Do you suffer from neck pain, tired eyes, or even headache after a long day at work? Digital devices have become our daily companions assisting us in work and life. In fact, I could use a shoulder rub right now. Sitting all day in front of a computer is a modern form of torture, and the mental and physical strain we feel are warning signals. According to the World Health Organisation, insufficient physical activity is the fourth-leading risk factor for death for people all around the world. Ignoring these early symptoms can lead to long-term health problems, so let’s learn how to get the upper hand in the technology power play...
Let’s start with the laptop setup. Bad posture can cause back injury because learning forward at too much of an angle puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the neck. It’s suggested to adjust your seat to an upright angle where your feet are flat on the floor, and make sure your back is well supported. The keyboard and the monitor should be adjusted at a right angle to your shoulders so your arms and wrists are positioned comfortably (read through the guidelines).
Studies have shown that the blue light of the computer display can negatively affect the human eye and cause eye strain. To protect your eyes from the blue light, you should let your eyes rest every 20 minutes after staring at digital displays. Focusing on a distant object, or just looking out the window are great habits to get into. Looking at some green plants (myth: green color can relax your eyes), it can stir positive emotions and give your eyes a couple of moments to relax (check out tips on workplace greenery).
Using your mouse and keyboard in the same position for an extended period of time can lead to repetitive strain injury, causing muscle, tendon, or nerve, aching and stiffness. While repetitive strain injury often occurs for individuals working in manual labour positions, it actually assumes around a third of all workplace injuries, as extensive use of a keyboard and mouse are noted as contributing factors. Doing light stretching exercises on your break can work wonders. Set an alarm to remind yourself to regularly stand up and walk around instead of being glued to your chair. Take a short walk to the pantry, get yourself a coffee, and spend some time chatting with others.
We rely so heavily on digital devices for communication and it’s virtually impossible to unplug even when we’re off work. But remaining glued to your device in your downtime will only further aggravate your workday discomfort, affecting all aspects of your life. Getting active is not only beneficial for your physical well-being, as being social without the media is an important component of our mental well-being too. Make plans to go out with family and friends, and try not to share the experience on Instagram, but just enjoy the company. Going on a hike is a great choice in Hong Kong. The important thing to remember is to utilize your leisure time to develop your hobbies and relax.
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