“Nick visited my office to complain about body strains. He suffers from neck and shoulder pain that seems to get worse over time. Nick has an office job.He is on pain medication that worked at first but is not efficient anymore. He has not missed a day from work although he experiences significant discomfort while working. His major concern is that he has a big project coming up and he is worried that he will not be able to meet deadlines. He has trouble sleeping and constantly feels on the edge.”
Nick is just one of many people who constantly try to remain productive, no matter the cost physically and mentally. Most people think about their health once they leave work. If you consider that you spend most of your day working then it is only necessary to take care of health while you are on the job.
1. Adapting healthy habits at work is important since it helps you to:
2. Avoid emotional and mental fatigue that leads to burnout
3. Prevent aches and pains or detect them early
4. Enjoy your life after work
Why do I neglect my health during work?
There are numerous reasons why people neglect healthy habits at work:
High-pressure work environment; Task and goal oriented for maximum productivity.
Working in a repetitive manner just to get the work done.
Cognitive demands that make it difficult to prioritize tasks thus falling back at work due to increased stress.
Employee’s perception on the psycho social work environment that may not support a healthy work life
What can I do?
Imagine you are Nick, you experience body discomfort, stress, insomnia and still have to go that extra mile at work. Here are some tips to help you alleviate somatic and mental stressors while working:
Take rest breaks. You are not programmed to sit on a chair for 8 hours straight. Get up, stretch, walk, move your back, neck and shoulders.
Ask your employer to re-examine office ergonomics. Proper office temperature promotes body coordination and lighting reduces the risk of eye strain that creates great discomfort.
Prepare a healthy meal at home instead of visiting the vending machine at work.
Hydrate yourself. Dehydration decreases cognitive functions like concentration and impacts mood.
If you have a big lunch break, get out and take a short walk around the block.
If you can not change tasks often, make sure you take short breaks for at least 1-2 minutes, to rejuvenate body and mind. If you are an employer remember that job diversity improves employee morale.
Remember that adapting healthy habits is not a weekend job. Even while working, you have the opportunity to take care of yourself thus making work a more pleasant experience.
Sophia Vassiliades, M.A. Clininal Psychologist/Counselor.
Note: If you experience any pain at work, do not neglect to inform your employer and visit a doctor.