As I sit here and write to you, I am looking out over my little back garden, watching my two pups play. Every now and again, they cease their game and collide through the doggie door and into the little office where I am seated. They are somewhat confused that I am here, mid-day on a Tuesday. ‘Normally you aren’t here’ their bewildered yet love-filled eyes say. They do not understand the current situation that is happening across our globe, yet I am sure of the fact that they can feel the tangible uncertainty and array of mixed emotions that encase the world at the moment.
During this time, while I may not be able to support you all in a physical capacity with hands-on treatment and face-to-face connection (something I feel we all undeniably need in a time like this), I can put my knowledge down on paper.
I know many of you are working from home for the foreseeable future so I thought I would share my top tips for making sure you are as comfortable as possible in your work station.
A GOOD CHAIR IS A STARTING POINT TO A COMFORTABLE SET UP:
A quality chair is a ‘must-have’ for prolonged comfort and overall ergonomics. So, that means you might have to fight the temptation to work or study from the couch. Ideally, you want a chair that you can adjust to suit your individual needs and your work station. Something with lots of knobs and features will do the trick. If it’s got a bit of cushioning and lower back support, that’s a real bonus.
- If your chair has an adjustable base, adjust it so that with your feet on the floor, your knees are ‘lower’ than your hips- this is your starting point. If it doesn’t, try placing a small cushion under your bum, close to the back rest.This decreases the bend at the hips (and hopefully decreases the chances of any associated tightness through the muscles) but also ensures you sit onto your sitting bones. In sitting on your sitting bones (in anatomical terms- ischial tuberocities) it enables you to sit into more ‘natural’ curvature throughout your spine and promotes a more comfortable posture- decreasing the ‘slump factor’.
- Adjust the back rest so it is more or less vertical, further promoting a comfortable posture.
- Finally, adjust the height of your chair so that when your forearms are resting on the table, the bend through the elbows is about 90 degrees with shoulders relaxed.
COMPUTER HEIGHT AND POSITION:
For all of you who suffer from a stiff neck or upper back, this is for you.
Your computer shoulder be STRAIGHT in front of you, not off to either side!! As equally important, when you are looking at your computer, your eyes should fall naturally into the middle of the screen (this also comes down to chair height). If you are working on a laptop, place something under the laptop to elevate it.
PROXIMITY TO THE DESK.
- If you feel like your head is in your computer monitor or laptop, you are too close.
- If your arms are completely outstretched, you are too far away.
- Somewhere in between, with elbows bent to roughly 90 degrees is perfect.
KEY BOARD AND MOUSE POSITION.
Position your key board and mouse close to the edge of the desc (while still allowing a little bit of space for support for your fore arms).
You want to position your your key board as close as comfortably possible to yourself so that the muscles through your shoulders and neck can remain relaxed. This is the same if you are using a mouse. Ideally, when you are typing or using the mouse, your elbows should remain as close to your sides as possible.
I cannot stress this enough. Set a reminder on your phone or place a post-it note in your line of view reminding you to ‘correct your posture’ and get up and move!! The more often you remind your self, and correct it, the more your body will remember and the less likely you will be to experience discomfort.
Don’t forget to breath!
You will thank me later!
MAKE TIME FOR THINGS YOU ENJOY (MOST IMPORTANT)
If you are working from home, chances are you have a bit more flexibility in your day so make the most of this opportunity. Plan little ‘treats’ into your schedule; things that promote your wellbeing and health, things that you enjoy. Take some time for a walk or to sit out in the sun for 15 minutes. little breaks can boost productivity and gets your body moving.
We are living in a very unprecedented time at the moment with so much uncertainty and an array of so mixed and bewildering emotions, so self care is paramount. I urge you, look after yourself, spread only kindness (to yourself and others), exercise regularly, eat healthy and drink plenty.
I look forward to seeing you all again soon at Quay Osteo.