With any job, passion and the pressure to perform well can lead to overworking yourself. This can be especially hard on those in tech-oriented jobs, who are constantly at a computer. On top of the typical stress and exhaustion that can come from working extra hours, eye strain, neck and back problems, and heart issues can also result from the environments in which these types of jobs are usually situated.
Sometimes, the demands of the job can get too high and can hinder both health and productivity. Here are some tips for improving work-life balance and overall wellness — especially tailored for techies and workers in IT.
Give Your Eyes a Break
According to a report by Harvard Health Publishing, staring at a computer for long periods of time can lead to computer vision syndrome. This results in two main issues. The first is dry eyes, caused by a lack of blinking. The report states that when you focus on a computer, your rate of blinking per minute can decrease by more than half, going from a regular rate of 15 blinks per minute to only five or seven.
The second issue is eye strain. This can be due to the brightness of the screen or exhausting your eyes’ ability to focus. Luckily, there are simple ways you can relieve your eyes, including:
- Using artificial tears throughout the day
- Focusing on blinking more often
- Wearing the right prescription for your eyes
Additionally, the report states that you can prevent dryness and strain in your eyes by incorporating some of the following tips in your daily routine:
- Sit about two feet away from the screen
- Place your monitor four to eight inches lower than eye level
- Use a matte screen filter to reduce glare
- Use larger font
- Decrease your brightness
Another thing to consider is to give your eyes a break more often. Many techies might get home from a long day of computer work to spend more time in front of a screen. Perhaps you have a personal tech project on the side or you just like to relax with some TV. While this is fine, you should also try to pick up some hobbies or pastimes that don’t involve a screen.
Some things you can try include going for a walk, going out with friends, coloring, writing things out by hand, playing with your pet, and so on. This can help you achieve a better work life balance and keep your eyes in good health.
Get Plenty of Rest
Getting plenty of rest may sound obvious, but many in the tech field still don’t get enough. It’s important to prioritize rest, though, as it is fundamental to achieving physical and mental wellness. This is especially important for techies, as the work they do often requires intense focus for long periods of time, which can be mentally exhausting. Getting enough sleep every night can help your brain recharge and be ready to go again the next day.
Additionally, the benefits of sleep affect just about every part of your life: “Adequate sleep improves physical performance, cognitive function, and weight management. Getting consistent, high-quality sleep also supports emotional well-being, which is why one feels so rich after waking from a night of satisfying slumber.”
As part of your work-life balance, you can put away screens about an hour before you need to go to bed. This way, you can relax your brain and rest your eyes, as well as have a better chance of sleeping for the full night.
Make Time for Self-Care
Overworking yourself can lead to an array of additional health concerns. If you are too stressed over a long period of time, you may get burnt out. In an effort to prevent this, be on the lookout for symptoms of burnout, which include:
- Decreased appetite
- Warped concentration
- Physical issues
If you start noticing these symptoms in yourself, you should take it as a sign to make more time for yourself. One way you can handle this is to give yourself a day off for self-care. Whether you take a weekend day off for yourself or you take a day off work, you can spend the day pampering yourself however you need to. This might include sleeping in and watching tv, spending the day outside, taking the day off from checking your phone, and more.
A great way to spend a self-care day is to treat yourself to a spa day. You can take a relaxing bath, get a haircut if you’ve been putting it off, or get a massage. You can also use essential oils to help you relax, like lavender, peppermint, and chamomile — especially to relieve headaches from work. Two ways to use essential oils are to use a diffuser to release the oils into the air or by putting roll-on oils that go directly onto your skin to soothe you.
Achieving work-life balance will look different for everyone, and it is essential for your health and happiness. Even if you are passionate about your work, you need to be able to put work down and have time for yourself. This will not only improve your quality of life, but your production at work as well.