Do you ever find yourself only ever leaving your desk to go to the coffee machine, rubbing your eyes because you’ve been staring at your laptop too long, or maybe realising that you’ve spent more time answering emails than actually talking to people? The 9-5 can be a rabbit hole that we fall into and struggle to get out of as our ever-demanding jobs ask more and more of us. Us humans weren’t designed to sit down all day. We were made to move our bodies and flex our muscles, not stare at a screen! We’ve outlined below four 9-5 desk job problems and the solutions so you can live healthier and, ultimately, happier!
Sitting in a chair for extended periods throughout the day is causing more issues than you might think. Posture-wise, you’re likely to be hunching with your shoulders rolled forwards, which creates weakness and tightness in your shoulders and spine. Your hips will be stuck in a 90-degree angle for most of the day too, which creates tight hip flexors, tight glutes (bum muscles) therefore creating even more problems with your spine.
Solution: Move as much as possible! We find setting an alarm every 30-40 minutes to step away from our desks is really helpful and saves us having to remember! Whether it’s a quick stretch, to get a water refill or to walk around the block, this is an easy way to get your blood flowing again. Try buying or eating your lunch away from the office and set up a target location which will encourage you to get a couple of miles walk in at lunch. Don’t be tempted to book in a lunch meeting. Get up and get out! It’s also important to ask your boss if you can have an assessment of your desk to see if it is in the best position for you, getting a new chair, a prop for your feet or changing the height of your computer screen could make the world of difference. We also suggest getting your self a mini foam roller for either at home or for work. There are lots of tutorials online and they are brilliant for rolling out your back and releasing tension. Trigger Point do amazing rollers which you can check out here. Finally, why not swap out one of your weekly fitness classes for a stretch class or massage? Ten Health and Fitness have studios all over London and their recovery massage is a lifesaver for sore, stressed muscles. We also love Barrecore’s Stretch class, which incorporates fascial release techniques to help muscle recovery and ease aches and pains.
You’re staring at a screen all day (and most likely scrolling on Instagram through lunch and catching up on series 2 of Stranger Things on Netflix in the evenings!) so your eyes are exposed to an awful lot of blue light. Blurred vision and headaches are common signs you’ve had too much screen time but what can we do to fix it?
Solution: Let’s start with the non-essential screen time (we’ll come on to your working environment in a minute). Try downloading the app “Moment” which tracks how many minutes you spend on your phone each day, plus how many times you unlock it. It’s a real eye-opener and you’ll likely be horrified at what you find! In terms of TV time, it’s easy to plonk on the sofa and not leave until it’s time for bed. The key is to fill your evening with other priorities. First of all, try limiting your episode watch to one, maybe 2 if it’s a real cliff-hanger (we’re not trying to be fun killers here!) per evening. That’s likely to be an hour or so of TV time which is plenty. The rest of the evening spend your time cooking up a delicious meal from scratch, running a bubble bath and getting stuck into a book or tidying up. There’s nothing better than waking up in the morning to a tidy house! Onto your working environment – try investing in some blue light blocking glasses! Madeleine Shaw posted on Instagram that she finds them helpful to use to filter out the glare from the screen and they’re not super expensive. Here are some good options. Lastly, we know eating at your desk is convenient and sometimes necessary when it’s pouring with rain outside. Rather than browsing Net-A-Porter’s “Just In” section whilst scoffing your Pret salad, simply try turning your screen off and flick through a magazine instead. Yes, you’re at your desk but at least you’re giving your eyes a rest!
Rush hour commute
Unless you’re a stone’s throw away from your office, it’s safe to say we all dread the rush hour commute. Whether you’re in a car or shoved like a sardine on the tube, it’s not always a pleasant experience. Delayed trains, being squished under a smelly armpit (eww) and traffic jams that make you want to screen! We get it!
Solution: At the end of the day we’re all in it together, it might not feel like it but try and remember everyone around you is going through the same thing! Firstly, get up earlier! Mornings might not be everyone’s favourite time of the day but it’s definitely worth the earlier alarm so you can feel a little less crazy waiting on the platform or sitting in traffic. The rush hour commute can be a great time to set yourself up for the day; try writing your to-do list, sending a text to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while or maybe pop on a podcast? If you want a giggle then ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’ will be right up your street, otherwise download a couple of “How I Built This” episodes or Desert Island Discs to inspire you or learn something you didn’t know. That time on the tube doesn’t have to be wasted time! Lastly, try getting off the tube or bus a few stops earlier to get your blood circulating and to take in some fresh air. Upping your step count is always a good idea and it will actually help give you more energy.
Stress is unavoidable, don’t kid yourself into believing it is. It’s just the way we live and you’re inevitably going to run into it at some stage during your week. We’re not saying it’s good for you…(it really isn’t!) but finding coping strategies is essential if you don’t want to let it get the better of you.
Solution: All of the tips above should help combat stress but other ways we deal with annoying situations is reminding ourselves, it’s not life-threatening. Even if you’ve got an angry boss jumping down your throat, it isn’t life-threatening. You CAN get a new job, you can resolve a situation. It might not seem that way at the time but control your breathing, take a moment and realise it will all be ok. We also love meditation to help centre ourselves. 10/20 minutes in the morning will help ground you for the day ahead and 10/20 minutes in the evening will help you disconnect from your day and help you feel calm. We love apps like Headspace and Madeleine Shaw’s Glow Guides for easy, guided meditation sessions.
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