If you are like many other people, due to COVID-19 you are now working from home, for the first time or just more often than usual. While there are advantages to a home office, such as not having to travel, there can also be a significant disadvantage: physical pain .
Our makeshift workspaces may, in fact, not be suitable for the job. From using the dining room or coffee table as a desk, to sitting in chairs that lack lumbar support, to working while reclining on the sofa, we may be putting inadequate tension on our bodies.
We should focus on routines that prevent our muscles from tightening and causing pain. This is increasingly important as we are dealing with the emotional and physical cost of the COVID-19 pandemic. “In a time when we are out of our routine and feel more stressed than normal, it is better to find ways to alleviate that stress on our minds and bodies,” he says.
Some of the following tips address the most common complaints that is seen in patients. It is recommended to start with something small: Try to adopt some simple changes instead of creating an unrealistic plan that you may not be able to sustain.
Workspace and positioning
Posture and work-related problems are common: We often sit in unhealthy positions. Most commonly, we sit in a rounded forward position that causes tension and pain in the neck and back. This was true even before the pandemic started, but it can be even more pronounced while working remotely.
Doctor advises paying attention to the ergonomic workspace with a few simple adjustments:
– Add some books under the laptop or computer monitor so that the screen is higher, ideally at eye level, and does not strain the head and neck.
– Sit in a chair with armrests so that when you are not writing, your arms have something to lean on.
– Use a table and chair instead of sitting on the couch so you can focus on the correct posture and avoid back and neck pain.
– Use a typing system software where you can write an email on the phone using your voice, and then transfer it. This can help prevent problems with repetitive typing or mouse use, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Eye strain can also be a problem. “We are looking at our screens more than ever right now, and our eyes are not made to look at a screen all day.” “A simple rule of thumb is to take your eyes off your computer and direct it to something in the distance every 20 minutes, to give your eyes a break. Put something close to the computer to remind you to do this. Otherwise, your vision may worsen over time due to stress. “
Also, make sure you have good ambient lighting. Try to eliminate glare in places where the light shines on the computer, and avoid sitting in dark rooms.
“It is better to schedule at least once or twice a day to focus on making movements.” “Just as it is important to schedule time to eat, it is important to schedule time to move and stretch.”
Creating a movement schedule throughout the day can be as simple as setting calendar reminders on the phone or on the fitness watch.
These simple exercises are beneficial during the day. It takes less than three minutes to complete, but they can make a big difference in keeping pain away:
Upper body stretches
“As we spend the day looking down and forward, it’s really important that we make sure those muscles stay stretched because they tend to tense.” “When these muscles tense, they tend to cause pain and headaches, and we’re getting enough of that already by looking at screens all day.”
– While standing at a door, extend your arms towards the door frame and lean towards it for 45-60 seconds. You should feel a stretch in your chest muscles, which tend to tighten when you lean forward during the day with your shoulders hunched.
– In a sitting or standing position with your shoulders relaxed, bring your right ear to your right shoulder, which will extend your neck to the left side. Hold this position and repeat on the other side. Try to hold each side for 30-45 seconds.
Lower Body Stretches
– Sitting cross legged, put your ankle on the opposite knee. Lean forward and put your chin on your shin. You should feel a gentle pulling sensation on the outside of the thigh and the gluteal muscles.
– Lean your body forward while standing with one leg extended in front of you.
Another recommendation: Stand and walk as much as possible during the work day.
“If you’re not tied to your workspace, try to get up and move around during meetings or phone conversations.” “If you can’t do it, take breaks and spend at least five minutes every two hours just walking. That will help keep your muscles loose and give your body a break from both sitting.”
Progressive muscle relaxation
Another tool that is recommended is called progressive muscle relaxation.
This technique involves contracting (squeezing) and then relaxing one group of muscles at a time. While you are lying in a quiet place, start with your feet / lower legs and work your way up the body, contracting each muscle group for 5-10 seconds and relaxing for 10-20 seconds before moving on to the next group.
There are several YouTube videos that demonstrate how it’s done.
“It’s good to schedule this a few times a week while we can’t go to the gym or do the exercise we would normally do.” “Engaging in progressive relaxation helps restore stress and relax muscles, reducing pain and anxiety and improving sleep.”
Work better, not harder
It is reminded to you that there is a tendency to overwork when working at home. He advises us to follow a routine to avoid putting more stress on our minds and bodies.
“There are many small distractions during the day in a workplace that we don’t have at home. For example, at work we usually take a break to eat a snack or lunch; at home we don’t follow those routines,” he says. “Having a schedule will help you create that all-important balance between work and private life. You can tell yourself, ‘I’m breaking up’ from your scheduled departure time, and you won’t feel fried at the end of the day because you’re working all day without pauses. “
We also create that sense of separation as we travel home at the end of our work day, whether it’s because we drive, take public transportation, walk, or bike.
When working from home, use the time you’d normally spend traveling to mentally distance yourself from work: listen to your favorite radio station, playlist, or audiobook, or dive into a compelling podcast. A little fun will go a long way in relieving work-related tension and stress.