The sudden jump from working in an office to remotely at home affected many of us during lockdown. None of us were prepared for working at the kitchen table, juggling the demands of homeschooling or eating a whole packet of chocolate hobnobs in one sitting!
We spend long hours at our desks, whether that be at the office or working from home. As much as you need to spend time focusing on your business, it’s also really important to recognise that spending long hours seated in the same position is not good for your health. In fact, the NHS claims that we should spend 150 minutes a week keeping active but that can prove challenging if you find yourself deskbound due to the nature of your work.
So, what can we do to make things a little bit kinder to our bodies if we have to spend a lot of time behind a desk?
1. Take Breaks Every Hour
Taking a regular short break from your desk for a few minutes every hour is better than remaining seated solidly throughout the day as many deskbound entrepreneurs do. Taking a quick walk around the office or heading to the kitchen to grab a cuppa for a few minutes will enable you to shift focus for a short time and give your body a break from your enforced, sedentary workplace lifestyle.
Our bodies were not designed to sit down and look at computer screens all day. We often adopt the same position behind our desk for hours at a time and that can lead to back and posture problems. One way of reducing these risks is to stretch regularly. You can get up and stretch in your office or even do a quick stretch at your desk, wiggling your fingers, rotating your wrists, crossing your arms across your chest and turning from side to side until you feel that maximum pull as you rotate, and don’t forget to give your eyes a break too by looking away into the distance for around 20 seconds. So, set yourself regular, hourly alarms to remind you it’s time to carry out your stretches to alleviate those tight muscles and joints.
3. Check Your Workspace
Making sure that you are positioned at your desk in the most ergonomically friendly way for you while being seated at your desk all day is important too. As such, your chair is the number one piece of furniture you should invest in for your health.
There are so many types of chairs you can opt for (like kneeling chairs, saddle chairs, balance ball chairs, ergonomic chairs and more). This Which? article does a great job of explaining your options and their pros and cons.
The next item on your shopping list should be your desk. Whether you like the more traditional office desk or something a bit more modern, picking one that is the right size for your workspace and of a height that ensures you are seated in the optimum seating position to maintain a healthy posture is key. You should also make sure it can house all your essential work tools, be it a computer, a second screen, a printer or your phone.
Although still a relatively novel concept, many entrepreneurs find that they feel more productive when they work standing up. Nowadays, you can buy stand-up desks (including ones that manoeuvre from sitting to standing positions or have a walking machine attached) that enable users to work in an upright position. You may find that working at a desk like this will help relieve any posture problems caused by sitting all day and that you’ll enjoy the scope to move around more freely.
4. Choose To Eat For Your Health
It can be all too easy to grab an unhealthy snack from the local shop or the nearest thing from the kitchen for lunch when you are busy running your own business. However, opting for healthy snacks such as fruit and nuts while making healthy lunch choices can help you stay on track both physically and mentally.
Your blood sugar levels respond to the food you put into your body. When we eat too many empty carbs (foods high in sugar and low in protein) our blood sugar levels spike, only to come crashing down a few hours later and, as a result, we just want to have a sleep mid-afternoon.
5. Opt For Healthy Drinks
What you drink can also make a difference to your health, so consume lots of water and herbal teas instead of filling up on drinks that are high in caffeine or sugar.
6. Make Time For Exercise
If you really are unable to find time during the day to walk or exercise then schedule a period at the beginning or end of the day for some me-time, you’ll feel so much better if you set aside 30 minutes to an hour on a regular basis to exercise. How about setting the alarm an hour earlier to go out for a run or walk or head to the gym on your way home from work? Either way, finding the time to fit exercise in will have a positive impact on your health, body and wellbeing.
7. Take Some Time Out
Spending long periods of time at your desk can be lonely, especially if you’re working remotely. It’s therefore very important for your mental health to remember to connect with people – whether by text, telephone call, social media or face-to-face. Make plans for after work, whether to attend a gym class, go jogging with a friend, meet a colleague for a drink or sit down with your family for a relaxing meal – and don’t talk shop!
8. Manage Stress Effectively
Stress can have a major impact on both your mental and physical health. Therefore, to alleviate stress, consider using techniques such as mindfulness (which I discuss in my recent blog) or listen to some relaxing music or a podcast for ten minutes just to refocus.
While you might be concerned that there’s not enough time in the day to get all your tasks completed if you spend time away from your busy schedule to adopt a healthier lifestyle, there is a solution. A Virtual Assistant (VA) can be booked to take away your tasks in order to free up a little space in your calendar for some time for yourself. Furthermore, a VA can even help you to make healthier lifestyle choices by ordering healthy meals, booking personal trainers and even arranging food deliveries. So, don’t worry about taking your foot off the gas for a short time, a VA can easily take care of things for you.
Do you need flexible business support and want to make savings by hiring a VA? Get in touch!
qVirtual – Virtual Assistant Solutions