When I started my co-op term, I was really surprised that nearly everyone I worked with was twice my age. One colleague even commented that she owned a pair of shoes that were older than me! Being surrounded by senior professionals was good exposure to different perspectives and experiential wisdom. I gathered many tips from my colleagues; a few of which was to travel often while young and to treasure my time in school. However, the most influential suggestion I received was to prioritize taking care of my health as early as possible.
It was not uncommon for me to overhear my colleagues booking appointments with doctors, physiotherapists and chiropractors on a daily basis for reoccurring health issues. They advised me to start taking care of my body NOW so I wouldn’t be paying large amounts of money (and time) to fix myself later on. Despite their investments in ergonomic keyboards, aerobic balls and standing desks, they told me that age is an irreversible process; that there is little I can do to sustain a strong and healthy condition as our bodies naturally decay over time. We can only prolong the aging process.
As a student, this never crossed my mind while I typed essays for hours on end in slouchy and uncomfortable positions. As a young professional in the work force, however, I know I need to build life-long habits now that will impact my future well-being. Below is a short list of small things I now do on a daily basis to combat body deterioration from the 9 to 5 office-life:
Spending all day staring at a monitor definitely isn’t doing any good for your eye-sight. If you haven’t already, you can download an application that tints and filters your screen according to the time of day. I use F.Lux which turns my screen to a dimmer orange hue after the sun sets. It’s also good to stare off into the distance after a long session on the computer to relax your eyes.
We all know how difficult it can be to reserve time for the gym every day. That is why desk exercises exist; they range from simple stretches to strenuous, seated leg raises.
Aside from the basics of sitting up straight, arms at 90 degrees, computer screen at eye-level, it is good to invest in back supports for your office chair. They also serve as constant reminders to keep your posture on point.
Some people can be too focused on their work they forget to stay hydrated! Dehydration causes sleepiness and hunger. It’s a good idea to continuously sip on some liquid that isn’t coffee or soda.
You will be more focused and efficient at work when you’re well rested. It will also help you stay away from binging on coffee and energy drinks on a daily basis. My motto used to be “work hard, sleep when you’re dead”, but now I realize you can’t enjoy your success when your body isn’t healthy.