Add up the number of hours you spend in your office. How does that compare to the number of waking hours you spend at home? Close to the same? Many people spend seven or more hours each day in their offices, but most rarely think about how those cubes or rooms impact their health. These tips will help you feel as healthy and happy in the office as you do at home.
Get the Right Chair
If you're sitting in it all day, shouldn't it be doing your back and body some favors? Look for one that has low-back support and adjustable height and arm rests. You should be sitting straight with your knees bent and at 90-degree angles to your ankles. Don't sit cross-legged for long periods of time. When you sit this way, your spine isn't straight, and it's difficult to square your hips and shoulders, upping your chances of back pain. You're also cutting off blood flow, which increases your risk of varicose veins.
Invest in a Headset
Pinning the phone between your shoulder and ear is an instinctive move for many—but it could be doing a number in your neck and back. Use a headset or speakerphone on longer phone calls. (Just be aware of neighbors if you're speaking with a speakerphone).
Many headache causers lurk in offices. Identifying them can help you ward them off—and their accompanying headaches.
Keep Smells to a Minimum
Perfumes, candles, hand lotions—they're all possible culprits if you have a sensitivity to scents. Don't have them in your office. Politely ask colleagues not to wear heavy perfumes, too. Keep an aspritin-acetaminophen combination over-the-counter medicine (such as Excedrin) handy if all else fails.
Ward off Hunger
For some people, skipping lunch is the fastest way to five o'clock, but doing so may trigger a headache. Low blood sugar is the problem here. But don't pick up a candy bar for a quick cure. You'll need something with a mix of protein and carbs—such as peanut butter on wheat toast—to keep you feeling strong longer.
Beat Poor Posture
That's right—your posture may be causing more than just back pain. Slouching at your desk can put a strain on your neck, which may lead to tension headaches. Adopt proper chair posture, and these headaches should be a thing of the past.
Splash Happy Colors
Though you likely can't paint your office walls, you can add accessories for an instant mood booster.
- Reds and violets stimulate your body and cause it to pump more adrenaline. In fact, one British study found that Olympians who wore red body suits in their competitions won more often than those who wore blue. The reason: the researchers think the color red evokes more energy.
- Green and yellow evoke feelings of happiness and make you feel more upbeat. In fact, one study out of Amsterdam found that adults reported feeling happier when around these two colors.
- Blue is a calming color, and people respond better to challenging tasks when they're surrounded by it, according to research from Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Bring in Some Flowers
Flowers can alter your brain chemistry and make you feel more positive. In fact, one study from Harvard Medical School found that people who kept fresh-cut flowers in their house reported less anxiety and felt more compassionate toward others. Another reason to keep some buds in your cube: women have more innovative ideas and solutions to problems when fresh flowers are near, according to research from Texas A&M University.