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Long hours at the office are undeniably draining, but working life in general can introduce several habits that may be taking a toll on your health. Dubai-based nutritionist and personal trainer Sirine AbuZeineh reveals the work habits you need to change and how to change them.
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Working through lunch: If you are guilty of repeatedly consuming your lunch in front of your computer screen while working, you need to ditch the habit. “We don’t realise how important it is to get off our chair and have lunch away from our desk. Switching off from work for at least 30 minutes has been proven to help our brains recover and our bodies to relieve stress. You don’t want to overwork yourself to the point of exhaustion. That will decrease your productivity,” says AbuZeineh.
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Having a messy desk: Some people find their way through clutter and believe it is essential to their creativity. But studies have shown that a messy desk can be distracting and weaken your focus. An organised desk on the other hand results in heightened concentration and productivity, according to the expert.
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Forgetting to drink water: Dehydration causes fatigue. Sometimes, you are not overworked or stressed – you are just dehydrated. Keep a bottle of water nearby and make sure you get your needed daily dosage. Water also helps reduce headaches and boosts your energy. “Alternatively, make it a habit to walk to your water dispenser to add some movement – be it slight – to your working day,” says AbuZeineh.
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Drinking too much coffee: A cup of coffee is a great way to start your day because it gives you energy, but drinking too much coffee can cause headaches, heartburn and anxiety. “Up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day is considered safe. That’s about four small cups of brewed coffee. Once you hit that number, try decaf coffee or do a few exercises to get your blood pumping instead,” says AbuZeineh.
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Hunching in your chair: Sitting at your desk for long hours every day is bad news for many aspects of your health including increased high blood pressure and sugar. It’s also especially bad for your posture as it inevitably results in hunching. According to AbuZeineh, hunching lowers your confidence and energy. “Every few minutes, remind yourself to sit up straight, roll your shoulders back and tense your abs,” she says.
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Crossing your legs: Crossing your legs can cause back and neck pain as well as enlarged veins otherwise known as varicose veins. “The ideal seated position is with your feet flat on the floor, your knees and ankles at 90 degree angle whenever possible. It also helps to practice some leg exercises while seated, such as lifting each leg one at a time and holding for 30 seconds,” recommends AbuZeineh.
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Working until late: Through time management, you should be able to finish your work during work hours, according to the expert. “Are you wasting too much time browsing through emails or getting stuck on one task? Make sure you work efficiently in the office so you can ‘log out’ of work when you’re done. A good way to avoid working until late is to sign up for a physical activity that starts right after work,” she says.