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Back to school or work resolutions aim to decrease stress and pain at your computer

The Back to School time of year is here again and with it comes  feelings of renewal and promise.  For me, back to school is even better than New Year’s for setting resolutions.  Something about returning to a regular schedule demands refocus and stimulates change.  The goals of Back to School resolutions are to recapture (or maintain) those feelings of lightness, calm and relaxation you experience during your summer vacation.  Come September, you may not be able to push the pause button on stress as you did on vacation, but you can make changes that will decrease the aches and pains of desk work, improve your mood and energy and make you less desperate for your next vacation.

Here are some of my favorite back to work resolutions (try one or two and see how great you will feel):

1.  Learn how to type properly.

If you have to look down at the keys in order to type at your computer, you are putting excessive strain on your neck joints and are at risk for a disc herniation.
Try free online typing classes at GoodTyping.com

2.  Schedule a daily “No Screen Time”.

This means no computers, no TV and no video games for a set period of time every day. I recommend 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. as an ideal time to escape from technology. This policy will help you have less pain and stress, as well as be more active and relaxed – all in the middle of a work week.

3.  Take more mini-breaks at work.

A study on data entry operators found that several short, 5-minute breaks were more effective at decreasing discomfort than a traditional break schedule.  I recommend downloading the RSI Guard Computer Rest Program onto your computer. It will tell you when it is time to take micro-breaks, remind you to stay relaxed and show you desk stretches during longer break periods.

4.  Get some form of physical activity during your work day.

In his book Brain Rules, John Medina calls exercise “cognitive candy”.  I love that!
Try a brisk 10-minute walk during a meeting with a coworker, a game of basketball during lunch, 20 minutes of upper body weights while on a conference call… Whatever your preference and however you can fit it in, exercising at work can stimulate creativity, help you solve a problem and improve energy and productivity.

5.  Drink more water at work.

Why? Because staying hydrated will decrease headaches, help you lose weight and give you a good reason to get up from your desk and move around (to re-fill your glass or use the restroom).

Make healthy choices now and you won’t even need to make a New Year’s Resolution later!

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