Before I start, I want to acknowledge the hard work, risk, and devotion being offered by our emergency responders, medical staff, essential workers, care givers of all kinds whether paid or not. And I want to send love and thanks to them.
I am so grateful that I am able to stay safely at home, waiting this out, doing my little bit to flatten the curve, and sending what money I am able to out into the community to help.
There is a lot of information online about how to be productive when working from home, but little about the toll it can take on your body and how to survive that.
You might read about setting specific hours for yourself, not working in your PJs, turning the phone off, taking breaks, staying connected with colleagues and coworkers.
How to stay free of aches and pains when you work on a laptop?
We want your wrists to survive you’re typing for 6 hours on the couch? Or your back as you sit in a chair not designed for permanent residence?
Many folks nowadays are figuring out how to survive working from home without developing carpal tunnel syndrome, neck problems, and TMJ disorder.
Starting the Work Day at Home
Walk to Work
Before diving in to your work day, set up your work station, then take a walk around the block (while this still feels responsible), then go back home and go straight to your work station.
This is a tip I learned from the Being Boss podcast a looooong time ago and I love it!
Best Practices for Work From Home Set Up
Believe it or not, the option to greatly vary your working position is a gift. This is a general rule, but especially true of laptop work at home. And variety is much more important than perfect posture. So try rotating where you’re working from every 30 – 45 mins: start at a table desk, move to the floor (possibly with laptop propped on a pillow or stool), then the couch, or an easy chair, move to a different position on the floor, work in your bed, then to stand at the kitchen counter, and so on.
Discomfort (no, really)
It’s good if you’re a little uncomfortable in your work set up. It means you’ll move much more than in a position of comfort. And of course, you want to balance that with the ability to get work done and be productive 🌝
Keep you Wrists Healthy when Working from Home
When you’re at the laptop but only using one hand, get in the habit of turning the other palm to face up and rest in that position
Switch it Up
Use your non-dominant hand as much as possible, and once you’ve gotten accustomed to it, switch between sides for mousing and clicking.
If you’re working at a laptop, roll up a small towel (or piece of clothing in a pinch) and place it under your forearms. this will elevat your wrists, allowing space between them and the keyboard, letting them stay aligned and less likely to strain.
If you’re using a regular keyboard, put the rolled hand towel under the wrists themselves helps to keep them in a neutral relax position as you type.
Add some stretches and movement regularly
Any time you’re not typing or actively scrolling, fully extend your hands by opening them up wide as you can. With fingers pointed out, make circles clockwise and anti-clockwise with your wrists. Then make a loose fist and do the same.
Shake it out
When you take breaks, shake your hands and wrists out. Start gently, and then add in some vigor! You’ll look like a crazy person, but it’s helping to stimulate your nerves and blood vessels and re-energize the whole area after lots of relatively static mousing and typing.
Watch your Face
Let’s start with your tongue, be mindful of your tongue’s position as you work. It might be tight and pushed up against your upper teeth. The ideal position is relaxed on the floor of your mouth.
Your eyes: when you get up and move around, take a few seconds and move your eyes up and down, side to side, and look out a window to something in the far distance. Much of our neck tension can come simply from the fact that our eyes are static for hours when we work on screens.
Then just do a general check in with your face now and again. Are the muscles of your face relaxed? Are you frowning? Try blowing out your lips like a horse then give yourself a micro face massage. Rub you hands togehter and hold your palms over your eyes for 10 seconds while you take two deep breaths.
Book Yourself A Massage
At least once a month. You know it helps! And you can hep yourself get that help by booking a few in advance, which takes away the “oh, I should email Eowyn to find a time for a massage” thing that you say to yourself fo ra couple weeks before actually sending me an email or going online to book for yourself.