Working as a professional often means sitting for large portions of the day. While this has become more normal in modern-day society, there are many downsides to being still and sitting for hours on end. In particular, it can negatively impact your mental health. For those who also struggle with addiction, this is very important to understand and adjust to, as maintaining mental health aids you in staying sober.
An alternative to sitting is using a standing desk. By standing throughout the day, you not only burn more calories but have more natural movement. This helps to maintain your mental and physical health. This is very important for those who are recently out of treatment for a mental health disorder or addiction. Therefore, a standing desk could help you decrease your risk of relapse and make you feel better.
Risk of Sedentary Behavior on Mental Health
Sedentary behavior is likely exactly how you imagine it to be. It includes sitting, reclining, or lying down. Being sedentary is well known to increase the risk of many physical health issues including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. These health risks are in direct correlation to the amount of time being sedentary, regardless of time spent exercising. This means that even exercise cannot wash away the effects of sitting for long periods of time.
More recently, researchers have found that sedentary behavior also impacts mental health. In particular, sedentary behavior causes issues with mood and, in as little as seven days, can increase symptoms of depression. Getting exercise can help. However, decreasing the amount of time sitting will also help you to have fewer issues with your mental health.
Movement and Mental Health
In recovery, your mental health is very important. There are certain aspects of mental health that you have less control over. However, exercise and movement are one that you can make many adjustments to optimize your mental health. While having a standing desk is not exercise specifically, it does encourage movement. When you stand, you are more likely to adjust your feet or shift your weight regularly. You are even more likely to walk across your office space to get something you need since you are already up.
Therefore, many of the benefits of exercise on mental health can also be found in having a standing desk. These include managing mental health symptoms from a mental health disorder, maintaining alertness and focus, and decreasing fatigue and physical pain.
Mental Health Disorders
Many mental health disorders commonly occur with addiction. This includes anxiety, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia. While research varies on each disorder, many are directly impacted by exercise. Research has found that regular exercise will decrease anxiety, depression, and negative mood while improving cognitive functioning and self-esteem. For those with schizophrenia, exercise will help maintain good physical health while improving overall energy and focus.
If you are recovering from addiction and have a co-occurring mental health disorder, you know that they can impact each other. Regardless of the type of mental health disorder, a dual diagnosis means that your mental health is a priority in recovery. By moving and exercising being a part of your day with a standing desk, you can help manage symptoms in your mood that can help you to feel better and stay sober.
Whether you are working on a report or making a presentation, staying alert is important for you to be successful as a professional. It is also an indicator of mental health. Being sedentary can impact your ability to stay alert. A research study published in 2020 looked at how a sit-stand desk impacted sleepiness, which is the state of not being alert. Their results found that those who oscillated between sitting and standing for 30 minutes at a time each were less sleepy at the end of 8 hours when compared to those who only sat.
Being mentally alert and focused is a very positive thing as a working professional. It is also a sign of good mental health. By using a standing desk, or sitting and standing throughout the day, you will improve your work by being more focused and alert. However, you will also be more interested and engaged, helping you to feel better mentally.
While mental health is often thought of as your emotional health alone, the body is integrated. One of the most common symptoms of depression, a mental health disorder, is a feeling of fatigue. Fatigue is a feeling of being extremely tired, mentally or physically. While it would seem like sitting or being sedentary would be restful, it is quite the opposite.
You may know the feeling of sitting around and feeling lazy and tired, only to get up and go outside and realize that you have plenty of energy. This is a similar phenomenon in an office setting. When you sit for a long period, you tend to get more fatigued. After you leave the office, you may even feel like you don’t have the energy to exercise or cook dinner. If you find this true for yourself, don’t worry because it is incredibly common.
However, it is a problem that a standing desk can help with. By standing throughout the day, your body stays more engaged and the combination of small movements adds up to be a significant amount. When you stand for at least a portion of the day you will feel less fatigue. If you struggle with depression or other mental health disorders where fatigue is common, a standing desk will help.
Pain and discomfort from sitting all day are very common, especially low back and neck pain. Physical discomfort from sitting may be a good enough reason to try a standing desk. However, if it is not enough of a reason, consider how pain impacts mental health. Chronic pain, which is common from sitting all day, is associated with depression and other mental health issues.
When you are in physical discomfort for long periods, it becomes normal for you. However, due to pain, you likely make many adjustments such as decreasing movement or stopping activities that you enjoy. By doing so, you also impact your mental health. A standing desk, or standing for a portion of your day, helps you to feel better and have less pain when compared to sitting all day. Therefore, by getting a standing desk you will feel better physically which impacts how you feel mentally.
Can a Standing Desk Actually Make a Difference in Mental Health?
You may have heard the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking”. This is meant to say that sitting is very normal in the modern world, but there are health concerns that come with it. There is more research that is needed to better understand how sitting impacts different people, including mental health. However, the current research indicated that finding a way to stand more and sit less during the day can make a difference.
One research study found that after four weeks of using a standing desk, participants saw a significant difference in their mental health. They felt less tense, confused, and depressed. Additionally, they reported fewer mood disturbances, meaning they were more able to stay calm and feel good throughout their days. This study shows that for many, a standing desk can make a significant difference. Therefore, trying a standing desk may surprise you with how much it helps.
Each individual will find tools to help improve mental health. For those recently out of treatment, you may find it overwhelming. A standing desk is exactly that, a tool. It is a tool that can help you to feel better at the end of your work day. This allows you to leave work with energy to play with your kids or go get some exercise. Many companies will even buy you a standing desk so that you can get all of the benefits without the price tag.
Value of Improved Mental Health at Work
Working as a professional requires a great amount of mental effort. You are faced with unique problems while navigating many methods of communication simultaneously. Regardless of the industry you work in, it requires focus, attention, and care. Your mental health is at the foundation of your ability to do this.
By improving your overall mental health, you are helping yourself at work. For example, when you are feeling good, finishing a project by a deadline or dealing with a difficult customer is not a problem. However, on a day when you feel high fatigue or irritability, you are likely to find these tasks more difficult. Cultivating habits that help you to feel good is important on many levels, including your work.
Each individual will find ways that help. While it takes time to discover what is helpful, trying out options such as exercise, stress reduction techniques, or a standing desk is a great place to start. Remember that there is a test person where you can try it out and see if it suits you. The best mental health practices are the ones that make a difference for you to feel your best.
Value of Improved Mental Health for Addiction Recovery
Addiction is a disease that impacts every part of your life, including your mental health. While each individual’s experience of addiction is unique, drugs and alcohol alter your mood and interact with your brain. Therefore, your mental health is connected to your substance use. The good news is that after treatment, you can take care of your mental health. In doing so, you are helping yourself to have a more positive outcome with recovery.
For those with mental health disorders, caring for your mental health is even more important in recovery. Mental health disorders and addiction generally make each other worse. While substances are commonly used as a way to self-medicate a mental health disorder, they generally do not work long-term. Finding a sustainable solution is vital.
Getting Help: Mental Health and Addiction
Your mental health is important and is at the foundation of how you feel daily. However, it also plays a role in your risk of relapse. While there are many things that you can adjust to improve your mental health, it all starts with getting help.
By seeking help from a professional treatment facility, you will learn tools that will help you to build a healthier and more fulfilling life. The tools will look different for each individual. However, many of them are centered around self-care. In learning to take responsibility for your needs and caring for yourself, you can make a difference in how you feel day to day.
During treatment, you will also learn how to improve communication to create boundaries, ask for help, or communicate your needs. These skills are very practical in many situations. As a working professional, this might look like speaking with your boss about navigating stress or getting a standing desk to help you improve your mental and physical health.
While getting help can feel daunting, it is the first step in finding peace and healing from mental health disorders and addiction. In treatment, you will receive the support you need to meet your goals. As the first step, it puts you on a road to creating a new life where you can live your life without drugs and alcohol while caring for your needs. This helps you to feel good daily, and live the life you deserve.
Working at a desk and sitting for long periods of time has become very normal. However, while many people do it, it does not mean it is good for you. Getting exercise and decreasing your time sitting can help you to feel better mentally and physically. At Pacific Sands Recovery, we help working professionals address their issues with addiction and mental health. Our goal is for each client to leave with the skills they need to be successful in recovery. If you are a working professional looking for help, we provide services that are unique and tailor-made for you. Call us today at (949) 426-7962 to learn more about our programs and how we can help.