Create a Healthy Workspace

Author: Bree Maloney, Manager

Many people spend seven or more hours each day in their offices or workspaces, but most rarely think about how those cubicles or rooms impact their health. The following tips will help you feel as happy and healthy in the office as you do at home. 

  1. The Power of Plants: Fresh flowers or plants alter your brain chemistry and make you feel more positive. In fact, studies have proven that exposure to plants and view of vegetation reduces stress, anxiety, restores attentional capacity and improves overall performance on a variety of cognitive tasks in the workplace. Some plants require some forethought due to certain conditions such as light, air conditions and periods where the office is empty. Plants that thrive in an office are: 
    1. Aloe
    2. Cactus or succulents
    3. Snake plants
    4. Rubber plants
    5. Peace Lily
    6. Orchid
  2. Get the Right Chair: If you’re sitting in it all day, shouldn’t it be doing your back and body some favors? Look for one that has low-back support and adjustable height and arm rests. You should be sitting straight with your knees bent and at 90-degree angles to your ankles. Don’t sit cross-legged for long periods of time. When you sit this way, your spine isn’t straight, and it’s difficult to square your hips and shoulders, upping your chances of back pain. You’re also cutting off blood flow, which increases your risk of varicose veins.
  3. Splash Some Color:  Though you likely can’t paint your office walls, you can add accessories for an instant mood booster.
    1. Reds and violets stimulate your body and cause it to pump more adrenaline. In fact, one British study found that Olympians who wore red body suits in their competitions won more often than those who wore blue. The reason: the researchers think the color red evokes more energy.
    2. Green and yellow evoke feelings of happiness and make you feel more upbeat. In fact, one study out of Amsterdam found that adults reported feeling happier when around these two colors.
    3. Blue is a calming color, and people respond better to challenging tasks when they’re surrounded by it, according to research from Missouri University of Science and Technology.
  4. Reduce Headaches: Many headache causers lurk in office spaces. Identifying them can help you ward them off—and their accompanying headaches.
    1. Keep smells to a minimum: Perfumes, candles, hand lotions—they’re all possible culprits if you have a sensitivity to scents. Don’t have them in your office. Politely ask colleagues not to wear heavy perfumes, too. Keep an aspirin-acetaminophen combination over-the-counter medicine (such as Excedrin) handy if all else fails.
    2. Ward off hunger: For some people, skipping lunch is the fastest way to five o’clock, but doing so may trigger a headache. Low blood sugar is the problem here. But don’t pick up a candy bar for a quick cure. You’ll need something with a mix of protein and carbs—such as peanut butter on wheat toast—to keep you feeling strong longer.
    3. Beat poor posture: That’s right—your posture may be causing more than just back pain. Slouching at your desk can put a strain on your neck, which may lead to tension headaches. Adopt proper chair posture, and these headaches should be a thing of the past.

Creating a workspace that surrounds your personality will also help create an environment that keeps your spirits up. Though work can be stressful, having an outlet where you can surround yourself with stress-reducing objects and plants will boost your happy hormones! 

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

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