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The risk of contracting office work-related injuries may be less obvious than those faced by, say, bomb disposal technicians, but desk work such as blogging comes with its own set of occupational hazards. Here’s how to avoid injury when blogging!
You’ve been feeling aches for the last few hours, but you’re busy on your blog and don’t want to take a break. How often does this happen to you?
It’s hard to fix bad habits, but by adapting good working positions you can avoid unnecessary stresses on your tendons, muscles, and bones, explains the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It’s a bit more involved than just sitting up straight in an ergonomic chair (although that’s a good start). Here are other strategies you can try:
- Relax your shoulders. Try these 10 exercises from Healthline to help with shoulder tightness or pain.
- Keep your wrists straight, which will reduce the chance of developing arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, a common problem for people who type a lot, explains the Cleveland Clinic.
- Face your screen, keeping your neck and spine aligned.
- Work standing up occasionally. If you don’t have a standing desk, place your device on a countertop, or if you blog from coffee shops, choose ones that offer various seating options, including bar-height counters where you can stand. Sitting for extended periods is bad for your back and bottom, namely your piriformis muscles that run from your spine to the top of your femur. Standing intermittently helps avoid painful piriformis syndrome, explains the Writing and Wellness website.
- Stretch frequently. Keep a stepper, yoga mat, or other exercise equipment handy. The nearer you put it to your desk, the fewer the excuses you’ll have to not use it.
The longer we look at digital screens, the more discomfort our eyes can experience, warns the American Optometric Association. The glare of a screen can cause computer vision syndrome, which often results in eye strain, headaches, dry eyes, and blurred vision. You should install a screen glare filter, face your device away from windows and swap bright overhead bulbs for low-wattage ones in order to protect your eyes.
Other ways to avoid digital eye strain include blinking repeatedly and taking breaks regularly. It’s also beneficial to look away from your screen to “stretch” your eyes by gazing into the distance (such as out a window) for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes, explain doctors Gary Heiting and Larry K. Wan on the All About Eyes website.
Dehydration is another health issue you need to watch out for, warns online pharmacy and diagnostic platform Medlife. Ever get wrapped up writing or researching for a story and forget to hydrate? Or maybe you ward off writer’s block or sleepiness with caffeinated beverages like coffee or soda, which have a mild diuretic (dehydrating) effect.
Rather than wait for the first signs of dehydration — thirst, headache, and muscle cramps — to appear, sip water, herbal tea, or juice, and snack on water-rich fruit and veggies throughout the day.
As sleep expert Alivia Cora explains on The Web Writer Spotlight, dehydration, the stress of deadlines, or a lack of physical activity can make writers groggy. Or maybe you’re working too much — even home-based bloggers need schedules (and occasional naps).
If you’re writing posts, marketing on social media, searching for article ideas, and scouting for ways to customize and monetize your site from the time you roll out of bed until you climb back under the covers, you need to stop the madness. Schedule breaks and time for yourself.
Bloggers can go days with little human interaction — that is, the face-to-face kind. It’s important to balance life with work, according to the Mayo Clinic. Phone a friend, visit relatives, volunteer, or speak with a counselor if you feel like you need to. Pets help fight loneliness, so if you don’t have one, consider getting one or offer to walk a neighbor’s friendly pooch.
Meeting your emotional and physical needs will give you the stamina to improve your blog’s health, too.
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