If you’re one of the many people working remotely to maintain social distancing during the COVID 19 pandemic, there are many things you can do while working from home to avoid common aches and pains.
Often times, we get too caught up on things like “what’s the best chair” for preventing back pain. The real secret is that the perfect chair doesn’t exist! However, practicing the following can help reduce the common aches and pains associated with working from home.
Schedule variety into your workday
Schedule and plan activities that require you to vary your posture and movement during the work day.
If you work from a desk and need to sit for a greater portion of your day, determine which work tasks can be performed in a different position. For example, stand up during phone calls, attend your weekly zoom meeting while standing, and stand up and perform 5 squats when you need to retrieve something from the printer. Small bouts of movement and frequent changes in posture will go a long way in preventing those nagging aches.
Change sitting surfaces during the day
Changing the surface you're sitting on increases the variety of your positions, and the postures you use during the day. Some people enjoy using an exercise ball for 30 minutes, and then changing back to a supportive office chair for another 30 minutes. The key is to not spend too long in any single one position, and to change positions as often as possible.
Take frequent breaks throughout the day
Get up frequently to grab a snack, a glass of water, use the washroom, or just take a trip down the hall and back. A good rule of thumb is to stand up every 20 minutes if you’re sitting most of the day. Schedule a washroom and lunch break and use that time to go for a short walk outside, do a lying or standing meditation, or play with your children if they are home with you. Scheduling breaks is important not only to prevent aches and pains, but to prevent the mental burn out that can occur from decreased boundaries between work and home.
Developing a new work routine at home can feel overwhelming, but don't stress!
Adding these small changes in to your workday can help keep you feeling physically and mentally well, while you adjust and readjust to an ever changing work environment. If you develop nagging neck or back pain that persists, speak with your physical therapist (give us a call!).