Your Mindful Minute
Tiny tidbits of useful info, easy to incorporate into your wellness plan...Enjoy!
Workstation Ergonomics: You Deserve to Feel Great at Work!
How do your shoulders and neck feel by the end of a workday? If they’re tight and stiff, your workstation ergonomics may be to blame. Making a few changes, often low cost or no cost, can truly really improve your workday:
1. Adjust your chair height so that your feet are flat on the floor and your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Some tweaks: If your feet won’t reach the floor, use a footrest. If you get a lot of low back pain, try sitting on a wedge cushion to make your hips a tiny bit higher than your knees.
2. Adjust your armrests so that your arms rest gently and your shoulders are relaxed. Avoid leaning on your elbows. Optimally, your keyboard and mouse should be situated so that you can maintain this comfortable arm position. While typing, keep your upper arms close to your body, wrists straight, with your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows.
Some tweaks: Particularly if you’re vertically challenged (like I am!), consider a keyboard tray so that you won’t be reaching up to type. If a keyboard tray isn’t an option, raise your chair up and use a footrest (homemade if need be) for times when you’ll be doing a lot of typing. Use a padded wrist rest in front of both the keyboard and the mouse.
3. Place your monitor directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away.
Check in with yourself throughout the day to see if you’re craning your neck forward as you work.
Are you struggling to see? Are you lifting your head to see through your bifocals? If so, consider getting computer glasses, which make it easier to see at that mid-range distance where the monitor usually sits and to protect you from the harsh light. You’ll reduce eyestrain, and your neck with thank you!
4. Take frequent breaks for eyes and your whole body. Every 20 minutes or so, look away from your monitor. Focus on something far away in order to rest your eyes. Stand up, stretch, walk around a bit.
Don’t come home from work feeling like you’re shaped like a chair!
5. Create work zones within your workstation. No matter how small your workstation is, you can do this! What type of task occupies most of your workday? Create a zone for that task, with everything you need directly in front of you. The goal is to avoid constant twisting and reaching. Create zones in the more distant areas of your workspace for the tasks on which you spend less time each day. Organize those zones so that when you rotate your chair in that direction, everything you need will be right in front of you.
Here’s an example of work zones that I’ve created: In my previous career, I sat in a 6’x 6’ cube that only had two sides, so my coworkers and I were each wedged into corners, with zero privacy. My desk time was divided between computer work, phone calls, and reviewing large paper copies of construction plans. While on the phone or looking at those large plans, I needed easy access to the computer, so that meant the computer needed to be in the middle of my desk. The right side of my cube was the only spot where I could face totally away from the other wedged-in people, so that was the best spot to concentrate on the most complex material…the construction plans. The left side of my cube (I’m lefthanded!) was my phone zone. It contained, of course, the phone but also all of the things I’d most commonly need while talking to people – ready references, a wall calendar, pens, my notebook, etc. Having work zones also made it easier to switch tasks throughout the day without having to move materials around. Rather, I needed only to turn my chair. Ahh, everything in order…
A tweak – Hang a small mirror on a wall perpendicular to where you’re facing most often. Use it to check for spinach between your teeth after lunch, but also use it to catch glimpses of yourself throughout your workday. Do you look stressed? Are you slouching? Do you need to regroup or take a break? Or maybe you look content and zen…yay you!
One last note: I often hear from clients, “My employer won’t get any of these items for me!” OK….(insert sound of crickets here), then get/do/make them yourself! Yes, this is some tough love coming at you right now. Yes, you may have to spend a bit, especially for the computer glasses, but you spend most of your waking hours at work! What you do there influences your entire health and wellbeing! The workplace items that you get/do/make yourself can go with you to your next job. Consider them as part of your wellness budget.
While I truly love helping clients to heal, I love it most when we’re partners along the journey.
Wishing you wellness!
Ahhh-choo! It's Spring!
Easy things you can do at home to help relieve your itchy eyes and stuffy nose...
Each allergy season, I help clients clear their sinuses, breathe better, and see better. Using CranioSacral Therapy and lymph drainage therapy, we release tension and improve air/fluid flow.
But what can you do at home?
For itchy eyes, my favorite home remedy is using baby shampoo as an eyelid scrub.*
Years ago, my eye doctor gave me this simple tip to gently rinse the crusty goop off of my eyelids. I have ocular rosacea, plus I wear contact lenses, so allergy season used to be a nightmare. But washing my eyelids with just a drop of baby shampoo in the shower each morning has virtually eliminated the problem. For some more info on eyelid scrubs, here's an informative video.
And for a stuffy nose and sinus issues, there's nothing like a neti pot.*
My doctor recommended I try this simple technique, and much to my surprise, I could breathe through my nose for the first time in my life! My neti pot has helped me avoid what used to be almost continuous sinus infections. I use mine just about every day. Here's a link to my favorite brand of neti pot, where you can also find a video showing you exactly how to use it. It's worth getting over the "ewww" factor and giving it a try.
Wishing you wellness,
Care and Feeding
Happy Health Year!
We all start the New Year full of resolutions to presumably fix things we're doing wrong. What if we started the New Year resolving to capture the things we already do well, and expand upon them?
We have owner’s manuals for our appliances, our cars, our electronic gadgets. But how many of us have an owner’s manual for our body? There are many books and references out there telling us how we should keep ourselves healthy and happy, but you won't find one filled with tips that always (ok, maybe even just usually) work for you.
How about creating a book entitled, "Care and Feeding of (insert your name here)"?
I got the idea to create such a book years ago when I was sitting in the waiting room at a doctor's office. This doctor treated patients who had serious, chronic conditions. First, I noticed that many of the patients had huge loose leaf binders full of their personal info. Some of them even had rolling bags in which they carried all of their medications and supplements. Second, it registered on me that hey, wait a minute -- I'm sitting here waiting to see this doctor too! I wasn't very healthy either, and somehow it wasn't until that moment that I actually gave myself permission to acknowledge that...that I seriously needed some help too.
So I stole the loose leaf binder idea and decided to make it my own. My "Care and Feeding of Susan" book is full of some of the obvious things -- a medication and supplement list, doctors' recommendations, test results, etc. Some of the less obvious things are those I've accumulated along the way -- inspirational quotes, prayers, drawings, journal entries. There are also lists of things that I refer to when I'm too stressed to make the best choices -- foods never to eat/always to eat, "fail safe" advice, meditations, breathing exercises, anything that helps me feel whole again.
These days, the “binder” has expanded to include notes on my iPhone, iPad, a paper journal, computer files. You get the idea. I’m doing what works for me in the moment.
All that being said, what will go into your "Care and Feeding of (insert your name here)" book?
Here’s a start for you -- Click HERE to download your Energetic Emergency card!
Happy Health Year!
Wishing you wellness,
*Disclaimer: The material contained herein is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute, nor does it replace, a professional medical consultation. Consult your healthcare professional before starting any new health regimen.