Working From Home: Set Up Your Office Space, Address Your Posture, Boost Your Overall Health.
First, let’s get you up and out from behind that desk. I won’t tell your boss! Trust me, if you’re not sitting properly, or not moving, then headaches, lower (lumbar) back pain, neck pain (to name just a few) will cloud your vision more than a cluttered inbox. Physical pain can lead to irritability, mood swings and agitation – not exactly a winning formula for productivity, maintaining healthy professional or personal relationships. Our bosses, co-workers, partners and spouses need to take care of themselves as much as we do. So forward these articles, stand up, and read on. Yep, you read that right. On your feet!
Ok. Victory! We are up! Step two? Put your computer on sleep mode, so no rings or dings can interrupt the next few minutes. I promise those notifications will still be there when we’re done. I’m like a clairvoyant when it comes to that stuff.
Next, get your blood moving with 10-20 jumping jacks. What do jumping jacks have to do with posture? Blood flow and circulation, my friend! Your body becomes stiff and stagnant from sitting, and without blood flow, muscles cannot maintain good posture. Get things moving with some good old fashion JJs. It’s hard to beat a classic.
- Interlace your hands behind your back with your right thumb on top. Try to get your palms together. Extend the arms back and away from you as you lift your chest and eyes up. Hold for 30 seconds. Shake your arms out. Repeat with the left thumb on top holding for another 30 seconds. Shake your arms out, and with it all the stress that’s built up so far today.
- Stand in front of a solid piece of furniture like a kitchen counter or banister with your legs slightly wider than hip width apart. Hold on to your “bar” as you bend your knees, lowering your bottom down toward your heels until you are in a deep squat. Keep your feet flat on the floor. (Note: if your feet can’t stay flat, slide a magazine/book under your heels so your heels will stay flat and supported.) Hang here, maybe even sway side to side a few times for about 20-30 seconds. Feel the lower back releasing. To come up, use the strength of your arms to pull and your legs to press yourself back up. (Insert Photo A)
- Staying in front of the banister, walk your feet back until your chest is in line with your arms and your body makes an L shape. (Insert Photo B) Tilt your tailbone up to increase the stretch in your hamstrings. Keep your abs tight to avoid a sway back, but press your chest down to intensify the stretch in your chest and shoulders. Hold for 20-30 seconds and then gently roll up.
- Stand straight and look straight ahead. Tilt your head to the right so that your right ear reaches toward your right shoulder. Place your right hand on the left side of your head. GENTLY press down to increase the stretch on your left neck and upper shoulder. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
- Take a seat, but do not turn the computer back on just yet. Cross your right leg over your left and sit tall. On an exhale, twist your torso to the right. Use your hands on the back of the chair to support and increase the stretch, but don’t force it. Hold and breathe for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Now that your circulation is moving and your chest, neck, lower back, hips and spine have been stretched out, you will return to work refreshed. But before you address those rings and dings (See? Told you they’d still be there!), set an alarm for 60 minutes and do this same routine again. Repeat the entire stretch series once every 60 to 90 minutes that you are working at your computer. Your boss (and co-workers!) will thank you for it.