Step away from the stylus for a moment and follow these guidelines to ensure you stay happy and healthy while unleashing your creativity.
Some people may already be aware of this, but we decided to delve deeper into how designers’ work impacts their well-being. What we discovered is both fascinating and concerning.
Designer Health Problems
According to our findings, 15% of designers reported experiencing health problems. Among these, 15% suffered from headaches and migraines, 13% had eye problems, 11% experienced repetitive injuries such as wrist syndrome, 6% were dealing with obesity, and 5% had blood circulation issues.
Additionally, we found that 17% of designers faced psychological problems such as stress and depression, 12% struggled with sleep disorders, and 7% encountered relationship difficulties.
So, what’s going on? And more importantly, what can we do about it?
A Matter of Passion
Dr. Gail Kinman, an occupational health psychologist and director of the Applied Psychology Research Center at the University of Bedfordshire, explains that creatives are often at risk for certain diseases because they are highly passionate about their work. According to Dr. Kinman, “It all depends on the immersion in the work. People who do this kind of work live and die with it.”
While immersing yourself in your work can be rewarding, it can also have negative effects on your health. Dr. Kinman highlights that when you’re completely absorbed in your work, you may neglect your basic needs. You may lose track of time, ignore hunger, and even disregard discomfort caused by poor posture and ergonomics. Prolonged periods of sitting in the wrong position can result in back pain and stress injuries.
The good news is that you have the power to change this. Here are some tips to help you prioritize your well-being:
You can prevent many injuries with a little care. Ensure you have a comfortable chair and a well-arranged workspace with good lighting. Make sure your mouse is responsive and maintain an upright posture, keeping your arms and legs perpendicular. However, one of the biggest threats to designers is a lack of exercise.
If you work alone or in a small group, it can be challenging to find time or motivation to eat well and exercise regularly. This sedentary lifestyle can have severe long-term consequences, including obesity, type II diabetes, circulatory problems, back and neck issues, heart disease, and an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
02. Exercise While Working
Some designers argue that the best way to combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle is to exercise while you work or at least take breaks and stand up. Standing desks and treadmill desks have gained popularity among those who believe in burning calories and prolonging their lifespan. However, it’s essential to note that standing all day can lead to arterial diseases, varicose veins, back problems, and related injuries if your posture isn’t correct.
If your job involves meeting a lot of people, it’s crucial to incorporate regular walks into your routine. Dr. Kinman suggests doing something physically different from your office environment, especially if your workplace also doubles as your entertainment space.
Creative work isn’t always conducive to good mental health. Tight deadlines, challenging requirements, job insecurity, stress, and the pressure to earn money can make life miserable. This becomes particularly evident when you work from home or remotely, missing out on the same level of social interaction as in an office.
“A typical form of job stress comes from high demands, low control, and social isolation,” says Dr. Kinman. A combination of these factors can lead to serious illnesses such as coronary heart disease and depression. However, making small changes in each category can significantly reduce stress levels. For example, you could manage deadlines more effectively, establish work-life balance, and maintain relationships with friends and loved ones.
04. Community Support is Vital
Dr. Kinman emphasizes that community support is one of the most critical factors in maintaining well-being. The community can listen to you, offer assistance, help organize your thoughts, and provide practical support. However, it’s important to note that social media may not offer the same depth of connection as personal interactions. As Dr. Kinman puts it, “You love people when you need them, but you want them back when they start interfering with your business. Social networks have their benefits, but they can’t replace genuine social connections.”
05. Know Yourself Well
Understanding the difference between severe stress, depression, and having a few bad days is crucial. Dr. Kinman stresses the importance of recognizing the signals your body and mind send you. Depression and pre-depression can drain you emotionally, leading to a loss of interest in daily activities and difficulty concentrating. Sometimes, those close to you may notice it before you do.
06. Listening to Ice Cube
Being a designer is undoubtedly an exciting profession, but it’s essential to monitor the duration, timing, and nature of your work to ensure it doesn’t negatively impact your physical and mental health. As renowned workplace health and safety expert Ice Cube advises, “You better check yourself before you wreck yourself.”
Remember, prioritizing your health doesn’t mean compromising your creativity. By implementing these tips, you can maintain a healthy balance and continue to thrive as a designer.
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