Have you noticed the environment in which you work is hazardous to your health?
Take for example, sitting. By now you have probably heard that sitting is considered “the new smoking.” It seems the more we sit, the more our health is compromised.
And sitting is exactly what we do – often for over 10 hours a day.
When we sit for long periods of time, we increase our risk for having a heart attack. We also increase our risk for developing diseases such as obesity, cancer, depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
These sitting illnesses are the exact diseases we experience when we smoke. Only, most of us are not smoking, we are simply sitting.
In addition to sitting for hours-on-end, a second equally destructive health risk is a phenomenon known as ‘screen or email apnea,’ a condition where individual’s use shallow breathing or they hold their breathe while in front of a screen.
This condition was first coined by Linda Stone in 2008. It is thought that nearly 80% of us fall prey to shallow breathing or holding our breathes while we perform simple tasks like emails or texts.
Like sitting, the health risks associated with ‘screen apnea’ can negatively impact your health.
When you hold your breathe or use shallow breathing, your body responds as if it is under stress, activating your sympathetic nervous system. With this activation, a cascade of hormones are released.
Over time and without proper care to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, our body starts to break down and our health is compromised.
So, what’s a person to do?
Deskercise + Deep Breathing
Step one is to be aware of this increased risk. The more awareness you have, the more control you have to counter this risk.
Ask yourself the following questions: Do I hold my breathe while I work on a screen? How often do I step away from my computer, tablet or smart phone and move during the day?
Once you are more aware, step two is being mindful during your day to pause from your work and intentionally incorporate stretches and deep breathing.
Concept Seating gives you some excellent ways to stretch and move your body throughout the day, all while at your desk! Check out their graphic here!
Spending 1 minute every hour on stretches such as these, along with the mindful breathing, can greatly reduce your risk for stress in the short-term and disease and illness in the long-term.
Isn’t your health worth it?
To help build this habit into your day, I recommend setting an alarm on your phone or using a post-it note stuck to your computer as a gentle reminder to make time in your day to pause, breathe, and move.
If you are reading this post and feeling overwhelmed by your job, the demands placed on you, and are concerned about your short and long-term health, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Life is too short to be living life stressed out, burnt-out, and exhausted. There is hope and a better way – one filled with joy, peace, and contentment.