Designing a Healthy Lifestyle – Even Web Designers Are Human
Sitting and staring at the screen all day may not seem like the most stressful job. Yet, ask any web designer and they will give you a piece of their mind. In reality, web designers don’t have it easy. Their minds, eyes and arms are functioning at optimum levels throughout the day, often round the clock. Unlike normal workers, they don’t usually stop for breaks unless nature calls. While this does enable them to master their skills and get more work done, it could lead to health issues in the future, which aren’t only limited to eyesight problems.
There is no design without discipline. There is no discipline without intelligence – Massimo Vignelli.
From back problems to constant headaches, health problems can be unsettling and render you unable to work. So, what would you rather do: work your butt off today or watch your health and enjoy a long and successful career in web design?
Surely, you would opt for the latter. After all, staying healthy is what will keep you motivated and able to complete your work. If this is the case, it is about time you start analyzing the health mistakes you are making and take some steps to curb your current working habits or else your body will start complaining.
An Inherently Inactive Lifestyle
For web designers working on a project, physical activity is restricted to moving and clicking the mouse and typing on the keyboard. Needless to say, the inactivity that comes with the job encourages an unhealthy lifestyle. The most likely outcome is that you start feeling stressed and ultimately depressed. Stress is considered to be among the leading causes of major health problems today. Heart issues, ulcers, emotional disturbance and others are waiting in the offing if you don’t change your lifestyle.
Even if you acknowledge this problem, that doesn’t quite solve this issue. You need to take some action to rectify the situation. The best possible course of action for you is to start an exercise regimen. However, that is easier said than done for a person who hasn’t been working out for quite some time. Still, you don’t have to follow the workout routine of an Olympic athlete. A 20-minute jog or run in the park should suffice and at the very least keep stress away from you. It is even better if you head to the gym for a quick workout since it gives you the chance to get out of the house and also interact with other people. As your body gets used to exercise, you can increase your workout’s intensity.
The Strain of Typing
The incidence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has increased over the past few years with most patients performing deskbound jobs that involve a lot of typing. As a web designer, you have to type a lot. It is part of the work package you are required to do, but the sheer volume of typing that you do can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. As a result, you will start experiencing itchiness, pain and soreness in your forearms.
The only way you can reduce the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is to change your posture. People who slouch in their seats while typing are the most vulnerable to this syndrome. So, start sitting straight and keep your feet flat on the ground. Also, your wrists have to be comfortable when you are typing. Posture and comfort aside, make regular breaks when typing and stretch your forearms, wrists and fingers to avoid excessive strain.
Not Getting Your Beauty Sleep
You might find it difficult to power off at the end of the day. When the mind is active and engaged throughout the day, it won’t be easy to completely switch it off. As a result, you may have trouble falling asleep. Lack of sleep is a concern for web designers; however, you need to get your beauty sleep so you can wake up fresh the next morning and be able to focus on your work. Not sleeping enough will also curtail your productivity considerably.
If you find yourself tossing and turning in bed all night, the ideal solution is to try sleeping elsewhere in the house. Also, remove all distractions, including your cell phone, laptop, even your family if possible. Web designers usually work on tight deadlines, so you cannot risk your productivity just because you didn’t get your eight hours of shuteye.
Risking Your Eyesight
It is a known fact that staring at your monitor all day is bound to cause eyesight problems. This is the reason most web designers have to wear glasses while working. Since you cannot help but look at the screen (how else would you work?), you need to find a way to reduce the strain exerted on your eyes. Even using an anti-glare screen might not help simply because you are going to look at it for eight hours, often continuously.
There are a couple of things you can do instead. First of all, the lighting in the room has to be adequate. It is said that the monitor should be the brightest object in the room, but that doesn’t mean you should work using candlelight. Secondly, do eye resting exercises. These are quite simple; just look away from the screen for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes. Looking away does not mean you can use your phone. It is also a screen after all. Also, blink more. These aside, it is not a bad idea to get your eyesight checked regularly.
Ignoring Back Pain
You might be surprised to learn that nearly 90% of people working in offices experience back pain to some degree. However, not even half of them address the issue and it grows into a major problem for them. Even if you feel your chair is comfortable, sitting on it for so long every day without ensuring a perfect posture, back pain is inevitable. As it is often accompanied by neck pains, it can make things even worse for you.
You should NEVER ignore back pain. Even if you feel a slight tingling in your back or neck, stand up right away. Just think that it is time for a break. You will realize that getting up did help. These aside, here are a few quick tips to get your posture right:
- Position your chair close to your desk.
- Adjust the height.
- Place your arms on the desk or keyboard.
- Sit on a cushion (very important).
- Keep your back straight.
Follow these tips for a proper sitting posture at work. If this does not alleviate your back pain, consult a specialist right away.
Reading about the health problems web designers face can lead you to think that throwing your laptop out of the window is the best thing to do. However, that is not a practical option; all you need to do is look after yourself. Remember that you are a human being and need your health, so make sure that you have this valuable asset to become the successful web designer you aim to be.
Elena Simionescu handles PR for Pixel77 and Inky Deals. She takes design tutorials and design deals pretty seriously and in her free time, she watches a lot of movies. Like a lot, a lot. Get in touch with her on Twitter and Google+.