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5 Ways to Stay Healthy at Work

Published: Dec 27, 2010 06:38:15 AM IST
Updated: Dec 27, 2010 08:09:53 AM IST
5 Ways to Stay Healthy at Work
Image: Durgadatt Pandey

Cut the Noise
Keyboards clattering, doors opening and closing and, yes, voices, don’t just distract, they actually increase stress levels, studies show*. Which can lead to bad moods, lack of concentration and fatigue. Try noise cancelling headphones or speakers (but they work best where noise is regular, like the hum of machinery). To tone down distracting voices, try sound-masking systems that create low-level background noise, like the sound of running water, which dampens the sound outside your immediate area.

Care for Your Eyes
Headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes; common complaints for computer users. Reduce eye strain and dry eyes by following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Position your computer so that there is no reflected glare  on the screen. And try to position the screen so that you gaze downward at about 14°.  

Manage that Anger
Anger does not always result in fist-fights or throwing pencils, but it does affect performance. ‘Letting it all out,’ say studies*, is taken as an excuse to hurt the object of your anger. Instead, identify what causes anger and learn to control those triggers. Try repeating a phrase like ‘take it easy’ that will help
calm you.

Straighten Up
Back ache? Stiff shoulders? Neck pain? It may simply be bad posture. To prevent further damage, get an adjustable chair that supports your back and lets you sit with your thighs parallel to the ground. Use a lumbar pillow to keep your back in the right position. Make sure your elbow is resting comfortably in a straight line when you are typing. And take 5 minutes every hour or so to stretch. Load reminders on your computer or phone to help you.

Breathe Free  
ACs cool things off, but they can also cause allergy flare-ups, air-borne respiratory infections and sinus problems. To control microbes that cause allergies and infections, control humidity: Use a dehumidifier.  Get fresh air often, but be careful about sudden temperature changes if you have to step in and out of office. Keep a light jacket handy for cooler areas.

*By the American Psychological Association

(Research: Sveta Basraon, Nilofer D’Souza; Advice: Vikram Sheel Kumar, MD)

(This story appears in the 31 December, 2010 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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