With more nonprofit professionals working in the office and big fundraisers in full swing, a healthy work environment is critical.
Whether volunteer, staff, or leadership, every nonprofit professional needs to be at their best to do critical work and advance the mission. If the pandemic has taught us anything about our work habits, it’s the importance of physical and mental well-being to our effectiveness and productivity.
Poor posture, back pain, damage from blue light, and work day fatigue are common office problems that can leave a lasting impact on health. Here are five simple tips you can do every day that won’t cost a dime to maintain healthy habits and avoid burnout.
Micro-breaks throughout the day.
- After every 30 to 45 minutes of work, stand up for two to five minutes and complete a short routine. Staying in one position throughout your workday can lead to poor circulation, strained muscles, and other common health issues. Short breaks throughout the workday also help maintain focus and a positive mindset. Taking a step back helps us to see the bigger picture, and better understand how we’re spending our time.
It’s not five minutes lost, but five minutes gained in spending your energy wisely and maintaining your physical health—and we only get one chance at that.
This one easy trick can reduce eye strain and improve the health of your eyes.
When we focus, our eyes often do not blink enough for fear of missing something important. Worse, the eyelid does not always cover your entire eye—leaving the lower section of your retina exposed and eventually, dry. This can lead to eye strain, dry eyes, and vision impairment.
- Try to remind yourself every few minutes to look away from the screen and fully blink, then return to your work. If you spend a lot of time focused on a single object, it’s important to use some type of eye drop at least once a day (if not more for very dry eyes) to help restore moisture and balance.
- Dryness also affects the tear ducts and can lead to clogging. Applying a warm compress to closed eyes can clear out tear ducts and restore the natural protective barrier around your retinas.
Use a timer or focus app to structure workdays and measure breaks.
- If you have a hard time remembering to take a break when you’re hard at work, using a timer app can help maintain regular healthy habits by reminding you when 30-45 minutes has passed.
Measuring your work intervals can also give you a better idea of how much of a task you can complete in a period of time, making it easier to estimate and allocate time for future tasks.
Establish a short movement and stretching routine.
Many organizations have found success in reducing stress with regular breaks for exercise and wellness, such as yoga, throughout the workday.
- It’s easy to do on your own! Take a micro-break between work sessions of 30-45 minutes and, at the very least, stand up and move your arms, shoulders, and neck. The longer we sit in a chair at a desk, the more our muscles have to work to maintain that posture—which is especially hard on the body with poor posture.
- Moving the affected areas relieves tension and can help break bad habits, like slouching. Even a basic routine of arm windmills, bending and reaching for the sky, and rotating the neck can prevent stiffness, soreness, and long-term damage.
Wear blue light protection.
The effects of blue light on sleep patterns, vision, and general eye health have been well-studied, revealing that most electronic devices—from phones to tablets to computer screens—give off a form of blue light.
- Protecting your eyes from overexposure to blue light is simple. If you already wear prescription glasses, adding a blue light-filtering coating to your lenses can help. If you don’t, it’s easy and inexpensive to buy a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses to wear at your desk, even if you don’t have a prescription.
Work is important, but health and balance are, too.
As we face record burnout and work-related anxiety, it’s more important than ever to maintain your most important asset—your health! Ensure future success by managing stress now.
With strategic planning for coming fundraising events, nonprofit professionals must find time, no matter how urgent the task feels, to take a moment to breathe, move, and blink!