America’s workforce has gone home and gotten behind the screen — their laptop screen, that is.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has doubled in an already inactive nation, making all of us feel more sluggish. Before you enact a life insurance for overweight individuals policy, take a minute to pick up ways you can make laptop living into a healthy lifestyle.
How much time do you spend on the internet?
Whether for leisure or for work, it is time we are honest with ourselves about how much screen time we use. Living in a time where technology has taken over every aspect of our lives can make us forget the value of our natural resources.
Between cell phones, televisions, and laptops, numerous studies have reported an average of six to ten hours of screen time and internet usage per day. I love social media, T.V. show binging, and working remotely as much as anyone else, but like you, I fear for my health.
Cutting out screens and the internet completely isn’t a realistic goal unless you’re ready to chop some wood and go completely off-grid. Luckily, we don’t have to go to the extreme to regain control of our time and our screens.
What is the best position to use a laptop?
Ironically, the correct position for a laptop is not on your lap.
If you want to hop on your laptop to de-stress after a long day at work, you should really do so at a desk. It may not be the perfect picture of relaxation, but it could save your health.
The use of laptops is now commonplace. However, the aches and pains that come from them don’t have to be. A list of actions to take before turning on your screen to ensure proper laptop use is:
- Location, location, location – Bring your laptop to the right place. If you’re still in bed or in an uncomfortable position, you won’t be as productive. Not setting up for success will only extend your time working and further damage your physical health.
- Sit like your grandma’s watching – Sitting up straight at the dinner table isn’t the only place you should heed posture warnings. Whenever you go to use your laptop, make sure you’re positioned in a neutral posture.
Ideally, you want your spine to be straight with your neck aligned. You should not be needing to bend or lean forward to work or see your screen.
- Watch your back – The goal is to feel relaxed yet supported while on your laptop. Even if you start off right we all tend to slouch, so stay mindful of your posture and use support when you need it.
- Don’t be so uptight – Relax your shoulders. Holding a hunched or tensed position causes neck, chest, and back strain.
- Position yourself for success – If you are sitting in a well-postured position, your elbows should be able to bend comfortably at a 90- and 120-degree angle. Holding yourself at these angles relieves and prevents wrist and back strain, making them ideal for laptop use.
- Don’t disappoint your middle school teacher – Remember “home row”, the phrase used for where expert typers place their hands to reach every key?
Hopefully, those middle school teachings stayed with you because how you type can greatly affect your health. To avoid adverse health conditions like arthritis and carpal tunnel, keep your wrists and hands as straight as possible.
How to Live Healthy While Working Remotely
How you use your laptop becomes a habit, but whether the habit becomes harmful or beneficial to your health is completely up to you. Once you nail the posture, there are other steps you can take to ensure laptop living doesn’t take over your health.
Make Moving Around a Regular Habit
Working from a laptop, whether at home or in an office, can make us stagnant. Stationary lifestyles are linked to multiple health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and more. However, despite this knowledge, most of us don’t make an effort to move if we don’t need to.
Set a timer while you work to remind yourself to move. It can be something small like walking outside or stretching for a few minutes, but regardless of what you do, your body will thank you.
Keep What You Need Around
When you work at a desk and you want to keep up a productive workflow, keeping what you need within reach decreases distraction. Oftentimes while working we forget basic life necessities like eating and drinking.
To ensure you’re eating and staying hydrated at home or work, keep a few healthy snacks and water nearby. Keeping these things within reach keeps you from getting distracted and making unhealthy choices.
Give Your Eyes a Break From the Computer
Just like the larger parts of your body, your eyes need breaks too. However, that doesn’t mean looking away from your laptop to your phone.
If you don’t have an uninterrupted space where you work because of children or co-workers, there are a few stationary ways you can rest your eyes. Take an eyestrain break by meditating, reading a book, or simply blinking more to avoid overworking your eyes.
Buy the Accessories
A product that looks cool isn’t always enough to get us to buy. When it comes to our health, sparing expenses should be less of a worry in order to reap the long-term benefits.
Whether you can find attractive products for eyestrain or back and neck support or not, you should utilize tools designed for easing strain. In the long run, you’re better off spending an extra $100 on accessories than you are spending thousands of dollars on medical treatments.
Remember to Log Off and Shut Down
For both you and your laptop, spending some time apart is healthy. Computer batteries get worn out if they never rest, much like our brains.
Staying awake because you feel anxious to finish a project or catch up with friends online will wear you out faster than a marathon. Shut down your computer at least 30 minutes before you plan to go to bed to give your mind a rest.
You can even help to ward off depression, which can impact life insurance rates if you take time to relax before sleeping.
Allowing yourself to adjust before attempting to force sleep will help you fall asleep faster and deeper. Computers can hinder the quality of our rest, so even though working from bed seems great, you should set your laptop aside for bedtime.
How many hours should you stay online?
Everyone’s work level is different. Depending on what you do, the reality of limiting computer time can widely vary, but you should be mindful of how much computer time you digest.
Taking a social media hiatus to focus on work and hang out with friends in person has been proven to benefit your physical and mental health. As easy as technology can make life, you don’t want the negative effects coming back to you tenfold.
Don’t feel guilty about limiting your workdays or hours and be honest about what you need from your employer and most importantly, yourself.
Danielle Beck-Hunter writes and researches for the life insurance site, EffortlessInsurance.com. Danielle is an insurance expert that is passionate about healthy living.