Sitting down all day is bad for your health. I recently proved that after I had episodes of recurring back and neck pain the last week. When I went to the doctor, he suggested that my neck might have been damaged. The X-ray result also pointed to a straightened cervical lordosis. And the cause? The doctor said that it could be the sedentary nature of my work (and even my lifestyle), which involves sitting down and staring at the computer screen from 9 a.m. (or 10 a.m. because I’m always late) to 5 p.m. (or later).
It seems like the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) heard my qualms about the nature of my job. After making a policy that would stop requiring working girls to wear high heels, DOLE will now require the working force to have a five-minute ‘standing break’ every two hours. Department Order No. 184 aims to ensure the well-being of employees and to prevent various illnesses caused by the sedentary nature of many jobs. So if your work schedule is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you must have four five-minute breaks.
The policy covers those who work with computers, in the field of transportation including those manning toll booths, and all other sedentary jobs. “Employers should encourage workers to reduce sedentary work by interrupting sitting and substituting it with standing or walking,” DOLE told the Inquirer.
We should thank DOLE for making such policy, but the responsibility to take care of our health is upon us. So before pointing fingers at your company or other people, you should take the initiative to care for yourself.
So what can you do in five minutes?
Walk around and talk to your officemates
Yes, I know it’s still office hours and you already have a Viber or WhatsApp group—and maybe you’re already tired of talking to your officemates. But a five-minute chat that doesn’t involve work wouldn’t hurt you nor the company.
Make coffee (or tea)
Forget your three-in-one sachets, you deserve better. In five minutes, you can grind fresh coffee beans and make a decent cup of joe that might taste like that of your favorite third wave coffee shop.
It’s hard to set aside time for working out or even a simple set of stretches, but this five-minute window is probably the best time to do a couple of simple exercises or maybe yoga. Above is a set of various exercises from Multisport. Since you only have five minutes, you can simply tweak it according to your needs and the time you have.
The five-minute break shouldn’t just be for your body. Your mind deserves a peaceful break, too. You can download meditation apps like Headspace to guide you through a short meditation. This will also allow your eyes to rest and prevent eyestrain.
Header photo courtesy of Unsplash
Stop overworking: A Japanese reporter died after 159 hours of overtime
Three effective ways to make telecommuting work
The layout of your office could be adding to your work stress
Coworking spaces are the new office framework
The standing desk is the first step out of a sedentary lifestyle