Take time to get up & move throughout your day. Can you see the two people walking in the park? Photo courtesy of Charly Caldwell II
There is no denying it, since the onset of the pandemic, a lot of things have changed.
For the most part, we're all navigating uncharted waters.
Whether you are home-schooling children, working from home or caring for an elderly family member, we all need to be aware of our actions and how these affect our health and well-being.
Our dependence on technology has been higher than ever.
People reach for portable electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops to remain socially connected and employable.
This increased reliance on technology combined with more extended periods of use can lead to an increased prevalence of postural low back and neck pain.
Such injuries typically occur because, unlike with desktop computers, we usually do not use portable devices within an ergonomic workstation setup.
The size of the screen, distance to the keyboard or microphone and height of the monitor often leads people to hunch over.
On top of that, we often forget to stop and move around or change position.
Working at home means we may have fewer distractions and breaks.
Positions held for too long can result in pain and discomfort, most commonly experienced in the neck or back.
You can easily avoid strain and discomfort by regularly taking scheduled breaks, changing position frequently, establishing good routines and stretching often.
Keep in mind the other factors that can contribute to the experience of pain and discomfort.
We know that there is a strong link between both physical and psychosocial work and individual factors that impact our experience of pain and discomfort.
Now, more than ever, it is particularly important to recognize these other factors.
FIRST - Put structure back into your day.
Create a schedule that includes regular mealtimes and breaks, as if you were going through your regular workday. Consistency is key to not going stir-crazy.
SECOND - Take active breaks.
Each break, go for a walk up and down the house several times, have a dance battle with the kids, walk to the mailbox or perform ten squats while waiting for the tea kettle to boil.
The key to avoiding posture driven discomfort is to get moving!
Get active to mix up the monotony of sitting.
THIRD - Modify your workstation.
Where possible, use a docking station or desktop computer.
If you need to use your phone or mobile device, try raising it to eye-level. Holding your phone higher can help to reduce the potential stress and strain on your neck.
When at home, raise laptops on pillows to reduce hunching.
FOURTH - Keep social connections alive.
Keep in touch with your friends and loved ones, using tools like Facetime, Zoom, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.
FIFTH - Practice mindfulness.
Utilizing mindfulness and relaxation practices can help you to get a good night's sleep!
The bottom line, you may experience aches and pains from adjusting to working from home, but there are solutions available to help.
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