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It’s no secret that sitting at a desk all day can have some serious health consequences—from back pain to more complicated issues like facing a greater risk of heart disease. Not to mention that staring at a computer and typing for hours with little physical activity can leave you feeling pretty drained.
But it is possible to ease the job-induced tension and discomfort on your body (and brain). Here, three simple things you can do each night to relieve some of that stress.
1. Gently apply an eye cream
When looking at a phone or computer screen, your face is automatically exposed to blue light, which can affect your sleep, cause health issues, and potentially trigger diseases, according to Harvard Medical School.
On top of that, this pesky light may also contribute to premature skin aging that includes discoloration, wrinkles, and a loss of elasticity (as if the sun and pollutants weren’t enough of a problem).
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using an eye cream to lessen the signs of aging around this sensitive area. Need a rec? We love the new Hyaluronic Tripeptide Gel-Cream for Eyes by StriVectin. The dual-phase, swirled gel-cream includes hyaluronic acid to intensely hydrate skin that can become dry and sensitive from blue light exposure (the gel cools while the cream moisturizes). It also contains BioMarine extracts, which help reduce the appearance of dark circles. Dab it on before bed and again in the morning if you need a double dose.
The best way to apply: Make sure your face is clean and dry. Place small dots of cream under the eye-area and around the orbital bone, and gently tap into your skin with your ring finger until it’s completely absorbed.
2. Do a few simple eye exercises
If your computer is your closest office companion, you’re likely straining your eyes throughout the day, which can—surprise!—lead to eye problems. A study published by the International Journal of Health Sciences found that over 70% of the population faces some sort of painful eye symptom from exposure to their screens.
According to the National Institutes of Health, spending a few minutes doing simple eye exercises can help combat symptoms like strain, blurred vision, headaches, and dry eyes, leading to a more restful sleep and a more productive work day. Before you turn in for the night, try running through a few of these.
Focus change: Hold your finger a short distance from your eyes and focus on it. Without breaking focus, move it away from your face. Once your arm is extended, look at the wall behind your finger, return your focus back to your finger, and move it toward your face. Relax your eyes and repeat a few times.
Near and far focus: Hold your thumb about a foot away from your face and focus on it. After 15 seconds or so, look into the distance (approximately 10 to 20 feet away) for another 15 seconds. Then, return your focus to your thumb. Repeat a few times.
Figure eight: Imagine a figure eight on the floor about 10 feet in front of you. Carefully trace the figure eight with your eyes for around one minute, switching directions about halfway through.
3. Relax with restorative yoga poses
Calling all yogis! The National Sleep Foundation says that people who work yoga into their nighttime routine sleep longer, fall asleep faster, and return to sleep more quickly than those who race to bed after a chaotic day. Restorative yoga poses, like the three listed below, aid in relaxation and can help relieve tension and stress.
Wide-knee child’s pose: Kneel on the floor with your big toes touching. Sit down on your heels, and extend your knees wide. Lay down on your torso and extend your arms out in front of you, with your forehead touching the floor.
Lying butterfly pose: Lie on the ground with your stomach facing upward. Press the soles of your feet together so that your legs make a diamond shape, and let your knees relax out to the sides.
Legs-up-the-wall pose: This one’s exactly how it sounds. Lay on your back and press your sitting bones as close as you can to the wall. Raise your legs so that you’re at a 90-degree angle and hold the pose for a few minutes.