Four Tips to Maintain Health & Well Being When Working From Home

Some of us love it. Some of us hate it.

Whichever camp you fall into, it seems like we will be doing more of it!

Most of us have had no time to prepare for working from home.

Kitchen table as work station?

Bedroom as office space?

Dogs barking?

Kids squabbling?

This has been a challenging time to maintain our physical and mental health.

Here are four things to help you work more comfortably from home……..

And stay sane.

Tip One – Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Household chairs and tables do not make great computer stations.

Don’t underestimate the problems this can cause.

Is this you?

- Hunched over posture
- rounded shoulders
- neck protruding forwards

Poor posture cause untold problems over time the main culprits being;

- Kyphosis – rounded shoulders and a curving over the upper spine. This causes neck and upper back pain.
- Low Back Pain – The core muscles become weak and your spine is in an unnatural position.
 Maybe it’s the right time to invest in an ergonomic chair and a desk?

A desk and chair at the right height for you is essential at the very least.

Look used before new.

This site for example:  https://tcofficefurniture.co.uk/used

There are always websites and auctions selling off unwanted office furniture at knock-down prices.

Anything is better than that kitchen chair at the wrong height.

Jo Blood of The Posture People nails the worst-case scenario below;

“I knew the time had come to change my work environment when my laptop went missing amid a mass of Lego bricks and discarded toddler snacks. Situated in a cramped corner of my children’s playroom, my workspace was unaffectionately known as the ‘ploffice’.”

So how can we prevent back pain in the first place?
 

Tip Two- Prevent Low Back Pain

Back pain is the largest single cause of disability in the UK, with lower back pain alone accounting for 11% of the total disability of the UK population.
Source NHS England.
If you suffer low back pain, you know how miserable this can be.

For many of us it is a constant dull ache. For others, a sharp stabbing pain.

Walking, sitting,  bending even standing still can cause discomfort.

There is a great solution for this.

Dr Stuart McGill has treated patients with back problems for 30 years.

95% of whom have never needed an operation.

Enter the McGill BIG 3 Exercises.
Step 1
Watch the video below ( 1 min 42 secs). Here Michael Braccio does a great job of explaining the exercises.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8VFbkSjCsQ

Step 2
Take a break from your laptop every 40 -60 mins.  Do each exercise once

Repeat throughout the day.

Step 3 (optional)
For those of you who wish to dig a little deeper here is an excellent article by Dr. Aaron Horschig, PT, DPT, CSCS, USAW  who runs Squat University. https://squatuniversity.com/2018/06/21/the-mcgill-big-3-for-core-stability/

Step 4
Do these exercises for 5 or 10 minutes a day for a fortnight.

(bonus points if you can squeeze in a brisk 5 or 10-minute walk most days)

This works like magic for people like us who are hunched over a laptop for days on end!

PS This has been a life saver for me over the last year!

 

Tip Three – Home Lighting Is Not Office Lighting

Your office workstation was probably set up with your work tasks in mind.

Your home set up might not be!

Poor lighting whilst squinting at a laptop screen is a recipe for disaster.

This can result in:

- Making the visual system work harder and may lead to symptoms commonly described as eyestrain.
- Inflammation of the eyes and lids.
- Itching of the eyes and irritation
- Headaches, fatigue and giddiness
- The natural response to poor luminance is to get closer to the screen

The answer can sometimes be a simple desk lamp.

This should provide enough brightness to make your screen readable without difficulty.

The aim is to read the screen without having to move unnaturally.

Finally, when all else fails ……….

Tip Four – Nature Calls!

No not that!

This!
A short walk every day (rain, hail or sunshine) can be a great solution to;

- A problem you are struggling to solve ( work family or personal).
- A stressful phone call or zoom meeting.
- Aching back, legs, neck etc (see Tip one).

It will also give the opportunity to;

- Clear your mind- giving a new perspective on things
- Time to reflect on what is REALLY important to you
- Think about an exciting trip to plan – a restaurant to visit (at the time of writing they will be open soon!)