find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Adelaide CBD · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
Freelance Project Finance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Australia
· Vario are looking for freelance lawyers with experience in project finance ideally within the renewable energy sector
View details
Vario Freelance Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Australia
· We are looking for lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Freelance Construction Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· We are looking for construction lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Banking Associate - 1-6PQE - Allen & Overy
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: United Kingdom
· Banking Associate - 1-6 PQE - Allen & Overy
View details
Wellness: stop and breathe

Wellness: stop and breathe

Katerina Petrogiannakis

As lawyers sit glued to their computer screens, they may lose sight of the effects on their breathing and general health, writes Katerina Petrogiannakis.

Lawyers are masters at keeping up with hundreds of emails a day. We jump at the sound of our iPhones enticing us to focus on yet another email or text. That enduring bright blue light, the sacred flame from our iPhone screens, lights up our faces day and night. There is no doubt we are living in a world of hyper-connectivity, but are we forgetting to breathe?

According to Linda Stone, thought leader and former technology executive, we are. Ms Stone spent months researching and testing the physiological impacts of sitting in front of a screen and found that people either shallow-breathe or stop breathing.

The good news is, it has a name: screen apnea. Despite the obvious irony in the fact that you’re probably reading this piece about screen apnea on a screen, as it turns out this phenomenon is not so funny.

I don’t need to drone on about the detrimental health impacts of holding your breath or shallow breathing, as we’ve heard it all before. But it is worth reminding ourselves that compromised breathing does increase stress levels, and impact our attitude, our sense of emotional wellbeing and our ability to work effectively. A quick and dirty list of symptoms includes: tightness in the neck and shoulders, kicking off the autonomic nervous system into the fight-flight response and releasing the stress hormone adrenalin, thrusting us into a deep, dark world of pain (so to speak).

So why are we holding our breath? Simple, when we sit in front of our screens or stare at our iPhones, we tend to hunch, pushing our arms and shoulders forward and making it difficult to inhale and exhale fully. Add a dose of anticipation to the mix, which is generally a complimentary side dish accompanying emails and texts, and we are well and truly on struggle street when it comes to breathing.

So, top tips for reducing screen apnea?

1. Be aware. Do you hold your breath in front of your screen? When? Identify your triggers and remind yourself to stop and breathe deeply, focusing on exhaling.

2. Mobilise. Instead of calling or emailing, walk over to your colleague’s desk. Be conscious of taking breaks – get up and move around for five to 10 minutes.

3. Conscious computing. Use technology to break bad habits. I acknowledge the paradox, but a mobile app such as Stand Up! or GPS for the Soul, or even a simple Outlook reminder, will go some way towards reducing screen apnea.

4. Improve your posture. Look at making any necessary adjustments to your chair and computer setup to improve your posture. Get a stand-up desk if need be – everyone else is doing it.

Katerina Petrogiannakis is the deputy chief legal counsel - corporate and IT team at NBN Co.

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

Wellness: stop and breathe
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Debate rises over Victorian judiciary attack
Debate rises over Victorian judiciary attack
The Victorian Bar has become the latest to go on record condemning recent political attacks on the V...
Michelle Quigley QC
Vic Barrister who helped stop major heritage redevelopment joins Supreme Court
Michelle Quigley QC, who assisted a coalition to oppose the redevelopment of St Heliers villa estate...
Building, construction
Building for NSW coroner’s complex slated for early 2019
Efforts to relocate the state coroner’s facilities from Glebe to Lidcombe are on track, according ...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...