There is a good chance you have found yourself working from home these days amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With virtual meetings and home offices now the new normal for many, you may have noticed some light soreness at best, or experienced full-on injury at worst, thanks to this change in your work environment.
Whether the sudden lack of an ergonomic office chair has wreaked havoc on your posture, or eradication of in-person meetings has had you glued to your seat for hours on end, there are many home office hazards that you may have overlooked – and could lead to pain or injury.
In addition to dutiful hand washing and social distancing, incorporating healthy home-office habits can contribute to your overall health and wellbeing during this uncertain time. Let’s face it, the last thing you need is something like an easily-avoidable injury to knock you off your feet when you need to be working, e-schooling your kids or checking off your to-do list at home.
First Thing’s First: Posture
Whether you have a dedicated home office or are working at your kitchen table, your set up is likely not as high-quality as the one back at the office (think multiple monitors, quality chairs and ample desk space). That means it’s more important than ever to check yourself to make sure you’re not hunched over while staring at a computer screen.
For optimal working posture, make sure you have a supportive chair that allows your knees to be levelwith hips and your feet to rest flat on the floor. Keep your screen directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away if possible. For more specific details, Mayo Clinic has a handy guide.
Give Yourself A Break
Now thatyour in-person meetings have been replaced by virtual video calls, you may not have a reason to getout of your seat for hours at a time – something you would not normally do at the office. When working from home, set an alarm every 30 minutes or one hour to serve as a reminder to get up.
You can take a lap around your living room or make a cup of tea. You can sneak in aworkout that complies with social distancing, as it’s more important than ever to stay active and prioritize your health and wellness. Whatever it is, give yourself time to look away from the screen and get your body (and hips) moving. This allows you to readjust your posture when you get back to work, too.
Stretch It Out
Workday breaks don’t have to just be for tea or coffee. Take some time in between virtual meetings to get out of your chair and stretch – the below at-home stretches are a good place to start. You’ll return to work feeling less stressed (physically and mentally) and more energized to finish the day strong and injury-free.
- Hip Flexor Stretch: Step into the lunge position with your right leg. Move your pelvis and torso forward slowly until you feel a stretch in front part of the left hip. Hold this position for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat the movement with the opposite leg.
- Figure Four Stretch: Lie on your back with knees bent. Place the left ankle over the right knee to form a figure of four with your legs. Now hold the back of the right knee with both hands and pull it towards your chest. You should feel the stretch in your left glutes and hip.
- Butterfly Stretch: Sit on the ground and bend your legs to touch the soles of your feet together. Bring both heels as close to the pelvis as possible letting your knees fall to either side. Use your elbow to gently push both knees towards the ground to open your hips.
- Wide Squat: Stand with your feet greater than shoulder-width apart and squat down. Gently apply pressure with your elbows on the inside of each knee to slowly spread them apart and stretch your hips. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and then relax.
- Leg Swings: This is a good dynamic stretch to complete your hip stretching routine. Hold on to the back of a chair or table for balance when performing this stretch. While standing on one foot, swing the other foot from side to side in front of your body. Focus on swinging your leg like a pendulum with minimal twisting of your torso.
Are you experiencing discomfort or pain while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and looking for some relief? Contact us today to schedule avirtual telehealth appointment.