Back when I was a lawyer (which seems pretty hard to believe, now that I have achieved my life’s ambition of a career in which I can wear yoga pants 24-7), I worked a LOT.
I articled in 2007 – to this day, still the busiest year for mergers & acquisitions in Canadian financial history with around $315 billion in transactions. My part in that was restricted mostly to all night marathon photocopying sessions and making sure all the documents were where they were supposed to be and signed correctly, but it still involved tonnes of time at the office.
It took a toll on me that I can barely even comprehend, now that I’m looking back on it. The health problems that began when I was there ranged from long term & chronic (I still grind my teeth), to the just plain weird (I used to get tiny little blisters all over my fingers when things were really crazy).
9 years and several jobs later, I can admit that I’m curious. If I’d known then what I now know about healthy movement, would it have been so bad? The hours would still have been bonkers, but there are sooooo many ways to make your office healthier by moving more. Maybe I would have lasted longer if I’d had a standing desk, tossed my super high lady-lawyer heels, and taken a few more walking breaks. I would have saved a lot of money on shoes, for sure!
I’ll never know, but I do want to share one of my go-to tips that I use all the time when I have a lot of computer work on my plate. This is especially great if you wear glasses or get tension headaches – or just want to keep your eyes in tip top shape.
Did you know that you use muscles to focus your eyes? When you’re always looking at books, screens and other super close-range objects, your eye muscles get tight & tense. Eventually this can lead to headaches and eyestrain – and eventually even nearsightedness and glasses (there’s a lot of interesting research about the causes of myopia, and it seems reasonable to suggest that genetics is only part of it – spending lots of time looking at close-up stuff and spending almost no time looking at far away stuff is likely the cause).
Fortunately, it’s really easy to relax your eyes, just by taking 15-20 seconds to look at something far away. Note – this is different from ‘not looking at something close up’. You need to actively focus on something reasonably far off – 30 feet at least.
At the office, head over to a window and scan for stuff that is more than 30 feet away. I usually try to pick a tree to look at – see if you can spot a squirrel!
I try for 2-3 of these super simple eye breaks every hour, and I really notice the difference if I don’t take them. My sight gets blurry and my eyes feel more tired. I use the free Time Out app to make sure I take them – it’s annoying, but it works! Or just set an alarm (but definitely do make sure you use technology to help you here – otherwise you’ll suddenly realize 3 hours have passed without a pause). For best results, do this without your glasses on.
Taking eye breaks may not feel like it’s a big deal, but it can make a huge difference to your eyes over the course of your lifetime. And it’s something that you can integrate into your time at the office because it’s quick, easy and doesn’t require a change of clothes. If you give eye breaks a try this week, hop over to my Facebook page and let me know what you think!
Save your eyes with this simple trick! Tweet this.
P.S. If you enjoyed this, there’s sooooo much more you can try! Starting March 2, I’m going to be teaching a new round of The Office Antidote, a six week workshop focused on giving you the tools you need to save your body from chairs & screens. This could be the right class for you if your personal goals for 2016 include:
- Feeling way more amazing than you did in 2015;
- Decreasing muscle tightness and joint pain;
- Taking simple & concrete steps to care for your health;
- And using cutting edge movement science to fight the impacts of chairs, screens & keyboards!
In each session, you’ll get a great workout. But more importantly, you’ll learn the essential body alignment secrets that you need if you want to stay in tip top working order for an entire lifetime. I’ll be giving you take-home exercises that will help you reshape your body, and a tonne of handy tips that will basically let you work out on company time.
You can register over at Boomerang Pilates.