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Mental Health Within The Workplace

Do you spend all day on a computer within your work-place? If so, there is the possibility that it could be detrimental to your mental health.

One particular study carried out by Chiba University in Japan concluded that spending more than 5 hours a day on a computer significantly increases the risk of psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Contributing factors included not taking a break, and a lack of time for social needs such as relaxed conversations.

I’d also add that a ‘stressed body posture’ (head down, hunched shoulders) contributes to the release of the stress hormone cortisol.

Psychology Today reports that too much screen time (consequences of screen addiction) results in grey matter shrinkage and white matter’s ability to communicate within the brain.

If you are spending all day in front of a computer, and then spend a couple of hours trawling the internet at home in the evening, you could be significantly damaging your physical and emotional health.

Knowledge, however, is power.

Knowing the health risks will allow you to re-assess and make changes within your work to minimise negative impact.

To minimise the chances of work-related health problems such as stress and anxiety, follow my top tips below:

  • Take regular breaks. Set a reminder alarm on your watch or phone every hour. Don’t stay sat at your desk during this break. Get up. Walk around. Move your body. Why not get your colleagues on board with this and have a ‘group alarm’ to ensure that everyone takes a break.
  • Ensure that your social needs are being met by having conversations that don’t involve work related topics. If time restricts this, then suggest ways within the business to make this possible. Group lunches work well because everyone takes a break together resulting in more social chit-chat.
  • Change your posture regularly whilst sitting. I highly recommend ‘power posing’. This involves taking up more space with your body and limbs. Make yourself as wide as possible by putting your hands on your hips and sit with your legs apart. Alternatively put your hands behind your hand with your elbows out to the side for a couple of minutes and enjoy the stretch. By power posing, you can significantly reduce stress hormone levels within 2 minutes.
  • Find ways to split your time on the computer. If possible, mix computer time with other tasks interspersed.
  • Do not eat lunch at your computer. Walk away from the desk, and if possible, out of the room. Never accept a working lunch.

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