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Has your job impacted your physical health?

jess profile image Jess Lee (she/her) ・1 min read

My main woes are wrist pain and strained eyes!

Discussion

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Aside from occasional eye irritation, nothing too concerning here. I am very mindful of the potential issues and try to avoid them. Here are my tips:

  • Invest in a good chair. I have the Steelcase Leap which is not cheap, but worth the investment since being at the computer is my job and hobbies, so I spend a lot of time there.
  • Sit with good posture. Having the nice chair isn't enough, don't hunch over the keyboard or "zoom in" with your neck.
  • Invest in a comfortable keyboard. I prefer ergonomic keyboards because they more naturally fit your hands and wrists. Microsoft's Ergonomic Keyboard is not too expensive and has served me well. That fancy RGB-lit mechanical keyboard may be a dream to type on, but if you have to strain and contort yourself to do so, it isn't worth it.
  • Do wrist stretches every so often to help prevent carpal tunnel or repetitive stress injury.
  • Take a break every so often and go for a walk.
  • Exercise in your free time.
  • For the eyes, I have screen brightness set fairly low and use the night light overlay.
 

Couldn't agree more on the chair. I have a Herman Miller Mirra, which after trying the Aeron I found to be a lot more comfortable. It's got a hard plastic back which you'd think would be uncomfortable but is the total opposite. Combined with adjustable seat pitch, lumbar, arm wrests etc make it great.

I've had it ~10 years now and its still going strong. If you're sitting on one of the local staples / office depot fake leather things you're in for a world of pain in your future - a decent chair is absolutely worth the price.

Also the breaks thing is super important. Even getting up to make a coffee is better than nothing. I see people at my workplace sit without moving all day and its just the worst thing you can do. It also acts as a good way to force yourself to step away from your code - some of my best ideas and thoughts on how to do things come when I'm away from my desk.

 

Ahh interesting, I was going to pick up a used Herman Miller Aeron. We had them at my last job and they were pretty comfortable. I might have to try a Herman Miller Mirra before going either Aeron.

 

Hi Ryan, I was looking for some recommendations about the chair. I always set my mind for a good chair but seeing the price, I am still away from it but my back hurts now and then. Can you show yours or recommend a good one as you said about the keyboard?

 

I'm not too sure about other chair recommendations as I have used the Steelcase Leap for a while. I think you may have to do some research and see if you can try sitting in some of them.

 

I worked at a company for most of 2019 that would consistently work me > 70 hour works. My mental health diminished. I was angry and agitated all the time, to the dismay of everyone who came into contact with me.
In addition, my physical health diminished. I started eating foods that were more convenient, staying up later, and generally not exercising.

I learned from this experience, that you can't be successful if you're not taking care of yourself first. That applies to your professional and personal life.

 

And let's not talk about mental health ...

 

When you start as a fresher in a startup with you being only dev then the answer is obviously Yes!!.
I had to learn a lot over a very short span of time and that resulted in a headache, sleepless nights, overworking and a hell lot of tension.
I was popping headache pills once every two days just to show up to work every day, it was really hard for the starting 4-5 months.
It did enable me to gain a lot of knowledge quickly but it's not something I'm really proud of.
Eye strains are another thing you face when you're in front of screen for 80% of the day.
I have seen weight loss due to tension and haven't slept for up to 3 days straight, again because of work stress.
I was using a bed table to study and code at room and it resulted in back problems that I'm still going through.
It was horrible. It wasn't too long, I'm talking about 2019.
Now, I don't mind taking a day off just to stay in bed and get a reset when things start to become too overwhelming.
I'm starting to understand that one should always put health over literally anything and taking care of myself more sincerely.
I didn't know earlier what productivity a good chair and a table bring but I must say that it's really important to invest in your workspace. It's worth it. At last, getting good sleep should be your top priority. It does wonders. Staying awake to get work done is not an idea, sleep early and wake up early instead. You will get work done in half the time, believe me on this. After a lot of tries, I was successful to get into the habit of waking up early and it's the most perfect thing if you want to be 2x productive.
Early morning is not really necessary but getting a nap before doing some work resets you and put you into optimum performance mode. Time doesn't really matter.

 

I would like to mention the positive impact of my physical health in my current job:

  • My workspace is 6kms (3.7 miles) from my home and I prefer commuting by walk always which makes me cover at least 6 miles every day so that I burn a lot of calories even before I hit the gym at night time after the work. Bonus benefit, body fat dropped from 21% to 17% in a span of 3 months without even focussing on diet part(I know I should focus on that too ;) ).

  • I constantly run during my weekends, it started with 2 km run last year and now I can run up to 10kms in a stretch. I kind of addicted to it because I love the after run effect :D

  • Constant break and stretching during work every 30 mins for a short walk within the office helps

  • No Friday pizza parties or free sodas instead we have sports match often and a lot of devs are interested in sports that they formed a team to play badminton or football most of the mornings.

 

Back pain. Neck Pain. It was so painful that I had to take a break for a week last year.

  • The doctor advised regular physical exercise.
  • And also advised not to sit for a long time. Take rest after 20-30 mins. Stand, walk or do something for a while and then come back to sit again. But, it is hard to remember and maintain due to work pressure. But still trying to maintain it.

And, due to lack of physical exercise and a lot of sitting, obesity is almost at my home :/ In the last limit of normal BMI.

 

God, yes! Absolutely.

That eye strain is real.
As is the digital addiction and attention fragmentation (less focused work, more multi-tasking)

I also deal constantly with weight issues, anxiety and stress as a result of work hours, travel and routines that don't necessarily create clear boundaries or healthy habits. All of these are things that can be fixed with mindfulness, self-care and discipline. And on paper that sounds easy. But when you juggle work, parenting, home and a dozen other responsibilities, it gets harder to find the time to plan and execute these in an intentional way.

Two things that help:

  • Forgive yourself when you fail. Try. Try again. My superpower is I never give up on myself.
  • Find good support systems to help you stay the course. My support system is family.

The thing I am working most on is self-care. We live in a workaholic culture where peer pressure can be strong and it takes a lot of willpower and self-esteem to be okay with making choices that are right for you. Still very much a WIP for me so if others have tips, I'm here to listen.

 

I felt this ... all the way ❀️

 

Oh yes it did! I had a depression crisis because of a bad job and have been struggling for this from time to time in the last 10 yeears. This explains why I'm quite opiniated about the idea that people should not try so hard to work with bad companies. If the company doesn't feel right, trust your instinct and find better ones, there are lots of them.

 

I've gained weight. Especially now that I have kids, it's hard to get exercise in.

I recently had a bout of lower-back pain primarily due to sitting a lot.

Lastly, my sleeping patterns are all out of whack. I'm a night owl, but that's now also impossible since i have to get up with my kids. So, I'll stay up all night, get 2 hours of sleep and have to get the kids out the door.

 
 

Mental health is definitely important. At one of my previous jobs, I had to stop doing overtime every day (to the chagrin of my manager), I actually took sick time when I needed it and used holiday when I wanted it, not when it was convenient for them (obviously being at least courteous towards releases and not taking the mick).

Nowadays it's the weight I struggle with. I also broke my leg at the start of last year and I'm still trying to bounce back from that. I've gained a few stone over the last year even though my diet is fairly acceptable.

I would like workplaces, especially those that have sedentary jobs like ours, to really promote activity and allow time to go to the gym/run/bike or whatever, as it would be beneficial to them as a company too.

 

Hard to tell.

I had my first PC with 10 and sat in front of screens for years before I started to work in front of them.

I need glasses, which probably comes from this? Otherwise I feel pretty okay. Could probably use a bit more exercise and a bit less alcohol, haha.

 

First, I sit too much now, and it's been taking a toll. I've not been able to get a proper standing desk from work, and I never think to just put it in my wish farm, save up, and get the one I want since I work from home most days. Actually, I'm going to pause and do that now.

Done! I'm looking at this 47" converter from FlexiSpot.

Sitting kills us. Your bottom isn't actually a load-bearing surface, so it's an unnatural position for the body to be in. Since reading Becoming a Supple Leopard, I'm convinced that the reason people start complaining about getting old and feeling lower back pain, sciatic pain, numbness, etc. is because we spend so much of our lives sitting that it seems natural. Your hip flexors become shorter and begin to constantly pull on your lower back and a dozen other places, inflammation becomes an issues, and generally, life begins to suck until some day you are elderly and unable to stand upright. </ soapbox>

I start feeling better after a few weeks of consistent work at the gym, and the issue wasn't really present when I had the standing desk.

Second, I've developed some fairly rounded shoulders in the past year. It's manageable/correctable with face pulls in the gym or the resistance bands I keep at my desk, but I'm inconsistent. It's funny to me that the same condition can come from being that person that only goes to the gym to show off a big bench press without working the opposing muscles or just sitting hunched at a keyboard. There are some wearables that remind you about your posture, but I haven't tried them. Let me know if you're into this, because I'd love to hear about your experience!

I can't put all the blame on the job, of course. I haven't been working out consistently since leaving the Army almost a year ago. You become the people you surround yourself with, and I lost my fitness support network when I left. I need to link up with the folks at TeamRWB. I joined over a year ago, but I haven't made it to a single meetup. With ADHD, out of sight, out of mind is more real than ever.

Lastly, @jess , I had some pretty bad wrist pain until I bought these two things:

If I could find a mechanical/customizable keyboard with this shape, my day would be made. Also, I have the wired version of this trackball for secure facilities, and I think my wireless is actually a Logitech. I'm the weird guy at the office for having them, but I just found them to be more comfortable for my wrists.

 

Yep. Sitting is the new smoking. I have also found it difficult to loose weight.

I also have developer arthritis, but it’s not clear if that is related.

My eyes have gotten a little worse, but it’s stayed the same for a few years now. I think the better monitors and me choosing a better resolution has helped.

 

Unfortunately, it influenced. You know, I spend too much time on my job and it definitely does harm. However, I don't give up because I have money for remedies and I can have manufacturer actavis coupon which will give me an opportunity to save my money

 
  • The eye irritation as mentioned above. I use to have days that I don't use any screens after work. Also, I canceled my phone internet, now I have nothing to do on my phone, so I don't stare at it when I am traveling. I am planning to buy blue light blocking glasses.
  • Even if I am almost daily at the gym, I managed to gain 10 kilograms. But I connect it with more than just a lot of sitting. I have a better food schedule, then in times when I was in university, so I also gained muscles alongside fat. But I have to care more about what I eat. I started a diet and I am calculating my calorie intake and it works.
  • No neck or back pain, it cames up only if I miss the gym more than 3 weeks in a row, so my advice for people with back pain, do your deadlifts.
  • At the beginning of a full-time job I had wrist pain, but I stopped using the mac touchpad as a primary pointer device and I bought a heavier and larger mouse.
 

Mental health so far, mainly in terms of Slack addiction.

If you've experienced it, you know how bad it can get: You check the app seconds after having closed it, just in case you missed something.

It's awful.

 

Back, back, back, eyes, neck, wrist, elbows, lost muscles on my arms...

Anyway now, at work, I'm getting on 6th floor by stairs, trying to exercise each morning quickly before work, just push ups 15 to 20 for now but I think I need to dramatically increase quantity, and back of screens after work. It appears that my arms getting back in shape although not enough so I'll try doing more.

 

You just need to train your lower back and glute muscles.

 

Yes, I won almost 20kg since I work in a desk :(

 
  1. Sciatica
  2. Ocasional neckpains
  3. Headaches after long intensive days
  4. ... still to find out.
 

Lower back pain. Still trying to get rid of it with a ton of exercise and physio. Sitting all day takes a toll on your health (recently got a standing desk at home though πŸ™‚)

 

My previous job did, yes. Stress can manifest in weird ways. I used to get headaches, cramps and overall soreness.

 

Yes, aside from eye pain, it gave me wrist pain, herniated disc, tight hips. I'm working on those things. Please take care of yourself and have a good posture

 

Yes, back pain. Would like some suggestions on the chair, it's really important for our profession.

 

Eyesight loss, severe neck and back pains, depression.

Work is bad for health.

 
 

Wrist pain for sure.

My workplace has an Organisational Therapist for this very reason and recommended an ergonomic mouse for me to makes things less-worse. Noone else knows how to use it though so there is no risk of the mouse being taken out of my hand by someone looking over my shoulder :D

 

I would say wrist pain, I was once stuck with just my laptop for 2 weeks and I had the worst wrist cramps I've had in my life, and even using my sweet keyboard and ok mouse I still get wrist pain from time to time.

 

Eyes for me. I had 20/20 vision before I got properly stuck into computer work. Seems to be getting worse by the year now.