Getting back to work post-Memorial Day isn't just a drag because you'd rather be sunning and BBQ-ing -- it's also a bummer for your health. According to this piece in U.S. News & World Report, there are several ways your job can literally make you sick by provoking colds, jeopardizing heart health, and pushing the limits of your emotional state. Here's how to tweak your on-the-job routine to minimize the damage (without getting canned).
Job Hazard # 1: A dirty desk.
The average office toilet seat has 49 germs per square inch. The average desktop: 21,000 germs per square inch. To avoid transferring the bad bugs (such as E. coli) onto your fingertips, wipe down your work surface (including phones and keyboards) at the end of each day. We love Clorox's Green Works Eco-Friendly Cleaning Wipes.
Related: Are you a Germaphobe? Find out!
Job Hazard # 2: A drab cube.
If you can't talk your way into a window office, at least get a potted fern or two for your windowsill. Office workers with a view of nature are more enthusiastic and patient than those without, according to a study from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. And, research shows people feel less stressed and get more done when they have potted plants around at work.
Job Hazard # 3: Sitting, hunched over, typing away.
This position leads to lots of tension, especially in your lower back. To release some of this injury-provoking stress, try this stretch from Shirley Archer, author of Fitness 9 to 5: Easy Exercises for the Working Week: Clasp your hands behind your lower back, then raise your arms to open your chest and shoulders. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Aim to do this at least once an hour when you're chained to your computer.
Related: Looking for a lunch break workout? Build your own amazing routine here.
Job Hazard # 4: Office snacks.
Every office has them -- up-for-grabs pies, cookies, and cakes stashed in the break room or kitchen. To avoid the urge to dive-in face-first, BYO healthy snacks to the office. Some SELF editor picks:
* 1/4 cup of hummus and a few carrot sticks (80 calories)
* A 1-oz package of Planters NUT-trition almonds (130 calories)
* Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino bar (120 calories)
* 1 Container f-- e Greek Total 2% fat yogurt, 2 tsp honey (173 calories)
Related: Diet-friendly vending machine choices
Job Hazard # 5: Hating on your boss.
According to the U.S. News article, having a great relationship with your manager not only makes you more likely to get what you want from a professional standpoint (a raise, lighter workload, flexible schedule, etc.), studies also show that workers who have a fab relationship with their boss also have a lower risk of heart disease. The easiest way to get on his or her good side? Don't pretend you know everything. Instead, ask for feedback on your work, or their opinion on a particular project. When you do this you're not only stroking their ego but also showing off your own humility. This leads to a comfortable, healthy relationship.
More From SELF:
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- 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss
- 30 Healthy Snacks under 200 Calories
- 50 Foods that Make You Feel Good
Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio