If you are working towards a degree, or an advanced qualification like a masters or PhD, you have times when you have to spend many hours a day (or night) studying and writing. Many people now do degrees online with universities like Rutgers, who offer a wide range of courses like a masters in social work that you can do mostly from home at your computer. If you are doing something like this, even your lectures are done sitting at home looking at a PC screen, so you can find you are even more prone to some of the health problems that this can cause.
Whether you are in an intense study period ahead of an exam at your college or are doing something like an MSW online, then you should look at measures you can take to prevent pain, eye strain, fatigue and other problems long periods spent at a desk can cause. Here are four things you can do to help:
1. Take a Break from Your Screen Every Hour
There are regulations in workplaces that ask people to take regular breaks for ‘visual display units’ (that is, computer or tablet screens), in order to avoid eye strain, dry eyes and headaches. When you are reading or watching things on your screen, you blink less, and this can irritate your eyes. Once every hour, move away from your screen for five minutes. Go and fetch a drink, make some notes on paper, or just walk around and stretch your legs a bit. This will keep your eyes healthy and also help you keep going for longer.
2. Sit in a Proper Desk Chair
Again, in offices, people are required to sit on proper office chairs with five wheels, which are fully adjustable. This is because the wrong position for hours at a time can cause back and leg pain, shoulder problems, headaches and can lead to postural issues. If you work on a laptop on the sofa or even lying on your bed in a college dorm, you are going to be uncomfortable and end up with pain and weakness in your muscles and joints, so invest in a good chair and work at a desk.
3. Don’t Pull Too Many ‘All Nighters’
The all night study or essay writing session may sound like a staple of the college experience, however the more you do this, relying on caffeine and energy drinks to keep you focused, the worse it is for your health. Regular, quality sleep is essential and will help your memory and general brain function, so plan your studying so you don’t end up having to do this ahead of important deadlines or exams.
4. Don’t Be Too Sedentary
When time is at a premium it can be easy to stay indoors for days getting no exercise at all as you study. This is a bad idea for your health and mood, so try and take at least one refreshing walk every day, or do an at home cardio, yoga or strength training workout to lift your mood and stop you getting out of shape during intense periods of study.
These are just a few ways to stay healthy when you need to work hard on your degree course.