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How to Avoid Work-Related Stress

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Back, shoulder, neck, and even hand, wrist, and finger pain are common complaints from office workers. Millions of knowledge workers spend literally billions of hours sitting at a desk and staring at a screen. Whether they love their job or not, each worker can suffer from work-related stress, such as repetitive stress injuries. Here are some practical tips for avoiding work-related pain.

Tips to Avoid Work-Related Stress

  • Don't sit all day! Try a sit or stand ergonomic desk that adjusts to your needs. At the very least, take stretch breaks to ease any strain on your lower back, neck, or shoulders.
  • Sit in a "neutral" position. This means that you should never strain, bend, or awkwardly position any part of your body, especially your neck, wrists, and hands. Having an adjustable chair with adjustable arm rests will help you keep your arms in line, thus relieving strain on your shoulders and hands.
  • Your monitor should be at eye level, so that your neck isn't bent down to see it. A monitor lift will raise it on any desk top.
  • Rearrange your work station that all essential items are within easy reach. A careless, quick movement to grab a paper or stapler can pinch a nerve in no time.
  • Consider a document holder to keep papers or files at a comfortable eye level.
  • Rest your eyes. Blink for moisture and take a moment to focus on an object farther away than your screen. This is an easy habit to develop when you're mulling over an idea or trying to word an email.
  • Switch tasks every so often. This will keep your mind sharp, your work productive, and your body fresh.
  • As you type and mouse, make sure not to cock your wrists or stretch your fingers to far (as is often the case with laptop use). An ergonomic keyboard and mouse will greatly decrease RSI, while simultaneously increasing productivity by placing keys ad buttons in easy reach.

Above all else, don't sit, stand, or type in a way that causes pain. If you do feel pain, assess what's contributing to it and change your positioning.