Author – Brenda Horton is the president of Hware, LLC., an online training and software company for small businesses.
Before I got into the software business in 2008, I worked in real estate. My days were filled with frequent face-to-face interactions and constant movement from one house tour to another.That all changed when I took on the role of sales and marketing for Hware. I went from outside sales to online sales where I was sitting in front of my computer monitor for 12-14 hours a day. My body made it very clear to me that it did not like the change. One day about six months after leaving real estate, I felt a pain from my neck down to my lower back. I ignored it and proceeded to do my normal morning yoga routine. That exacerbated the problem. Hint: When your body has pain, that’s its way of letting you know that something is wrong. Don’t ignore it. After three months of chiropractic appointments, a lot of back rest, massage therapists, and light walking, my back began to heal.
Fast-forward two years later, I believe I have found a great tool for maintaining a healthy back. If you are like me where you work on your computer for many hours throughout the day, you know that taking frequent breaks is critical to your health. However, it is easy to forget to take those necessary time-outs, especially if you are engrossed in what you are doing. That is why I have Time Out by Dejal installed on my iMac computer. The best part about this Freeware is that it gradually comes on your computer to remind you to take a break. You can set the timer to your preference.
I recommend you look away from your computer every 20 minutes for 30 seconds and slowly rotate your neck from left to right. This will give your eyes and neck a break. I also recommend you stand up and move your body every hour for 10 minutes. Go for a brisk walk or stretch. Because I am desk-bound throughout my day, I also make sure I watch at least two 30 minute educational videos while I lift weights or stretch. Sitting in front of your computer monitor all day does not need to be torturous, you just need to be proactive and incorporate some good tools and systems.
For you Windows and Linux Computer Users there is Workwave.org. Since I am a Mac user, I have no personal experience with Workwave, but it looks like it is worth exploring.
Digital Performance Eyewear
Another vulnerable area that is frequently strained from staring at a computer monitor all day is our eyes. I frequently listen to Mixergy (high-tech startup interviews) on my iPhone as I take my daily one hour break on nearby hiking trails. While getting some fresh air and moving my body in nature, I recently heard about a company called Gunnar, a digital performance eyewear company. In the interview, Jennifer Michelsen, the founder of Gunnar said that she started the company with her kids in mind because she believes the digital world is becoming more and more ubiquitous and her kids are growing up in that environment. If you are getting frequent headaches, eye fatigue or a stiff neck, you might want to check out this company too. It could be that your eye strain is the culprit and Gunnar just might be able to help. Note: I have never tried any Gunnar product nor am I an a affiliate.
Our bodies were not designed to sit for long hours in front of our computer monitors and it can certainly take a toll on us. As the digital world continues to expand and become more pervasive, it’s important to remember to bring balance into our lives.