I’ve been working from home for 11 months and it’s time to take a toll on my body, especially now during my “ busy season” where I’m working 50+ hours, sitting on my behind staring at a computer screen for all of it.
When I was regularly working in the office I had an ergonomic workstation. My ergonomic desk was equipped with a button that allowed me to raise and lower the desk as I pleased. I recommend ergonomic desks. They're designed to shorten the amount of time spent sitting down throughout the workday so instead of sitting for several hours at a time you can raise the level of your desk so you can work while standing. I alternated between sitting and standing frequently when I worked in the office, it's unbelievably convenient.
There are ergonomic/ standing desks that you can buy online as an addition to your workstation. While I think they're great, I was not originally planning on purchasing one to work from home but over time my body is becoming more stiff and uncomfortable in the stagnant sitting position I'm in so I’m honestly considering making a purchase. If you work from home, sitting in front of a computer, you should consider one of these as well.
Within the last month or so I’ve noticed a few body aches that I need to address ASAP. I’ve noticed my neck, shoulders and upper back ache. I read that this can be the result of poor posture and looking at a low monitor which causes you to flex your neck and head forward and down. I'm sure I'm a victim of this.
To relieve shoulder and neck pain it’s recommended to position your computer at eye level so your neck and shoulders are in a neutral position. I thought with my work from home setup that my computer was eye level but given the recent aches, that may not be the case so I’m definitely going to reevaluate my workstation.
I’ve also noticed that my eyes feel more fatigued after a long days work. I’ve read a way to combat this is to use natural light and take breaks to give your eyes a break. I take breaks frequently. I don’t spend too much time working in natural light however. My workstation is in my bedroom and I have blackout curtains on the windows which work magnificent when trying to sleep. During the work I admit I do not pull back the curtains to let in natural light but I think it's time to change that.
The last thing I noticed as a result of sitting for long hours is tight hips. I’ve been looking for ways to resolve this and I recently came across a few videos on Instagram that I saved that go over hip opening exercises.
I’ve read that a way to combat tight hips is to recline your work seat if the seat is adjustable, but if not get up and stand frequently.
I’ve also been seeking out yoga poses to do for neck, shoulder and back pain as well as yoga poses to do for sitting all day. I’ve come across a few videos and have done some of the stretches. Honestly, I did feel better after doing the movements. It's just a matter of doing them daily and I’m sure after a while I'll begin to feel better.
Overall I’ve gathered that I need to take breaks frequently, which I try to do yet maybe I'm not taking breaks as frequently as I think. Let that be a tip to you work from homers as well. Take frequent breaks. Get up and move your body frequently to prevent stiffness and aches in the body. These aches are no fun, trust.
Another tip, start setting alarms as reminders to get up and move. I know it can be hard to remind yourself every hour on the hour, so make it easy for yourself. I've been thinking of incorporating small movements and stretches into my breaks instead of saving them for the end of the day, and recommend the same for you. This way I’ll be stretching multiple times throughout the day and not just at the beginning and end of the day.
Also, throw in some ankle and wrist exercises as well. These are not currently problem areas for me but it can't hurt to work those out a bit as well.
Lastly, prolonged sitting has been is linked to a variety of health issues including poor posture, back pain, neck pain, stiff and weak muscles, increased risk diabetes, and more so us work from homers really don't have a choice but to move our bodies.