Daily Life

11 Life-Changing Hacks if Your Desk Job Has You Sitting All Day

Sitting just got a whole lot better.

By: Emma Lunsford

Let’s be honest: sitting all day is a different kind of pain. The stiffness, aches, and other discomfort is no joke — not to mention really mentally boring sometimes. To counteract this, you need specific hacks for desk jobs: a mixture of both physical and mental stimulation tips to reduce the effects of long-term sitting. And surprise! Read below for those life-changing hacks. 

RELATED: The Science on How to Offset The Effects of Too Much Sitting

11 Easy-To-Implement Tips To Combat The Effects of Prolonged Sitting 

If we had it our way, regular movement would be a mandatory part of our day — desk job or not! But, unfortunately, most of us grind the day away at our seat with little to no movement. It’s no wonder we’re tired, sore, achy, and irritable! Time to get moving and grooving — you ready? 

Try out these eleven hacks and see how much better you feel!

#1 Schedule in a 5 Minute Work Stretch 

You never know how much you need to stretch until your body forces you to take notice! All of a sudden your back starts throbbing, your neck becomes tense and tight, and your calf muscles spasm, sound accurate? To compensate for the pain, your mood and energy (understandably) take a hit. While this might seem to appear out of the blue, it’s the result of prolonged sitting and built-up tension — essentially, your body is screaming at you to move! 

But fear not! This doesn’t have to be the norm. An every hour 5-minute work stretch can soothe soreness and stagnation to prevent this extreme scenario. Even the simplest of stretches can have amazing benefits, like increasing blood flow and boosting your mood.

Take a few minutes every hour to stretch your neck and even your wrists from typing on the computer all day. You can even get up and just do a loop around the office or your home to stretch your legs. 

Looking for guided stretches? Browse the FitOn stretch category or the at work category to find what works best for you and schedule in your mid-day stretch using the FitOn app. 

Here are some 5-minute (& up to 15-minute) exercises to try:

#2 Blue Light Blocking Glasses 

Eye strain is real and can contribute to unwanted side effects, like migraines. However, with online commuting, it’s pretty hard to escape staring at screens these days. This is where blue-light-blocking glasses come in to save your eyeballs. They’re perfect for reducing eye strain, like these (100,000 nearly 5-star review) glasses!

#3 Keep Your Desk Organized 

Feeling stressed out? Take 5 minutes to clean and reorganize your desk. Most of us don’t realize how much the environment plays a part in our productivity and mood. How you keep your environment is a good indication of what’s going on in your mind. Hint: the more cluttered your desk, the more cluttered your mind. It’s true!! Science supports this idea. Taking a second to clear everything reduces overwhelm and gives you a great standup break. Plus, an organized space can enhance productivity, prevent wasted time, and promote other healthy behaviors.

If you do decide to go this route (and do a little office cleaning) why not get some extra steps in while you’re at it? If you’re making trips to the recycle bin, trash can, printer, or storage closet, go to the area that is furthest away from your destination — i.e. go out of your way to increase your steps!

#4 Diffuse Essential Oils

As we mentioned, sitting can hurt more than just your body — your mental health pays the price, too! To help reduce stress and promote a sense of calm, try diffusing essential oils at your desk. According to science, certain scents — like lavender — can boost your mood, reduce stress, and elicit a mind-body calming effect. So why not smell a lil’ R&R while you work?

#5 Keep Energizing High-Protein Snacks at Your Desk

There’s nothing worse than trying to work when you’re hungry — productivity tanks, as your blood sugar lowers and energy dips. Beat the 3 pm slump by keeping high-protein snacks at your desk in case you find yourself in too big of a time crunch to grab something. A protein bar, nuts, or seeds can work wonders! 

Here are some healthy office snacks that can curb sugar cravings and support blood sugar levels as you tackle your work to-do list! 

  • Rice cakes + avocado (or hummus) + raw veggies 
  • DIY trail mix made with raw nuts, seeds, and freeze-dried berries
  • Roasted chickpeas or edamame 
  • Meal-prepped energy bites made with oats, nut butter, chia seeds, and even a scoop of protein powder
  • Pre-prepped egg & veggie muffins (No microwave? You can eat them cold, too!)
  • Fresh fruit mixed with dry-roasted nuts and Greek yogurt

RELATED: Top 7 Post-Workout Snacks (+ 3 Recipes)

#6 Invest in Ergonomic Equipment

Our bodies weren’t made to sit and stare at a screen all day — that’s just the truth. So it’d make sense why issues like back pain and wrist strain come up after continuous repetitive motions at your desk. You want to make it as comfortable as possible for your body, which is why ergonomic equipment can seriously change the game. If anything, go for a comfy chair!

If you work at home, consider investing in a standing desk (better yet, a walking desk!). If you’re in the office, talk to your boss. Don’t forget: a healthier you = a more productive you!

RELATED: 5 Expert-Hacks to Ease Stress-Related Aches & Pains

#7 Adjust Your Screen Height

If you can’t swap out your equipment, there are other ways to combat the effects of prolonged sitting! And optimizing your screen height is one of them. Think about it. When your screen height is too low or high, it strains your neck. Make sure it’s at eye level, so you’re not craning one way or another and creating tension at the top of your spine. 

It might sound silly, but you can set up your computer on a stack of books, a box, or anything that raises it to eye level.

#8 Create a Mini Vision Board

Fill your desk with stuff that makes you happy! It’s amazing for boosting your mood and keeping you productive. It could be simple things like favorite pictures, flowers, colors, or quotes. Or, you can go a step further and create a vision board, so you know you’re always heading in the right direction! 

#9 Disconnect From Work During Meals

When you work from home or at a desk, it can feel like work just follows you everywhere. You can never escape the grind! This is why it’s so important to disconnect whenever you can, especially at meal times. Try not to be on your phone or eat your desk if you can. Make your meal the main event! 

#10 Optimize Your Lunch Breaks

Speaking of lunch breaks, use your time to get moving! Maybe you hit a workout class, go for a long walk (even if it’s doing laps around your office building), or bring some friendly competition to the office and challenge your co-workers to a push-up or squat challenge, like this 100 Squat Challenge with Kenta.

#11 Get Mobile During Meetings 

If your co-workers (and boss) are sitting all day too, this is a win-win-win. Talk to your office about making your meetings mobile. Whether it’s a one-on-one chat or a team meeting, why not take your meetings on the go? If you’re working from home – even easier! Talk to your co-worker or client about doing a phone call versus a video call. Maybe you’ll motivate them to do the same!

You Can Still Take Care of Yourself, Even If You Sit All Day

It’s all about keeping it as simple as possible, and knowing even the little things, like 5 minutes of standing up, can make a big difference. Try not to get discouraged if some days you’re great about taking care of yourself and others you still end up sitting 8 hours at a time. It may take a little bit to find your ideal routine of activities that help you feel better. All good! It’s part of the process. Start by adding one hack from this list into your day and work your way up. Cheers to feeling good regardless!