Is Your Job Putting Your Health At Risk? 8 Ways To Survive Cubicle Lifestyle And Take Care Of Your Health
Many of us don't do physical labor for a living. Instead we work in offices and many of us automatically assume that cubicle jobs are harmless to our health.
After all we don't carry, lift, move or do anything that requires serious muscle work. All we use are our brain and our hands to move, create and enter data into a computer.
Probably the only physical activity we do during our work hours is to walk to the bathroom, bring some water, walk over to a colleague to consult/chat about something and go to lunch.
So, how can an office job like that be harmful to our health? It can be...
The truth is, we are really built to use our muscles, our strength and get physically tired.
What do most of us do 8 hours of our day?
We sit most of the time and hardly even move.
Our posture is stiff, our mind is filled and constantly bombarded with more information, the creativity and fun at work is often minimum (unless you're lucky) and most of us are afraid to fail, because it's expected for us to produce results. Therefore, we do as expected, produce results as expected but don't put our heart into what we do.
Let's take a closer look at some of the workplace factors that can affect our physical and mental health.
When we don't put our heart in our job, we lose and our employers lose (innovation, creativity)
Muscle pain in shoulders
Overwhelming amount of information
Job design doesn't fit our personality
We use only our mind most of the day
We look into a computer screen for long periods without blinking our eyes.
We don't have much influence on our work environment
Not enough time/resources/space for creativity
Bad air circulation
Wrong diet (most of us eat as if we perform physical labor, so we gain weight)
So, what are we supposed to do?
Sure, we can always change a job, but every place has it's own good and bad points.
Instead let's take a proactive position and look into how we can taylor our cubicle around our own personality.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
It helps to know which one are you, so you can be aware how you get your energy. There is some misunderstanding on this subject. Sometimes extroverts are perceived as more popular and introverts are considered suitable only for specific workplaces/jobs.
I believe, there is some misunderstanding here. Introverts can be highly outspoken people, very social and fun, but the difference from extroverts is that they regain their energy from solitude, while extroverts get their energy talking to people.
Let's say you had big project you just finished. An extrovert will share the success with coworkers and probably celebrate, while the introvert needs to reboot alone and is then able to join celebration.
Knowing how you reboot your energy will help you take better care of yourself.
Breaks during the day.
In most offices it's not possible to be in a quiet place all the time. Most workplaces are designed in a way that we are forced to interact at all times. Most of the time we take our breaks with our coworkers, because we don't want to be rude, while all we really want is to be on our own for 5-10 minutes without any talks.
If you don't have quiet rooms at your office, go out to get fresh air for 5 min alone. Just take a break from the noise and all the information. Do a quick meditation in the bathroom if you can get away for a few minutes. Refreshing your mind will help make it easier to get through the day.
Notice what foods make you tired.
For example, I've noticed that when I eat only veggies and protein for lunch, and drink water, I'm more likely to feel tired around 2-3 pm. When I eat carbs, my blood sugar drops and those afternoon cravings are on. Snack on healthy foods like nuts, carrots and protein.
Stretch your body.
Do as many stretching exercises as possible at work, especially neck, shoulders, back. Also remember to exchange between the sitting/standing position while you're at your desk. I stand often times at work, because by standing I use my muscles more than simply sitting there.. I have less tension in my shoulders and back. A few yoga stretches every morning does wonders too, both to mind and body.
Let some information go.
Clean your email box and delete 5 emails each day, so they don't pile up. Keep your phone on silent when you need to focus and close that Facebook. See if you feel any difference at the end of the day?
Focus on HOW, not WHAT.
So, you're not crazy about your current job. While you're figuring it out make an effort to give your best. Focus on how you do what you do at your job, not what it is that you do. It changes everything. How we think, what/who we attract to us and besides that you'll feel good knowing you put quality out there even though it's not what you're passionate about. See it as a practice. If you can bring quality to a job you don't love, imagine the standard you can bring to the work you do love. It's all about our own attitude.
Play at work.
Bring what you enjoy to your work. Let's say it's music, books, drawing, photography. Why not carry some music with you and listen to some on your break. Or take your camera out on your way to work. Read when you can. The truth is, if we wait for the perfect moment to do what we love, we're either too tired or simply don't even find time. So, get creative and bring your passion to work.
Let's assume you have 20 min. break and 30 min for lunch. Then you have 20 m x 5 every week in the middle of your cubicle job to actually do what you love and are passionate about. That will affect your state of being and your work too. I promise.
Become an agent of happiness.
This is about work environment you can control. Don't participate it gossiping, surprise your co workers with cake on an average Monday, smile, say good morning, drop your social mask and just be you. Don't buy into the corporate competitive, back stabbing and namedropping. Be true to your core values.