The Aches and Pains of Your New Home Office
Our workdays look different now whether that means wearing a mask, socially distancing from our co-workers, or all together working from home. With these new safety protocols in place, it has never been more important to take a minute to stretch, to move and to listen to your body. For those still at home and feeling the aches and pains of contorting themselves into a pretzel on the couch, this is for you.
First, let’s talk ergonomics. We want to ensure that your at–home work station is optimized for comfort and productivity. The chairs at your office are ideal as they can go up and down, seat you in a position with both feet resting, and ensure your arms and shoulders are relaxed. If you are able to take home your beloved office chair, then do so, otherwise we suggest finding a work surface and seating that puts you in an optimal position.
The top of your computer screen should be at eye level so that you do not need to tilt your head. Our RMT Kielly recommends using cookbooks to stack under your computer to achieve this. Your keyboard should be close enough to ensure a 90 degree angle arm position. When using the computer mouse your arm movements should not be a ‘full movement,’ meaning that it should not come from your shoulder, but from your elbow. Keeping this in mind will help you to avoid developing shoulder pain from everyday tasks.
Next, we must move and stretch. Staying in any one position for too long while doing repetitive motions, typical of office work, can lead to aches and issues like ‘tech neck.’ Stretching throughout your day will help prevent fatigue, reduce stress on your body and should improve blood flow to your muscles. Kielly recommends setting at least two stretch breaks on your phone or calendar to make this a healthy habit.
At Spirit, we suggest stretching routines to our massage guests which typically focus on three areas: the neck, the shoulders, and the lower back. We’ve included a few simple ones that you can do at home. Stretching should feel like a nice, gentle pull. Make sure to breathe and to listen to your body. Drink water and stay hydrated. A little bit of stretching should be a nice break in your day and a little can go a long way. Always consult your physician before starting any new home care program.