Today there are millions of Americans who support themselves with what they would refer to as a “desk job.” One of the most common means of making a living in this country, there are also many who would consider it one of the most harmless. But there is significant evidence that the everyday, run of the mill desk job may be negatively impacting our lives in many ways, just due to the nature of the work itself.
1.) Eye Strain – if you have a desk job then it is overwhelmingly likely that you have a computer at that desk. And you may be staring at that computer screen for hours at a time. This can add up to pose significant strain for our eyes. Prolonged computer use has become so widespread and commonplace that eye problems which arise as a result have been given their own categorization, called computer vision syndrome (CVS). This refers to a wide variety of eye fatigue and strain, and typically comes about due to the repetitive motion your eyes are continually undertaking while using a computer. Depending on what is on your screen or how often the images are changing in your workflow your day could be a marathon of reading, focusing, and refocusing all set to the scan lines, flicker, and glare that is unique to a computer screen.
2.) Weight gain – for many people with a desk job even subtracting the commute they are looking at possibly 8-10 hours of sitting hunched at their desk, with little cause or opportunity for much movement beyond that. If this sedentary position were not enough, the pace and environment of an office job could create situations which lead to poor eating choices and thus affect your waistline. The convenience of going out to eat can cause many to cram an unhealthy meal into an all too brief lunch hour. Office parties, morning doughnuts by the coffee, vending machines, and even the innocuous candy jar on the secretary’s desk can create a constant stream of light snacking that can seem like it’s getting you through the day but in fact is having you consume a hefty dose of calories you may not have needed in the first place.
3.) Stress and Hypertension – most work involves a certain degree of stress. While a desk job may not have the apparent occupational hazards of working on, say, a deep sea fishing expedition, there are definitely circumstances and hard choices that build up stress that can’t help but affect your life. It can be vexing just commuting to work, completing your shift, then heading back home on a set schedule. But if you’re always fighting your way out of a heavy workload or suddenly find yourself chasing down a deadline this may lead to you working longer and later hours than you were originally scheduled. If this happens with any regularity, then it will likely affect your schedule and ability to have a decent night’s sleep. Over time this disruption of your sleep cycle can wear you down and raise the stress associated with your workweek. And that’s Assuming your boss or management isn’t on your case and adding that particular brand of tension to deal with.
These examples are not meant to paint an irredeemably bleak picture of your work situation. If you have a desk job, it is likely an indispensable part of your life. Many people work for an office all the way up to retirement. You may have fought long and hard to find yourself at the job you go to every day. But if we accept that the desk job we hold is going to be a highly critical and involved part of every week, then it behooves us all to find ways to have our work enrich and supplement our lives, not be dominated by it. It may seem like the problems discussed are unavoidable or impractical to overcome. But a lot of the time these problems are so pervasive because they are wrapped up in the routine of our everyday life. They are just so commonplace and ingrained in the culture we may not recognize a problem is even there to be fixed. In truth, most of these problems have real solutions that we can act upon. If we are going to encounter these problems and situations practically every day, then we have to be prepared to have a response or solution ready nearly every day as well:
- Taking deliberate and periodic breaks to rest your eyes can cut down on eye strain and fatigue.
- Packing meals ahead of time or dining out within limits you set ahead of time can encourage better eating choices and lead to more energy.
- Making sure to set aside a little time for periodic exercise throughout the week or even being mindful of stretching at your desk several times a day can reduce stress and help you deal with the rigors of the job.
- Another solution worth looking into is regular chiropractic care.
Chiropractic Care As A Solution
The nerves in your neck and back are important for maintaining and regulating your body’s finer movement and functions. As mentioned before, one of the tendencies of working at a desk is assuming a hunched, studious posture for hours at a time. When you multiply this by the numerous days you show up to work, the strain on these nerves can add up and eventually prevent them from firing properly, opening a whole other avenue of health problems. Chiropractic care can specifically address this issue by rehabilitating the nerve connections throughout your back and body, and through restoring joint motion and general coordination.
Many companies are starting to become mindful of their employee’s health and how it may affect the efficiency of their workforce. While not available in every work environment your organization may have wellness programs you can inquire about.
There are times where it may seem like your desk job really isn’t your friend. Like a problematic roommate or stressful acquaintance, it may be a constant and significant source of stress in your life. But for most of us, our jobs are here to stay, possibly for a very long time. It is essential to manage your health and utilize your environment to ensure you can perform your job for as long and as well as you need to.