The one thing every one of us has in common right now is that our lifestyle has changed. For some, it is filled with more time demands and less time for self care. For others, it’s been a great opportunity to do more self care, catch up on home projects and enjoy moving in the outdoors with family. We will use this next blog series to take a look at what changes you want to keep and which ones you need to adjust to allow you to keep moving and be well for the duration of this outbreak, and beyond.
Since many of you are working from home (me too!), let’s start with the home work station because this is where you are probably spending most of your time. If your body is letting you know it’s not sustainable, here are some ways to make working from home easier for your body.
Your spine is a series of small bones that are designed to support each other, like blocks stacked in a line to be in their most sturdy position. From the base of your spine, your tailbone or coccyx to the last vertebrae at the base of your neck, this structure is set up to protect your spinal cord and allow for freedom of movement.
When the bones are lined up, a position called alignment, it is at its strongest position and also puts the rest of your joints in their strongest position too. When out of alignment, like when slouching or sitting up ‘straight’ in a military type posture, your muscles have to do more work to hold you up. They get tired and let you know through pain and fatigue.
When you set up your workstation to keep your spine in your aligned, strong and sturdy position, your muscles do not need to work to hold you up and thus feel better at the end of the day.
Take these steps to set up your workstation to encourage your spine to stay in alignment
- Feet flat on the floor: Sit in your chair so your feet are on the floor or a step stool. If you want your back supported, place a pillow or two behind you so you can be supported but keep your feet flat on the floor
- Hips straight up and down: sit so that your tailbone is not on the seat of the chair and your hips are not tilted forward either. You will know your hips are in alignment when your lower back feels most comfortable.
- Screen at eye level: If you are on a laptop, this means elevating your device to eye level using boxes or a step stool or connecting it to an external screen. You will know you are at eye level when you look at your screen and your head feels weightless on your shoulders and your neck is relaxed.
- Arms close to your body: . If your desk is so far away that your arms are reaching forward, your middle back will fall out of alignment. Arrange the distance and height of your workstation so your elbows are bent at your side about 90 degrees. If you are on a laptop and your screen is at eye level you will need an external keyboard and mouse.
As you can see, working on a laptop is a lot of work for your body. Use external devices to work on your laptop without putting your body in a position of strain. This link gives you more information about setting up an ergonomic work station.
Even if you are perfectly set up at your workstation, your body is still not set up to be still for long periods of time. Next week we will talk about the next step in keeping your body feeling good as you work from home.
Keep Moving Be Well