Lekan Otufodunrin highlights six unhealthy habits of journalists and how to take necessary precautions.
When Hannah Ojo of The Nation recently shared a picture of a bottle of Coca Cola and Gala on her facebook timeline, with the question” Food(and)drink of future champions. Agree? Disagree? she probably was just trying to tease her friends and followers about the “emergency meal’ many find themselves eating on duty instead of a proper one.
Unlike others who took Ojo’s post as one of those facebook’s “jokes”, Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha, Head of The Nation’s Health Desk, opted to warn about the health implications of such food and drinks.
“At all” she wrote, “I have it on record about professionals that retired at the peak of their careers only to be grappling with poor health because they were careless with their diet while actively building a career.”
She continued, “Some told me they wished they could turn back the hand of the clock and eat great meals while on their desk instead of biscuits and fizzy drinks.”
Coke and Gala, according to her, do not have any nutrient, advising professionals to take fruits and water instead.
“As much as possible they should get a hand bag for food from home,” she counseled.
Oyeyemi’s point are valid and I hope journalists would take her advice seriously instead of justifying the “Coke and Gala” option due to the pressure of work that keeps us glued to our desks.
For the kind of hard work we do, we need good food that can nurture our bodies and keep us healthy. Junk food can usually quench hunger, but in the long run, it is dangerous for our health when it becomes the staple meal too often.
If your schedule is like mine and you live far from your office, you probably get home late in the night to eat dinner. Eating late is medically not good, just as eating some types of food at that time of the day is not advisable.
As much as possible, dinner should be taken early enough.
The habit of eating late at night, especially if you eat large quantity of food and/or take heavy food and lie down shortly after such meal, according to Dr. Mercole can cause- Arcade Reflux.
Arstephensination, heart ailments and other related risks are consequences of late dinner.
Meeting deadlines is surely a race against time for journalists. While it is understandable when breaking news or occasional assignments force us to work under pressure, it is injurious to our health when stressful work patterns become the norm.
According to a health guide, stress is not always bad. Though stress can help you perform under pressure, motivate you to do your best and even keep you safe when danger, it can damage your health, mood, relationship and quality of life when it becomes overwhelming like if it is usually the case for many journalists.
To avoid regularly being stressed up, learn how to do your assignments at the right time instead of waiting till close to the deadline to write under pressure. You need to master Time Management techniques to do the right thing at the right time.
Lack of regular check up
I will say without exception that all journalists are guilty of this “crime.” Journalists are in the habit of working day to day until they break down and are forced to seek treatment. Even when the signs are written all over us, we behave as if our job is more important than our health.
Instead of seeking proper treatment, many indulge in self medication just because they can’t imagine being away from their beats or desks.
For the avoidance of doubt, you are not indispensable. If you fall sick like I recently did for over two months, your assignments will be done. God forbid that you die due to lack of proper healthcare, you will be replaced.
Having regular medical check up helps to know the state of our wealth and necessary precautions to take
Sitting for too long
I recently briefed my medical doctor brother about the result of a medical test I had. Part of his recommendations for my condition is to avoid sitting for too long in a place.
“I know your job requires a lot of writing and you sit for long. Take regular breaks to move around. You need to burn the fat in your body by moving around and having some exercises.”
I am sure this advice is not only for me, but for many other colleagues who get glued to their desks for hours to write.
According to Dr James Levine, research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.
Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Staring at Computer Screen for too long
The nature of our work requires staring at computer screens for hours in the day and even at night. Just as sitting for too long is not healthy, staring at the computer has its health implications.
According to Dr. Blakeney, an optometric adviser, while computers will not permanently damage the eyes, it can cause strain or exacerbate existing eye conditions.
Here are some suggestions by Dr. April Cashin Garbutt on how to minimize the potential damage to your eyes caused by looking at computer screens:
^* Set up your computer screen so that it is in the correct position in relation to your eyes.
*Top of the screen should be in line with your eye level. In addition, the screen should be placed approximately 18-30 inches from you.
- The screen should also be tilted slightly back – between 10 to 15 degrees depending on the person’s particular preference. This is so that you do not receive glare from lights in the ceiling.
- Glare can also be avoided by placing blinds over nearby windows, or using a glare screen.
*In addition to adjusting the position of your screen, you can also minimize eye problems by simply blinking more frequently.
- It is also important to take breaks from looking at your screen. One easy way to remember this is to think of 20-20-20. This reminds you that every 20 minutes you should try to look at something 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- It is also recommended to take breaks from your screen altogether, in particular every 2 hours.