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Feeling Weary?

As the fatigue of using computers is unavoidable, here are my tips for staying as fresh as possible.

1. Everyone knows this one - take regular breaks.
It is recommended that you do something away from your screen for 15 mins every hour. For some this is not a viable option when deadlines are approaching. If you can't take time away, at least look at something else sporadically. If you have a fish tank in the room, follow the fish movements for a while or stare up at the posters on your walls or look out of the window.

2. Breath Deeply
When sitting and concentrating at a screen, your breathing gets quite low which can add to fatigue. Once in a while, close your eyes and concentrate on breathing deeply. Push out your stomach on the in-breaths to really expand your lungs to the full, then slowly release the air. It help to extend your spine and sit up fully with this.

3. Stretch
Your back, buttocks and thighs can really suffer when sitting in the same position for long periods. Make sure to re-adjust your posture to avoid bad necks and backs, and stretch out your legs often. Better still, get up and walk (hence the 15 mins break) or stretch out your legs by bringing your knee up to your chest (one at a time!)

4. Eat away
Not 'eat as much as you want' but 'eat away from your screen'. Having snacks at your computer is a bad move. It means the only reason to step away from your screen will be to use the loo (I hope!). Go out to get your lunch or sit in another part of house/office and relax while you eat.

5. Work away
Like before, work away from your computer. If there are thing you need to do which do not involve the computer, move down the desk (if possible) or to another table where the screen won't distract you.

The last two points are really to reduce the amount of time in front of the computer. I'd recommend anyone who works for long hours with computers to also have some physical activity a few times a week to counteract a lot of sitting. People can become overweight quite easily when they take a sedentary job. Personally, I hate the thought of my fingers being the strongest part of my body, so I keep hand-weights in the room with my computer and also have the radio on and the window open. A little bit of exercise in between e-mails goes a long way.

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September 2008

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