergonomic, it promotes healthy working.

Exercise balls are also becoming more popular in place of office chairs. Sometimes you really do just need the comfort and ease of sitting in a chair, but sitting on an exercise ball throughout the day certainly has its benefits. It promotes proper posture, helps your spine and hips align, and it keeps your core engaged. You can work-out your thighs, bum, and abdominals a bit while you work!

Keep your desk clean.

My last suggestion here is to keep your desk clean, clutter free, and organized. Dust your desk from time to time (if your office doesn’t have a cleaning service that does that) and pull out some of those antibacterial wipes as well. I like to wipe down my keyboard, mouse, phone, desk surface, and chair once a week. You really never know who’s been touching your work equipment when you’re not around.  Those wipes can really help keep your workstation germ free and that definitely promotes healthy working.

Keeping your desk clutter free and organized helps you keep a clear mind—which is definitely a part of healthy working. When you are surrounded by clutter and mess, your brain has a tendency to become overwhelmed and you can’t be as productive as you want. Taking some time to organize your desk will help immensely so that you know exactly where everything is and can find it quickly.

We hope this information helps provide some tips for healthy desk habits. Do you have any additional tips? Feel free to share in the comments below!

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