Do you find yourself sneezing all day long at work? Or maybe you feel nauseated at just the thought of arriving at work? Your office may be making you sick.
Contrary to popular belief, these symptoms don’t just have to be physical ones – your office could be making you mentally ill, too. Here are the top 5 ways that your job could be making you sick.
1. Your Desk Is Causing Back Pain
One of the most common complaints of a desk job is back pain since so many people have poor posture when seated at their desks. Poor posture puts pressure on your lower back, causing aches as wells as sharp pains from pinched nerves. If poor posture continues long enough, it will also begin to affect the curvature of your spine.
Check-in with yourself a few times a day and monitor your posture, realigning it as needed. You can set a reminder on your work calendar if you think you’ll forget. Even better, have a coworker remind you and help each other stay accountable.
2. Constantly Typing Is Causing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Pain or numbness in your hands and arms could be indicative of carpal tunnel syndrome. This is caused by the constant pressure typing puts on the tendons in your hands.
To help prevent this, try to take breaks from your typing. Stretching before and after long periods of typing can also be helpful. If you’re already experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, see your doctor to discuss the best treatment plan.
3. Allergens Are Making You Sneeze All Day
If you’re constantly sneezing at work, you might be allergic to work – or catching your desk buddy’s cold. Dizziness and fatigue could also be signs of poor air quality in your office. Indoor pollutants like mold from water damage, or even carbon monoxide that enters the office through air vents can cause poor air quality.
Prevent the spread of germs through frequent handwashing and sanitization. Wipe down your mouse and keyboard every week, since they are notorious hiding spots for bacteria. If you suspect pollutants are plaguing your office instead of germs, bring your concerns to your supervisor or HR department.
4. You Don’t Enjoy Your Workday
Physical symptoms aren’t the only possible manifestation of work-related illness. Many people suffer from depression or anxiety because they feel “stuck” in their job, have a boss that stresses them out or don’t have a work-life balance. If you’re sleeping more or less than the recommended amount of seven to nine hours, feel unmotivated, or even feel physically ill but can’t find a cause, your job could be taking a mental toll on you.
Try to take breaks throughout your workday and get outside. If you feel overwhelmed, ask a supervisor or a coworker to help you find a better way to manage your schedule. If you want to find a different job but that isn’t a viable option for you right now, try to focus on the parts of your job that you can make better, not the parts you don’t have control over.
Most importantly, be open to the possibility of professional help if you need it. A listening ear can go a long way in helping you feel better.
5. You Can’t Sleep Because of Work-Related Stress
Stress isn’t only a mental burden; muscle tension, headaches, and the inability to sleep are all symptoms of stress. If you’re feeling tired or unfocused at work, it could be sleep-related.
Make sure you’re getting enough quality sleep. Getting 8 hours of sleep doesn’t matter as much if it’s low-quality sleep – do you wake up every hour? Toss and turn? Can’t fall back asleep after waking up once? All these things will impact your sleep and your workday.
Ensuring a healthy work-life balance will go a long way in reducing your stress and helping you sleep better. Try not to do work at home or outside of your working hours – even reading and answering emails – and keep a regular work schedule.
Now you have some ideas about what could be causing you to feel sick at work. Don’t hesitate to start making changes for the betterment of your health. Even the smallest actions, like taking a five-minute walk during the day, can leave you feeling healthier, happier, and more satisfied with your job.