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How To: Stay Healthy in the Workplace

Jennifer Thompson

Jane Farrelly

Feeling drained and achy after a long day at your desk? It might be time to assess your work space and behaviour and make some simple changes to help relieve the tension and create a healthier lifestyle in and outside the workplace. To help point you in the right direction, we pick the brains of certified osteopath Jane Farrelly of City Osteopathy.

After spending a full day sitting still and staring at a computer screen the mind, body, and soul can feel drained and fatigued. However, it only takes a few simple changes to create a healthier workplace so you can make the most of your life outside of work too.

5 Tips for Staying Healthy in the Workplace

  1. Create a Comfortable Work Space
    It’s important to ensure that you are comfortable in your work space and that you have your desk set up in an ergonomically ideal manner. This arrangement is individual and will vary depending on your body shape. It’s helpful to have a specialist such as an osteopath or an occupational therapist assess this space regularly, but in the meantime here are a few things to try and avoid:
    – Avoid sitting with your neck or spine rotated
    – Try not to cross your legs whilst sitting
    – Your monitor should be at eye level so you are looking straight at it
    – Talking on the phone for prolonged periods with your neck tilted can cause headaches and neck pain; use a hands-free or speaker phone to prevent this
  2. Move Around
    This one can be hard to remember as we get involved in our work and become complacent. Pain or feeling stiff is usually what prompts us to take action, but being pro-active and moving more during the working day can prevent this. It’s important to get up every hour, take a short walk around the office, or grab a glass of water. If you can go for a walk at lunch you should return feeling clear-headed and ready for an afternoon of hard work.
  3. Drink Plenty of Water
    Air conditioning, heating, coffee, tea, and your commute to work on the MTR all cause substantial dehydration. This will lead to fatigue, lack of concentration, headaches, and musculoskeletal pain. Try taking a 1 liter bottle of water to work and make sure you’ve finished it before lunch time. Fill it up and finish it again before the end of the work day.
  4. Eat Nutritious Food
    It’s important to try to eat healthily whilst at work. When you are sedentary all day it’s very difficult to burn a lot of energy unless you are very active at other times. Stop reaching for that mid-afternoon chocolate hit and opt for a piece of fruit or some raw nuts instead. Do not store high sugar snacks at your desk, but if you do want the occasional chocolate treat, it can be used as an opportunity to go for a walk.
  5. Take care of your eyes
    Staring at a computer screen for hours can lead to repetitive strain injury (RSI) of your eye muscles. Research shows that 50 to 90% of people who work in front of computers all day can develop Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), which causes symptoms such as blurred vision, double vision, eye irritation, eye discomfort, headaches, and neck or back pain. Try to look up from your computer every 20 minutes and focus on something far away. It is important to exercise your eyes as well!

More Tips! Find out HOW TO: Lose Weight in 6 Steps from IMI, HOW TO: Manage Stress from Shakti Healing Circle, or HOW TO: Become a Healthier Hong Konger.


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