Are you ready to redesign your workspace, or just looking for a few ideas to adjust your current computer environment? Check out this list of suggestions that will help support your back, neck and shoulders and reduce muscle strain during the workday.
1. Raise the top of your computer monitor to eye level or even slightly higher.
2. Be sure both your monitor and keyboard are centered in front of you.
3. Reduce any glare on the computer screen.
4. Tilt your keyboard slightly toward your body, this will support your wrists and hands.
5. Keep your wrists flat and straight, and your arms and elbows tucked in close to the body with support if possible.
6. Move around and change your posture often.
7. Work with upright posture from head to base of spine.
8. Take frequent, short breaks.
9. Rest your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest, avoid crossing your legs.
Let us know your own tips for avoiding workplace fatigue! Do you do stretches during your lunch break, or use a monitor stand to place your computer at the proper height?
Breathing is automatic – one thing our body does completely on auto-pilot and with complete success. Right?? Well, yes and no. We don’t have to think about breathing, that is true, but if we do pay attention to how we breathe, we can reap the benefits for our spine.
When we experience pain, we tend to breathe shallow, pull our shoulders forward, and collapse our chest. What we should be doing is the exact opposite. We want to breathe deeply and direct that oxygen to where it hurts.
I’m explaining this because I just met Jannean, a customer who was in obvious pain. As we were moving around the store she kept stopping and holding onto something so I asked her if she was out of breath. She said, no, it just hurt so much she had to stop and then she told me her chiropractor had just told her to open her chest more and breathe deeper. I had an intuition and asked her, “How is that going?” The look I received gave me the answer I expected: it was not going well. I guided her to the sofa in our lobby and sat down next to her so we could chat. It turns out she expected the pain to get worse if she took a deep breath – but when she followed my lead and sat up really tall, her deep breath did not increase her pain. With shoulders down and back and her spine lengthened up through the top of her head, deep breathing actually lessened her pain just a bit. Jannean simply needed to know how to breathe.
Lesson #2: Don’t trust your breathing instincts when you are in pain. This is the time you really want to focus on your posture and your breathing at the same time and breathe deeply.
It never fails. The minute I walk into Peg Heinzelman’s store, Misty Willow Tea & Spa Essentials in Paw Paw, Mich., I go into relaxation mode. The tantalizing smells of exotic teas, imported soaps and precious essential oils … comfy chairs, beautiful gifts, shiny teapots and cups, Ikea-meets-Victoria décor and the inviting tea room in back … I just melt. And Peg isn’t just the proprietor of this gorgeous retail haven – she’s also a tea and aromatherapy expert who can set you up with just the right herbal blend for whatever ails you. And now, even if you don’t live anywhere near Paw Paw (yeah, that’s the town’s real name), Peg’s magic is available to you, too. The Back Place has started carrying Peg’s custom products and teas on our website. Some of my favorites include the Goat’s Milk Foot Soak (which my foot-massage clients love), Headache Relief Rollerball in its cool little roll-on applicator, and her soothing Muscle and Back Relief Formula. She knows essential-oil science, loves to research and experiment with new formulas and crafts custom products using all-natural ingredients: organic Nilotica shea butter, Ayurvedic herbs (including neem, tulsi and rose petal powder) and base oils derived from avocado, mango, sweet almond, grapeseed, emu and jojoba. Luscious, gentle yet powerful — her products are a joy to use. More on her teas later … In the meantime, if you’re ever in Southwest Michigan, head on over to Misty Willow Tea & Spa Essentials to experience Peg’s magic. Tell her Cathie sent you.