How to Keep Your Workspace Healthy
The average workweek of 40 hours per week equates to almost 24% of your year is spent at your office or place of work. If you are spending a quarter of your year in the workplace, it becomes important that said place is not wearing on your mental and physical health. Let’s look deeper into how you can better care for your body and mind while at work.
Stretching, in general, is important for the muscles in your body. Stretching becomes very important when you are at work if you are sedentary for a long amount of time. Neck and back problems are most commonly associated with long periods of sitting. Sitting puts a lot of pressure on backs which can lead to back muscle pain. The disks in your back that are meant to expand and contract with movement, become compressed which causes them to lose flexibility over time. Avoiding long periods of sitting will help prevent lower back pain.
Hip problems are also a side effect of sitting for long periods of time. Sitting causes your hips to tense up and limits their range of motion. The decrease of hip mobility is one of the leading cause of elderly falls. It is strongly advised to take regular breaks in your workday to stretch the muscles you are straining or completely not using.
There are hundreds of simple office stretches you can do to counteract the side effects of prolonged sitting. Here are some of our favorites.
Create a Mental Safe Space
Your desk may be contributing to your work rut without you even knowing. You might find yourself distracted by clutter that you haven’t had a chance to clean up. You may also be feeling a little uninspired by your sterile surroundings. What does the science say about how your workspace affects your mood?
The data is split. It’s been repeatedly said that a clean desk sets us up for better organization and increased productivity. However, creative geniuses have been known to be extremely messy. Researchers at the University of Minnesota conducted a study about work surroundings that focused on unique uses for ping pong balls that found, “Participants in the messy room generated the same number of ideas for new uses as their clean-room counterparts. But their ideas were rated as more interesting and creative when evaluated by impartial judges”.
Your best results will depend on your preference. Naturally organized individuals find clutter and mess to be distracting and stress inducing. Not so organized folks tend to produce better ideas in an environment that isn’t so tidy. The point, however, is to be sure you are doing the method that best suits your personality. There is no benefit in trying to fit the standards of others as this will most likely leave you feeling uncreative or mentally stressed.
Be Aware of Office “Health” Trends
Trending in offices everywhere is the concept of a standing desk. These seem like the answer to the prayers of many individuals who suffer from lower back pain after a day at the office. Well once again, the science is split. Sitting for more than 6 hours a day has significant negative health associations, but so does working at a standing desk for the same amount of time.
Dr. Peter Ottone, a chiropractor from New Jersey, told Business Insider that “weight gain and carpal tunnel syndrome as well as shoulder, back, and neck pain are all conditions that can be affected by standing and sitting”.
The conclusions for the standing desk should be to do what’s comfortable for you. A good suggestion would be to sit when you feel yourself getting tired and distracted by the fact that your standing. On the flip side, be sure to get up and stretch your legs and get some work done that doesn’t require you to be completely sedentary.
Do a Little Research
The best way to keep your workspace health friendly? Stay informed. If you are feeling the physical or mental strain at work, look to sources that will keep you up to date on ways help make your work day pleasant. Don’t ignore what your mind or body is telling you. Mental and physical health are key to being the most productive and happy YOU!
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