9 Hacks To Make Your Desk A Healthier Place

You spend basically your whole life there, so you may as well make it good for you.

1. Adjust your screen

When you think of being healthier, your first thought might not be about your sightbut when you're staring at a screen for 8+ hours a day, it's easy for your eyes to get damaged. It's obviously impossible to avoid smartphones, computers, and tablets altogether, but you can minimize the impact as much as possible with little tweaks, like increasing font sizes so you don't squint, reducing the brightness, and holding all screens directly in front of your face so you're not awkwardly kinking your neck. Many workplaces offer subsidized (or in some cases, even free) eye tests too, so make sure you take advantage.

2. Sort out your chair

Fixing your posture is one of the simplest ways to improve your in-office health. If it's a realistic option, you could try a standing desk, or replacing your seat with an exercise ball to prevent you from hunching over all day. However, if you're in the 99% of offices that only offer a bog-standard wheeled computer chair (excellent for chair-racing, not so great for your back), at least make sure it's set up for you. Comfortable seating varies from person to person, but at the very least, your feet should be flat on the floor when you sit, the back height should be adjusted to support your body, and your elbows should be around the same height as your workstation.

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3. Invest in a jug

Or a nice fancy glass bottle. Basically anything that holds two litres of water. And drink it. All. Staying hydrated is great for everything from your organs to your concentration levelsbut if you need further convincing, here's what loading up on H2O can do for your skin. Some people advise using smaller cups, as this means you'll have to get up more often to refill them, but it also makes it difficult to track how much you've actually consumedand lots of people simply don't have 8+ breaks a day to fill up a glass, meaning that they actually end up drinking even less. Of course, stretching your legs is still importantwhich brings us to…

4. Set a timer

Whether it's an alert in your Outlook calendar or an alarm on your phone, find a way to remind yourself to get up at regular intervals throughout the day. Stand while you talk on the phone, read printed out reports while pacing the office, anything to get off your bum for a minute. Experts recommend moving around every 30 minutes, but if that's not realistic with your workload, do it at least every hour, and try to go for a walk at lunch to balance things out. Use the time make a cup of coffee, stroll to a colleague's desk and ask them that question you were going to email about, go for the pee you've been desperately needing for the last hour (come on, we all do it), or if you're really lucky, go outsidea break from your screen could be just what you need for a genius idea to strike.

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5. Rethink your snacks

Unless you've got a tiny appetite, you're probably going to succumb to snack time at work. Health-wise, this can either be great or disastrous, depending on what you choose. Fill your work drawer with nuts, dried fruit, or *genuinely* healthy cereal bars. Snacks like this mean you'll a) never go hungry, and b) always have a nutritious alternative to that epic slice of chocolate birthday cake you seem to be offered at least once a week (seriously, how can someone be turning 30 every Wednesday?!).

6. Rest your wrists

Your wrists are one of the few parts of you that is constantly moving at your deskand that's why it's so important to give them proper support. In addition to adjusting your seat and desk properly (see item 2), if you often find your wrists feeling sore or achy, you might want to consider getting a wrist rest, which is essentially a strip of padded foam or gel that cushions your wrists and helps to prevent common frequent-typer conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive strain injury. Ask the company to invest in one for you, but even if you have to shell out yourself, it's a small price to pay for strong, healthy joints.

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7. Get a plant

Not just because they're pretty! Studies have shown that having a pot plant on your desk can help reduce fatigue and cuts symptoms of everything from headaches to coughs and sore throats. It's not known for sure whether the effect is physical (fresh oxygen is good for you) or psychological (looking at nature boosts your mood), but workplaces with a good supply of foliage tend to have lower rates of sick leave and stressand their presence makes people more productive too! Just remember to water it as regularlythey hate being dehydrated just as much as you do! 

8. Clean up daily

We don't mean shuffling that mountainous stack of papers into a sort-of pile at the end of the daywe mean getting a pack of anti-bacterial wipes and giving everything a thorough wipe down. It's an extra chore to add to your never-ending to-do list, but keyboards, computer mice, and desk phones are among the top 10 dirtiest places in the average office, and they're breeding grounds for coughs, colds, and all of those other illnesses that always seem to be going around. Just think how often you breathe on your handset every day, or eat a snack over your keyboard and get crumbs everywhere. Studies show your desk is filthy. Crack out the Lysol and sort it out.

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9. Moisturize

Offices tend to be blasted with overpowering air con, which can wreck havoc with even the most robust of skins. Keep a tube of hand cream within eyesight on your desk to remind you to use it frequently, and stash a facial mist in your drawer (or even better, the office fridge)not only will it freshen up your make up, it'll make your skin look brighter and more hydrated, giving you a lovely, dewy glow.

This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors. 

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