Let’s be honest, chances are you’re stuck sitting at a desk 40 or more hours a week, right?
And chances are, you’ve got some aches and pains. You’ve got 20-30 pounds to lose, and your body could use a serious tune up.
But there are really only five habits you need to ingrain for better health – mostly pain relief, and a dramatically improved quality of life.
#1 Lower Back Pain? Ditch The Ball, And Learn How to Sit Properly Instead
Alright – I’m tired of hearing these dumb articles about how sitting on a ball or standing up will magically fix your back pain.
First of all – it’s not the fact that you’re standing or the fact that you’re sitting on a ball that magically stops your back pain by improving posture. It’s the posture itself (actually, posture is only a small part of it).
… What that means is that it doesn’t matter whether you use a ball or you stand up or you sit in a regular, normal chair. It matters how you’re sitting and what you’re doing with your body.
Here’s a really easy way to sit properly and stop your back pain if you’re sitting in a chair all day.
The most important thing for your lower back is that it maintains a slight curve, and the problem with slouching is that you deprive the lower back of the “S” or “J” shaped curve that its supposed to have, and instead you’re giving it a “C” shaped curve which awkwardly compresses the disks in an unusual way.
Chances are you’ve also found that trying to just “sit up straight” like your mom suggested isn’t really working for you.
When you force yourself to just “sit up straight” the only thing that happens is that you tire out the muscles of your lower back. And that’s because you can’t sit up straight if you didn’t sit down straight.
So here’s what you do:
Step 1. Do what I call a “Toilet seat sit” like your trying to sit on a toilet seat. Sit your butt really far back, all the way to the back of the chair. And only once your butt is all the way back and firmly planted do you begin to sit up straight.
Step 2. Put a towel behind the lower back, and only then should you begin sitting upright.
The towel will effortlessly help you maintain that properly alignment throughout the day, putting the least amount of stress on your spine and your neck.
#2 Upper Back & Neck Pain? Learn the “SOS” Formula
Upper back, neck and shoulder pain are also extremely common with prolonged desk work.
So here’s the two part formula for fighting the pain and issues throughout the day:
SOS stands for:
Here’s what you do when you begin to feel that numbness in the back of your head related to the neck tension from sitting at a computer all day.
Part 1: The Suboccipital
When you feel that numbness in the back of your head, stick your two thumbs behind your skull in the area where the skull meats the meat and muscle of your neck.
You’re going to notice a slight indent and depression, almost a comfortable spot where your two thumbs can rest naturally in your skull.
Take the tips of your thumbs, and press in this area to the count of three – then release. And then repeat this again 5-10x. Almost instantly you’ll notice a releasing sensation in the back of your neck and your skull.
Part 2: The screen technique
Typically, when you’re sitting at your desk, your neck is angled pretty awkwardly if you’re looking at a computer beneath you.
Don’t forget that your head is pretty heavy weight – about 10 pounds – and that by having your head angled downwards, your neck muscles are fighting gravity to try and keep the head properly aligned.
So once of the easiest wins you can do here is to just elevate your computer screen. Personally, a really easy way to rig this up is just put your laptop on top of three dictionary sized books, about 6-8 inches vertically. Just by doing this you’ve already dramatically removed lots of the stress your neck is receiving by trying to fight gravity.
Also, by utilizing the lower back towel technique, in combination with this slight alteration to your neck alignment, and then also doing the “sub occipital” massage, you’ll prevent further stress and strain to your neck and shoulders.
#3 Acid Reflux & Indigestion? Eat… Without Your Computer in Front of You
Some months ago, I found myself strangely getting acid reflux out of nowhere – and it was occurring almost every single time I ate a meal.
What was puzzling was the fact that I had been following all my own advice: I ate all real food, I cooked my own food, I ate as healthy and “clean” as possible, yet I was still getting serious indigestion and reflux for the first time in my life. What gives?
As I turned out, I had developed a nasty bad habit – since I was spending quite a lot of hours in front of a computer screen (10-12 hours at work). I was constantly eating while sitting at my computer. No big deal you might think.
Meaning: “High job demands, job strain, self pressure, and time pressure” were strongly positively associated with acid reflux and GERD symptoms.
What’s more is that the researchers adjusted this data to account for possible anxiety, stroke, depression & other factors – and there was still a strong association.
So stress, not being present, rushing, and not fully relaxing – have very strong implications especially with regard to your digestive system.
Here’s the rule: When you eat lunch at your desk, TAKE YOUR LUNCH! Get away from your desk, or at least turn off your computer, put your phone behind you, and just look out the window. Do nothing and full enjoy your lunch. Or take the time to actually eat lunch with a human being and leave your office.
#4 Constantly Stressed? Compartmentalize
By far, a huge chunk of the health issues that desk workers have (if they aren’t chronic pain related), are caused by the combined bodily stress of multitasking too much while sitting all day and letting your body atrophy.
Internet use and the “screen culture” we live in today has been shown to be strongly correlated with increasing levels of ADD and poor attention span.
And since most of us probably sit in front of a computer screen, chances are we are pretty much non-stop multitasking, flipping between social media, email, news, “work,” and other things that we’re checking out.
Here’s the thing…
We’re stuck on computers all day, where we’re constantly flipping between things, leading to this short attention span epidemic.
And combine that with the fact that we’re typically multitasking all day long, and you’ve got one STRESSED out human being, and stressed out for 40 or more hours a week!
Sure enough, multitasking is heavily linked with mental stress and physiological stress (increased heart rate and respiration rate).
It’s not surprising that people are losing their minds and complain about constant overwhelm, with too much time spent doing the things they don’t want, and not enough time doing the things they DO want.
It’s not that we don’t have the time – it’s that our quality of life (the quality of our time spent doing things), is decreasing.
One thing at a time.
Wait until 1 pm to check your email.
Hide your phone behind the computer while you work in intervals.
Take a few minutes to actually be present for everything you do, to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Here’s an easy technique I use to do that.
Here’s how: Set a pomodoro timer every time you work. It’s so powerful because A. you’ll be more motivated to get the task done in a specified amount of time, without losing focus. And B. if the timer goes off and you haven’t done work, it’ll interrupt your news article and remind you to get back to what you were supposed to be working on.
What’s Your Biggest Health Issue at Your Desk? Share Below
I would love to hear from you below – leave a comment and tell me your #1 health complaint while you work all day.