badhabitsJust like any other worker, virtual assistants like you have daily rituals that you develop as time goes by. They become habits because you either need them for the job or in order to get through every work day. Being a virtual assistant might seem like a very convenient job to most, but that doesn’t mean it is risk-free, especially when it comes to health.

We are all probably aware of the usual culprit when it comes to dangers like damage eyesight from strain, glare, and radiation, muscle aches caused by the lack of movement, and conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome due to damaged nerves.

Below are some habits that pose a threat to your health and you must avoid.

1. Headphones kept over the ears all day

As a virtual assistant, especially if you are a virtual administrative assistant, you tend to keep the headphones all day long even after working hours. You use these for taking or making calls to and for your clients. When there are no calls, these devices will be blasting out music tunes to keep you entertained or provide you with a conducive atmosphere for working.

In any case, a virtual assistant is as married to their headphones as the military is to their guns. You develop an attachment with it or a habit of keeping it on as your tenure in the job becomes longer. It is an unshakable habit, much like the fidgeting with a lighter to smokers is.

What you might know, however, is that this habit endangers your health, especially if you are also someone who loves keeping the volume at a high. Over time, this practice could inflict a gradual damage to your eardrums and the sensitive nerves inside your ears.

Have you heard about the condition called tinnitus? It is a condition where you have a recurring “ringing” within your ears. Clinically, it cannot be mostly measured but is often rated in scales of “slight” to “catastrophic.” It may not be deadly, but it poses a very annoying interference in your daily activities, concentration, rest, work, and most particularly, your sleep. Plus, people who suffer from this condition can have some degree of hearing loss, causing you to have trouble hearing clearly external sounds that are within the same frequency as your “phantom sounds.”

Different people experience different “phantom sounds” while they have tinnitus. The discomfort is heightened in an environment that is typically quiet or without any distracting noise. This is the reason why sleep is mostly disrupted. The quiet of your room magnifies the ringing so much so that you will encounter trouble falling asleep. It takes away your concentration as well, because it will be all that you can think about.

There are no specific cures for tinnitus, unless there is an underlying cause like an infection. In usual cases, sound therapy is suggested to alleviate the distress of the condition. Using white noise or more distracting sounds like the whirring of an electric fan or other machines to counter the one in your ears. Counseling, acupuncture, even certain foods are also recommended. There are also other more intense treatments available, depending on the severity.

2. Drinking copious amounts of coffee in a day

Okay, maybe not only virtual assistants are guilty of this, but many are. Judging by the success of posh and overpriced coffee shops, it can only be expected that most professionals love their coffee. Coffee breaks are well-observed and looked for. You can consume more than three cups a day.

The importance of coffee to virtual assistants is that you need it to stay awake and do your work. Being that most work from the home, the availability of a cup of joe is high and without the hassle of getting in line just to get one. Also, a lot of virtual assistant are not only from different geographical locations but from different time zones as well. So, it can be assumed that there is a high probability that you work at night so as to be available during a client’s waking hours.

Coffee becomes your best friend in this scenario. It will be easy to have more than necessary just to pull through your shift. Coffee is generally good for the health and is a popularly known anti-oxidant. However, this belief contributes to people’s abuse of it. Thinking only about the benefits, we fail to see that this also has less healthy side effects.

Since caffeine affects the central nervous system, it’s easy to develop dependence on it. The severity of the reaction to be expected from caffeine withdrawal is such that it has now been recognized as mental disorder. Too much caffeine can lead to conditions such as muscle tremors, blurred vision, heart palpitations, and hyperglycemia.

There is one simple solution to prevent all these — regulation. Make sure you keep your coffee intake to the recommended number of cups daily which will maximize its antioxidant potential without doing your health harm.

3. Having poor diet and sleeping habits

Virtual assistants who work from home have this habit of eating food that they can eat while still stationed in front of the computer. The typical scenario would be to see a bowl of edible stuff, a can or glass of ice cold soda, and a spoon to shovel the food with when necessary. Nothing as fancy as a multi-course meal because that will be cumbersome to eat while on your work desk.

Also many virtual assistant need to work at night to adjust to their clients’ time zone. The very fact that their routine is reversed – they are awake and eat at night while they sleep in the day – makes their diet and sleeping habits poor.

The body’s cell rejuvenation or its chance to heal itself happens at night when you are supposed to be at rest so the miracle can happen effectively. This means that the body does not rejuvenate as it is supposed to do. Also, when you eat at night, where your most strenuous activity is moving your mouse or getting up from your chair to get water or anything else, your body is less likely to be able to break down your food and turn it into energy.

Add to this, the misconception that “diet” in any foodstuff, especially diet soda, is healthy, many virtual assistants abuse it to keep their energy up. Soda contains caffeine, so they can be addicting as well. For other unhealthy properties, it has artificial sweeteners that are more harmful than actual sugars. The most dangerous of which is aspartame, some doctors found it to cause migraines and weight gain, even depression and brain tumor in worst cases. There are also some of these diet sodas that contain high amounts of sodium. If you have several cans or glasses in a day when you add that with the sodium from your other food intake, you will have consumed more than the recommended amount that is still healthy. You put yourself at risk of kidney disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and heart failure.

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Angela is a virtual assistant specializing in content writing, social media marketing, and administrative assistance. Follow her on Google+.
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