It’s just around the corner. It will be two years on March 11th, that the World Health
Organization had declared Covid-19 a global pandemic. It has obviously changed every life in every continent around the world. As a global community, we will all collectively reference this period of our lives.
One of the many changes that many have experienced was the way we interface with the office workplace or school classroom. Although humans inherently are adept at adapting in the short term need for a ‘home’ office or ‘home’ classroom, our bodies are starting to feel the effects of being sedentary.
Humans have been engineered to be ‘hunters and gatherers’. Our pre-historic ancestors were always looking for food and evading predators. Any cave person who sat in one place for eight hours either got hungry or was eaten by a predator. Our modern “Zoom” lifestyle has created the 22nd century cottage industry. Many are still stuck at home; not even having the opportunity of the exercise walking from the parking lot to the office building. Instead, many are stuck with one video conference right after another until the inevitable tight neck, achy back, or even worse; waking up with a ‘crick in your neck’. Of course, these are just the physical effects of increased ‘screen time’, not to mention the physiological effects of the ‘digital screen’ eye ache or the increased anxiety of trying to set boundaries between work time and personal/family time.
Considering many workplaces are still in a work-at-home mode for the near future, or a hybrid work/home schedule, here are tips on keeping your wellness while you work from home.
FIVE TIPS ON HOME OFFICE WELLNESS
1. Move and Move Often: Sometimes your workday gets ahead of you. You owe it to yourself to exercise regularly. The Surgeon General of the United States has suggested to move continuously at least 30 minutes daily. Here’s a quick and easy way to get started: walk out your front door, pick a direction and you walk for 15 minutes, then turn around and walk back! That thirty minutes will increase your endorphins as maybe give you a mental reset.
2. Consider your ergonomics: As soon as you open a laptop and look down at the screen, you have already started giving your self “Tech Neck”. Laptops were engineered for portability and not working for several hours every day. Our bodies were engineered to be scanning the horizon. Reverse engineer your laptop by elevating it to eye level with a laptop stand and using an external keyboard and mouse to keep your elbows at 90 degrees.
Next time you come in for a visit, you are welcome to bring a picture of your workspace and we will give you suggestions on how to ergonomically improve it.
3. Re-set Your Posture every hour: Depending on your workflow, finding opportunities to change your position will prevent you from feeling ‘beat up’ at the end of the day. A popular posture exercise we have given to many of our patients is called the “Brugger Position”. It was formulated by an Austrian orthopedic occupational rehabilitation doctor that enables workers to re-set their posture while staying productive. We describe it as a mini-yoga stretch break that anyone can implement anytime during their workday at your desk. Ask your Back To Wellness Provider to demonstrate it to you on your next visit.
4. Hydrate!: Did you know your muscles are about 75% water, but are the lowest in priority in all of your bodily systems? When you find yourself de-hydrated, your body’s hydration goes to where it is most important: brain, kidneys, heart and circulatory system, lungs. The skin and muscles are last in the body’s priority system. What that means is when you do not drink your 64oz of water a day, you are more likely to start having muscle cramps.
5. Manage Your Stress: A common denominator in most of our patient intake forms is guess what? STRESS! Everyone has some sort of stress. What matters is how we manage it. Considering most workplaces still think remote work as ‘business as usual’ two years into the pandemic, many times there is no physical nor temporal boundary of work and home. Many patients have remarked, since this pandemic, they are more apt to be answering e-mails at 9pm or 10pm. Sound familiar? Besides trying to create a work/home boundary, we highly suggest to start a habit of meditation to give yourself a mental reset. We do not expect you to become a Zen Buddhist monk, but even a one minute meditation once in awhile can benefit you. Ask your Back To Wellness Provider how stress can affect your body and learn about different forms of meditation , from a simple smartphone app to even just taking a walk.
Like you, Back To Wellness is truly looking forward to a more healthful outlook in this global pandemic. Until then, we hope you can utilize these simple tips to ensure you and your loved ones continue to stay healthy. We welcome any questions or comments on home office wellness, comment below or you can email us here.