6 Simple Things You Can Do To Reset After Working at a Desk for 8+ Hours


We’ve all been there: Glued to our screens, slogging away through back-to-back meetings, spreadsheets, reports, or emails for more than eight hours straight. We're living in an age where a desk-based job, either in the office or from the comfort of home, is a common part of our everyday lives. However, a mounting body of research shows that prolonged sitting at a desk can have numerous adverse effects on our physical and mental health. As vital as our jobs may be, it's equally important to take care of our wellbeing, ensuring we remain active, focused, and recharged for the long haul.

We explore six simple but effective ways to hit the reset button after a long day at the desk. These strategies are designed to mitigate the potential drawbacks of an 8-hour-plus desk job, help you rejuvenate, and enhance your productivity in the long run. From stretching and exercises, to conscious relaxation and nutrition, these tips will guide you towards a balanced work life and a healthier you.

1/ Separate Yourself from Your Workspace

One of the first things you should do after clocking out is to physically separate yourself from your workspace. This is particularly crucial if you work from home, where the lines between personal life and work life can easily blur. Having a designated work area and leaving it after your workday helps create a mental barrier between 'work' and 'home'. It sends a signal to your brain that work has ended, which can help reduce stress and improve work-life balance. Try making a habit of tidying up your workspace at the end of the day - it not only provides closure but also makes the start of your next workday more inviting.

2/ Do Some Simple Stretches

Sitting for prolonged periods can lead to tight muscles, particularly in your back, neck, and shoulders. Simple stretching exercises can help alleviate these tensions. Neck rotations, shoulder rolls, and torso twists are quick and easy stretches that can be done even in a small space. You might also consider yoga poses like the 'cat-cow' stretch or 'downward-facing dog', which are effective at stretching several muscle groups at once. These stretches can increase blood circulation and flexibility, easing muscle discomfort and promoting overall well-being.

3/ Focus on Something That Isn't Screens

After spending hours looking at your computer, tablet, or phone screen, your eyes could use a break. Prolonged screen time can cause digital eye strain, with symptoms including dryness, blurred vision, and headaches. Try to engage in an activity that doesn't involve screens - read a physical book, cook a meal, or work on a craft project. This not only gives your eyes a well-deserved rest but also stimulates different parts of your brain, fostering creativity and reducing mental fatigue.

4/ Make Some Time for Movement

Apart from stretching, incorporating some form of physical activity into your routine after a long day of work is essential. Exercise boosts endorphins, known as 'feel-good hormones', which can help improve mood and energy levels. You don't need to hit the gym for an intense workout session - even a 20-minute walk, a quick cycling round, or a fun dance routine can do wonders. The idea is to get your heart rate up and body moving, shaking off the lethargy that might set in after hours of sitting.

5/ Do a Mindfulness Exercise

Mindfulness exercises can help clear your mind, reducing stress and anxiety after a long day. This could be as simple as a 5-minute meditation where you focus on your breath, or it could involve a guided visualisation where you imagine a peaceful place. You might also try gratitude journaling, where you write down things you're grateful for each day. These practices can help shift your focus from work-related concerns to the present moment, promoting relaxation and a more positive outlook.

6/ Get Outside

Finally, try to spend some time outdoors. Natural environments can have a calming effect, reducing stress and improving mood. A walk in a park, a picnic by the lake, or simply sitting in your garden can help you disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with nature. Even if you live in a densely populated city, a quick walk around the block or a moment on your balcony to enjoy the sunset can make a difference. Exposure to natural light can also help regulate your sleep-wake cycle, promoting better sleep and overall health.

Incorporating these simple practices into your routine can go a long way in mitigating the physical and mental toll of long desk hours. By taking care of your physical well-being and nurturing a healthy work-life balance, you can boost your productivity and overall job satisfaction. After all, a refreshed mind and a relaxed body are the foundations of a fulfilling professional life.


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