Healthy Design Practices
Ignore the title of the article. Keeping healthy, no matter what, should be EVERYONE’s goal.
Sitting all day can cause your body so much more harm than you may realize, but for many working professionals, it’s out job to do so.
If you have the kind of job where you’re required to sit in front of a screen for the majority of your day, it can start to cause problems with your eyes, your brain, your body, and sometimes your diet.
Here are some tips to keep yourself in the best shape you can, if you’re an office worker.
Sit up straight
Ever since I started studying design, I’ve noticed my posture get poorer, and I saw it happen to the people around me. Hunching over your laptop is bad for your back, and poor posture leads to more than just back, shoulder, and neck pain. It’s linked to digestive issues, poor breathing habits, headaches, and stress. Always check in with yourself and make sure your back is straight when you’re working. If you can, invest in chairs that promote a healthy posture.
Look away from your screen
All my teachers wore glasses, and made jokes about how all designers have bad vision. Looking at your screen is essentially staring into a light, and that can cause strain on your eyesight. Studies show that eye strain and other bothersome visual symptoms occur in 50 to 90 percent of computer workers. These problems can range from physical fatigue, decreased productivity and increased numbers of work errors, to minor annoyances like eye twitching and red eyes.
There are apps that dim screens further than they are capable of, like F.lux and Easy Eye comes highly recommended, because it adjusts the colour of your screen so that it’s more comfortable to look at.
“f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you’re in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again.”
For phones, there are many different apps that do similar things. It’s also important to remind yourself to look away from your screen, or shut your eyes tight for a few moments every once in a while.
Eat Healthy and Drink Water
Sometimes when you’re focusing on a project that takes a lot of time and concentration, you can forget to get up to drink water, or get some food. If you feel like you’re about to have one of those days, keep a large bottle of water by your desk, along with some snacks. Set reminders to keep yourself hydrated and well fed.
Unless your job requires manual labor, most people spend too much time sitting down. While our modern world is designed for us to move from one seat to another, until we’re lying in bed, our bodies were designed to keep moving throughout the day.
Studies show that sitting all day can lead to worsened concentration, organ damage, muscle degradation, and back aches.
Replacing your desk chair with an exercise ball, or a backless stool, can force you to keep moving a little more behind your desk. Some people choose to get rid of their chairs entirely, and raise the height of their desks, so they have no choice but to be standing and moving.
Taking the time for a work out session either before or after work can show a lot of improvement, not just in the symptoms mentioned before, but in overall health and energy.
Visit a chiropractor and an eye clinic regularly. If there’s a way to mitigate any issues your bad work habits may have caused already, grab that opportunity!
Healthy Design Habits by Deborah Nyamuame for the Thrive blog.