Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Healthy habits and a healthy environment, part of Corporate Video Weekly.
- You know Rich, a couple months ago I went to my regular annual doctor's checkup. And don't worry. You're not gettin' rid of me anytime soon. Everything is okay. - Good. - But one thing I did discover through my routine blood work was that I had a vitamin D deficiency. The doctor, first thing he asked me, he goes, do you go outside? I said, well, yeah, but I spend a tremendous amount of time in a dark room. So I got on vitamin D supplements and all that kind of stuff. - I got the same speech. Mine was really minor, but they're like, oh yeah, half of the adult population has a vitamin D deficiency.
- Vitamin D, for those of you who don't know, is generated by your body automatically through exposure to sunlight. And the fact is, is that as creatives, we spend an amazing amount of time inside, in dark offices and suites, doing the creative work that we are required to do. Not only that, is it not only a physiological thing, but it's also a mental thing. Not being around sunlight and bright lights and this kind of stuff can get you susceptible to being down, and bummed, and frustrated. At the very far end of the spectrum, people have things like seasonal disorders where they, when the sun goes down early, they get depressed and anxious and all sorts of stuff.
The HappyLight product by Verilux is a really neat concept for avoiding some of that. - Yeah, it's gonna get a little bright here for a moment. And you would obviously put this a little further away from you. But it simulates the feeling of sunlight. And your body has the same response based on the color temperature of the light and the quality of the light that's coming out of it. Now I'm gonna turn that off for a second, 'cause it's a little bright on camera. But this is the type of light that you could put in an edit suite, and easily turn on for a short period in the day, just to get your body used to it. - Yeah, and also having daylight's balanced light, anywhere from 5,600 kelvin up to 6,500 kelvin bulbs.
You can do this with bias lights or other lights. That kind of natural light is gonna feel, and make your body feel like that. And there's a perfect example. That kind of light more designed for actually lighting on film sets, but serves the same purpose of having it around your suite. Having that nice daylight-balanced temperature light that gives your body a hint, or a clue, that hey, this is the time of day. - Yeah, well my office has fluorescent lights overhead in the ceiling, cause they're almost part of building code these days. I actually turn them off, and have a mixture of daylight lights and other types of lights with different color temperatures in the office, as well as make sure that the window is letting light in, when I can do so.
- Now part of the thing about working a long time at a desk, unfortunately, whether it's a standing desk or a sitting desk, is that you have to protect your body. And there are some various degrees of doing this. I actually just bought a device called the Lumo Lift that gives me a little buzz when my posture gets bad, and kinda gets me back up to get my shoulders back, and stuff like that. - [Rich] It's basically like a snooze detection like the cars have. - Yeah, or like when you scrunch your shoulders, those things are bad. One of the things that I think, from a protectionary standpoint that people often overlook, because we spend so much time on the desk, or on keyboards, and mice, it's things like this.
These things have been around forever, you've seen them at every single office store you've ever gone to. Mousepads and wrist-protectors. - This is one of many options that are out there, you can get what works for you. But something that your wrists can sit on as you're typing, it just alleviates it. - Getting it to a good angle. - Yeah, that's gonna help, so that you're not, if you're down here, you're doing this and you're bending the wrists back. Now the wrists are a little bit more comfortable, something to rest on, same thing with the mousepad. It's just supporting it so that you're not bending the wrist as much. - Well, it's also a pressure thing, a lot of people, whether they realize it or not, subconsciously put a lot of pressure down onto this part of their hand, which then ripples up their arm, they get sore shoulders, sore necks, all of that from doing that pushing.
The other thing that I think is important, especially if you're gonna be using the standing desk, whether it's full-time or part-time, is alleviating some of the pressure that's going on through your feet. That's where a stress-relief standing pad like this comes into play. Now there's lots of places that you can find these. You can find them at specialty standing desk stores, which tend to be a little more upscale in terms of their pricing of some of these things. - Or Home Depot. - Or Home Depot, I like to use Uline, that store that has all that industrial supply stuff. Come in different thicknesses, different levels of gel inside of them to support that.
One thing you'll see on this one, and it's not just because we did it here for being on set with a little T mark there. But this is actually something that I would suggest that people do on their own, is find the center of that pad and mark it. As we talked in the movie on standing desks, is that when you're standing, you have to stand correctly. And having that mark on the pad will help you do that. - Now speaking of standing, or sitting, it's possible to do too much of one thing, so setting alerts for your body is also a good idea. I like to set an inactivity reminder.
If you're wearing a smartwatch this is an option that's pretty easy, or a lot of things, like the Fitbits, or the exercise trackers will have an inactivity monitor. I'll also just set an alarm or a timer on my phone. So if I'm doing a lot of computer work, and I know I'm gonna get very focused and really into it, I'll set a timer for 25 minutes, and then stand up and walk for five minutes, and then go back to work. This is just a great idea. - Yeah, I used to find that these things, smartwatch, were kind of annoying, like, go away, go away.
But I actually just switched from iOS, I'm now on Android, and therefore, I got rid of my Apple watch and now I'm on an Android watch. The one I have, it almost has a truth sensitivity. It really kinda gets mean at me sometimes. (laughs) Which for me, I find I need it. Like, get up, now, or else, kind of thing. - Does it shock you? - No, not yet, though they might get there. But it does suggest to do things like, hey, maybe you want to do some torso rotations, or stretch out your back, stuff like that. We get really stiff and sore if we stay mobile, or, sorry, static for a long time.
So getting up, being a little bit more mobile helps for sure. - Yeah, and to that end, one of the other things that you can also do is specifically target exercises for the types of injuries you're likely to occur. I simply told my trainer, hey, I tend to do a lot of work on a computer. I tend to spend a lot of time sitting. He's like, great, we can do kettlebells for wrist strength, and we can do carries, and these type of lifts, and all of these specific things, and by focusing on it, and building up those muscles, he does this thing like a suitcase carry.
I do a lot of travel. Well, you're gonna walk with these dumbbells for 200 yards. - Yeah, I actually have a couple things like that in my office. My clients have come to appreciate it, because clients are like, oh yeah, I could use a stretch. I have one of these green stretch bands that has little loops in it, so you can put your foot on one end, and stretch your leg, that kinda stuff. And on the back of my office door, I have some rubber elastic straps, too. I have some bad shoulders. So I can do things like exercise my rotator cuff and that kinda stuff. You know, in five minutes throughout the day, just take a quick break from the computer, that kinda stuff adds up to not only your mobility and flexibility, but improving the strength of those problem areas.
- And one last area that most people overlook is going to be their eyesight. So when you visit your eye doctor, 'cause there's a pretty good chance, if you work in this industry, you wear contacts, or glasses, make sure you have a discussion with them about eye health. I sometimes use a pair of reading glasses when I've spent a lot of time looking at the computer, just to cut down on fatigue. While I can see the screens just fine with my contacts, I find that reading glasses do come in handy if I'm gonna spend a lot of time. And Rob, you regularly wear glasses. They can actually treat the glasses so they're more computer-friendly.
- Yeah, actually on this pair of glasses, because I'm a colorist, and my eyes are so important to me, I go for broke when it comes to the coatings and stuff I can get. So I have anti-reflective, anti-glare coatings on the glasses. And I think the one point you made earlier about getting your eye health checked is really an important one. A lot of optometrists, and even glasses stores, and those yearly eye checks, they're gonna offer you the ability to take a more comprehensive view of your eyes. Not just the glaucoma and pressure test, which are important, but they'll actually be able to take images of your optic nerve and see blood vessels, so you can cut off things like cataracts, and glaucoma, and other potentially really bad problems ahead of time.
Yeah, those services tend to cost a little extra money, not usually covered by insurance and stuff like that, blah, blah, blah, but they're a really good thing to do, especially if you're spending the bulk of your time in front of your computer, and your eyes are how you make your living. - Yeah, so these are just a handful of things that you can do to improve your physical workspace. Now I do realize that not everybody has the budget for each of these things, so start small, it doesn't take a lot to add some stretching and just standing up to your workplace. You might be able to put a request in, or many companies actually see the benefits of this, if you simply have a conversation with the human resource department about some of these ergonomic options.
This is not something that's looked down upon these days. Companies would much rather have you be healthy, - Absolutely. - And happy, and be a productive worker, so you should be able to find what you need. - Yeah, and it's all about, also, experimentation. Don't expect the first time that you go out and buy one of these ergonomic products for it to be the perfect thing. I've gone through dozens of different stress relief pads, different setups on my desks, standing desk, and so on. A little experimentation is necessary as well. - Great, well now that you have some ideas to put into place, we hope that your body thanks you, and that you have a healthy and productive creative environment.