Dear Lifehacker, When work is getting too busy or stressful, I'll often use my "potty break" as a chance to unwind. After doing my business, I'll regularly stay on the toilet for another ten to 15 minutes and just vege out. (Sometimes I'll even get some work done on my smartphone.) So my question is: is staying in the cubicle longer than necessary bad for my health? Or is it the same amount of risk regardless? Thanks, The Sitter
Toilet picture from Shutterstock
Wow. We get some odd questions sent through to Ask LH but this one really takes the (urinal) cake. Sorry.
As a general rule of thumb, we'd advise against spending extra time in a tiny room where people defecate. We understand it's one of the few places where an absence goes unremarked, but come on: it's a public toilet.
If you're truly stressed out at work, there are various life hacks you can employ to make the situation more bearable. Examples include deliberately front-loading your week, employing a popular "stress buster", using humour and switching off your (presumably shit-encrusted) smartphone. You can also check out our complete guide to keeping your stress levels in check in 2015.
If all else fails, try explaining to your boss that sitting all day is a proven hazard to workers' health (and we mean regular office chairs, not toilets). Unless you work for a complete tyrant, they should be agreeable to you walking around and clearing your head for five minutes each day.
Oh, and if you absolutely must chill out in the toilets, we'd recommend "going" in the morning. Most workplaces do not clean their toilets until after 5pm, which means you're absorbing a lot of second-hand arse sweat (and worse) by late afternoon. If you want to ruminate while your urinate, get in early.
We're also curious to see what readers think: do you ever vege out in the office toilet or do you get out of there as quickly as possible? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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