If your desk area consists of a sofa cushion, and low coffee table, then we’re taking a stab in the dark and guessing you’ve converted your living room into an office. And while that’s all fun and games, working from home can actually be quite stressful on your muscles and joints – despite the extended periods sitting down! In this post, we discuss the ways in which you can stay healthy and active while working from home. So, let’s adjust the couch seat, make a fresh brew, and finally get comfy!It’s been a few weeks and you’re still getting around to optimizing your desk space. The kids have taken over the living room and your partner has decided the spare room is now an ‘activity’ space. Your laptop has had more coffee spilled on it than the kitchen counter, and your jammies are your new ‘office casual’. How in the world can you work from home while maintaining your health and sanity in those conditions? Well, we’re here to help. Take a look at our top tips for working from home:
1. Make Your Desk Your Own
Let’s be honest… the couch just isn’t cutting it anymore. Sharing it with the kids, the spouse, and the dog Charlie, makes for a less than optimum working environment. It’s time to move. Claim the dining room table and make it your own. The key to accomplishing quality work from home is to have a space designated entirely to completing your tasks. You may lose a dining room table, but dinner can still be shared out on the patio or in the kitchen. Small changes like this can actually have a large effect on the quality of the work you produce and… yes, you guessed it, your physical health, too.
2. Desk Ergonomics
Which brings us to the next point: how comfortable and physically supportive your desk space is. After having set up your dining room desk, it’s time to take a good look at your seat and table. First of all, ask yourself whether your seat is supportive enough for your spine. If not, invest in a good cushion or desk chair. After that, check the height of the table. Ideally, the height of the table should allow for your computer screen to reach eye-level, consequently ensuring that you have no need to stare down constantly – doing so would cause neck pain. It may help to use a bigger screen in order to achieve optimum height. Once finished, you should be able to sit comfortably. Ideally, you’ll be able to see the screen without straining, thus avoiding negatively affecting your posture. But hey… don’t get too comfortable for too long, because now it’s time to move!
3. Move, Move, Move
Now, we know you’ve just made your desk chair perfectly comfortable – plush leather, flashing lights, and a built-in sound system – but the truth is, you can’t stay sitting in it for hours at a time! Getting up regularly to drink water, stretch, and have a little stroll around the house is actually very beneficial for muscle and bone health. Why not set a reminder on your phone to get up every 20 minutes or so – that way, you are maintaining mobility and staving off any stiffness or pain down the line. Don’t allow your body to get used to a sedentary pose – activate the muscles in order to remain spritely, energetic, and most importantly of all: pain free.
Time to get to what you really want to talk about… snacks. No, we don’t mean Hershey’s and M&M’s. While having a chocolate bar every now and again isn’t a problem, having too many of them during the day will actually cause you to doze off at your desk! Avoid the sugar highs (and lows) and reach for some fruits or nuts instead. Regular, healthy snacking will mean your body stays fueled and you stay out of the fridge!
Namaste! Sometimes it’s just great to get stretching. Incorporating yoga into your daily routine is a wonderful way of getting your muscles moving and flexing, thereby ensuring that you stay mobile and active during the day. Yoga is also fantastic at energizing the mind and body and, if done regularly, will go a long way to staving off injury as you get older. I’m sure you’ve heard that the first step to becoming truly flexible is just getting on that mat… so, what are you waiting for?
6. Home Workouts
If you love the gym, but just can’t make it out there while working from home, why not try some home workouts? There are some great live sessions on YouTube and you can even join local groups if that’s what you prefer. Being active and mobile really is the best way of staying at the top of your health and fitness game, and, if you’re not willing to compromise on your exercise regime, doing some cardio via a home workout is a great option.
All of the above are fantastic ways of keeping both healthy and sane while you’re working from home. Some days are easier than others, though, and not knowing all of the answers is normal. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t know what your correct desk-posture ought to be, or just feel unable to get into the swing of things while working from home, we invite you to contact one of our Expert Physical Therapists today.
We’re now offering Video PT / Telehealth sessions where we can do a video session with you and evaluate your home office, hear about what aches & pains you’ve been experiencing lately, and give you recommendations for how to improve your office setup (many of these recommendations are super easy, quick and won’t cost you anything!)
We can also talk about how to get rid of those aches & pains for good. Physical Therapy will help you become active and mobile while you work from home, thereby ensuring that you’re able to keep up with your active lifestyle and pain free life. So if you feel the time on the sofa has left you feeling achy, give us a call (262.264.8701) – we’ll help you get back to health in no time.
So, there you have it. Six great tips for working from home. Don’t let home-based work leave you feeling like you’ve just returned from a Saturday of moving 10 tons of river rock – let us help you get mobile, active, fit, healthy, and pain free during this time.
To your health & happiness,
Doctors Jereme & Sarah Trunk & the Balance Within PT Team