If you're anything like me, when January 1st hits you're setting some new goals for yourself or "resolutions" and this year was no different. One thing I really wanted to focus on this year was creating better work ergonomics for my office. I not only wanted to improve my efficiency while I work but increase how long I could stay at the computer without getting sore or tired.
I struggled for years with bad posture and back pain until I started seeing a chiropractor about a year and half ago. Since then my health has improved dramatically but recently I've noticed I sort of reached a plateau. Seeing a change in my health allowed me to evaluate my life better and see what other changes I could make to start feeling better. I knew that the last piece of the puzzle was likely changing up my work habits at my desk since I spent long hours at my computer screen working on wedding films and other business related tasks.
So here are 4 things that I've implemented to stay healthier with working at my desk. My chiropractor said he could already notice a difference in my back when I saw him recently which is a good sign! I will also say that I am not a health professional nor am I an expert in work ergonomics so you need to see what works best for you, this may not work for everyone's case. I am also not endorsing that you should visit a chiropractor, I am only describing my own experiences.
1. Ditch the Office Chair
Yep. January 1st I literally got rid of my office chair and switched it out for an exercise ball. Sitting on a exercise ball at your desk reminds you to sit up straight. It doesn't automatically make you sit up straighter but I find that it reminds you to straighten your posture more often than an office chair. It also makes it impossible to cross your legs. When you cross your legs you are more likely to slouch forward and also its the greatest thing for the circulation in your legs and better for your knees. It's definitely not an easy switch at first because even just sitting on the chair is an ab workout because you are constantly balancing. But I think over time as I adjust, my muscles will become stronger and it will be easier to sit on the ball for longer. It also makes you move around more, you're likely to bounce on it or move your legs more often, especially when you need to turn which helps improve the circulation in your body. I'm more likely to get up and take breaks as well on the chair.
2. Wear Blue Light Glasses
I have a special pair of glasses that I wear specifically for the computer. They cancel out any blue light coming from the screen into my eyes. If you're not familiar with blue light, not all blue light is necessarily bad. Its just the manmade blue light that comes from our computer and device screens here that can be damaging to your eye. It also contributes to eye strain which is going to make your eyes more tired at a faster rate at the computer. I find that when I wear my glasses I can look at my screen for longer without feeling that annoying stinging feeling when you look into the light for too long. My glasses are from a company called "Spektrum" and I believe the cost me around $50. Just a note to add as well that if you are a photographer or videographer, you will have to take the glasses off when you are editing your white balance because it does affect the colour that you will see. It makes all your blue tones look more yellow.
3. Make Sure your Keyboard, Mouse and Monitor are at the Appropriate Height.
It's really important to make your sure monitor is at eye level so that you aren't straining your neck to look at your screen. If the screen is too low, it can cause you to slouch forward. The same can be said for your keyboard and mouse. Make sure they are at a comfortable level so that you can make it easier on your wrists.
4. Keep that H2O flowing!
Do you ever reach the end of a day and realize, I didn't drink any water today! It happens to me a lot. It's important to keep a water bottle at your desk, or whatever will motivate you to drink more often. If we skip drinking water, we're more likely to feel tired, and possibly get a headache. The better you feel the more productive you can be.
I hope these tips were helpful! Keep your work space healthy and you will be a more productive and happier person!