Slowly but surely the U.S. economy is becoming a gig economy fueled by freelancers. Many of these freelancers work from home sitting behind a screen for 8+ hours a day. In fact, the 2015 National Health Interview Survey found that approximately a third of all U.S. workers rarely stand during their work hours.
A standing desk can alleviate many of the health problems associated with sitting, but staring at a screen all day can still be stress inducing. Particularly if bright screens emitting blue light cause insomnia symptoms that add to the stress.
It’s no surprise that people who sit in front of a screen all day rely on a number of stress relievers. Here are some of the most common ways screen watchers cope with stress.
Vaping or Smoking
Many smokers note that they light up as a way to relieve stress, but it’s also cancer forming. That’s why millions of smokers are switching to vaping. Vapers still get the relaxation without all the tar, they can control nicotine levels and there are countless flavors to choose from. Some top brands now offer specials like the Zamplebox e-juice membership club that allows customers to sample new flavors each month.
A Glass of Wine or Beer
Many workers enjoy an adult beverage as a way to unwind after a long day’s work. Just be careful not to overdo it. The U.S. Department of Human and Health Services recommends that women drink no more than 8 alcoholic beverages a week and men should limit it to 15 beverages. It’s also important to nix alcohol several hours before bedtime. If not, it can disrupt your sleep and add stress the next day.
Working out may put your muscles to the test, but it’s also an effective stress reliever. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America suggests that anyone who’s dealing with chronic stress get moving, yet only 14% of people surveyed say they use exercise as a stress reliever.
You get a mood boost from physical activity because it increases endorphin production. Endorphins are known as the feel-good hormone due to its uplifting effect that actually combats depression as well. Exercise is also effective at reducing fatigue and muscle pains, which are two of the most common health issues among freelance designers and other workers that sit in front of a screen.
If you need to calm your body down rather than rev it up, meditation is an effective stress reliever. The good news is meditation is remarkably easy to do anywhere and the benefits can be felt after just five minutes. People who have never tried meditation before can download Headspace. It’s a free app with an expert that guides you through short meditation sessions.
Yoga or Tai Chi
Blend exercise with meditation by practicing Tai Chi or Yoga. Yoga involves focused breathing and holding poses that stretch muscles in challenging ways. Tai Chi is an ancient form of Chinese martial arts, but it isn’t nearly as intense as karate or judo. Like yoga, emphasis is put on breathing, poses and slow, flowing movements.
What’s more relaxing than a massage? It may be a bit of an investment compared to other stress relievers, but numerous studies have shown massage can be used to reduce tension and improve muscle aches. The type of massage technique that’s used makes a difference. Swedish massage, hot stone massage and reflexology are highly recommended for people who are experiencing stress.
Acupuncture is also recognized as a way to reduce pain and boost mood. Physicians and researchers aren’t quite sure why acupuncture works, but studies have clearly shown a connection between this form of Eastern medicine and improved health.
As long as needles don’t stress you out, regular acupuncture sessions could help. Plus, many health care plans now cover acupuncture treatments.
In addition to using the stress stoppers above, it’s important to take screen breaks throughout the day. At least once every hour get up and walk around for a few minutes to give your eyes, brain, and body a break.