Coming back to your regular work life after a more relaxing summer season can often feel a bit jarring. Before you dive back into your normal routine, try taking a quick inventory of your day and see if there are any areas where you can easily decrease strain on your body.
Things to Consider
• If you have a long commute, is your car seat properly set up to best support your body? While reclining back a bit can feel great as a passenger, this position can often put a strain on a driver’s neck and shoulders, as the torso is reclining back, while the arms have to reach forward to the steering wheel.
• Your office chair isn’t the only thing you should consider when addressing stress at your desk. Where do you have your mouse positioned- do you have to reach out to it? Is your computer screen set level with your gaze? Try putting a book or two underneath it and see if raising the screen decreases strain on your neck and shoulders. In general- try to mold your workspace to you instead of molding yourself to it.
• Do you carry a lot of things while walking across campus? If so, it can be helpful to carry a cross-body bag rather than balancing the weight of your computer bag or purse on one shoulder (this can be useful even if your bag isn’t heavy). Backpacks are great, too, but is the weight settled in yours so that your shoulders can stay relaxed (make use of the chest or waist straps if you have them!)? And, if you roll a case around with you, try and use one that you can keep by your side rather than pull behind you. Or, if you do have to pull it, try and transfer sides every once in a while.
• Also, sometimes releasing lingering tension can be as easy as just reminding ourselves that our body doesn’t have to stay completely still. Take a deep breath, relax, and wiggle your body a little bit. Inhale again. Exhale. Were you holding tension that you weren’t even aware of?
It can often seem overwhelming to make wholesale changes to our movement and postural patterns, especially when we layer those changes on top of everything else we’re trying to get done. Thus, I encourage you to explore these smaller modifications which can feel more doable, and that can still make a demonstrable difference in how your body feels over the long-term.
Are you interested in learning more about your specific movement and postural patterns? We are offering FREE, 10-minute Postural Evaluations beginning August 15th. Evaluations will be held the third Tuesday of every month between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm in our second floor assessment room on a first-come, first-served basis. This is FREE for all AHWC members! Amanda will perform a quick basic assessment and then discuss options on how you might begin to make changes that can help you feel better in your body, while also optimizing the performance of your daily activities. No need to sign up in advance! Assessments are done on a first-come, first-served basis.
Amanda Skidmore is a staff member of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, where she helps people release long-held tension and pain patterns, while also teaching them how to use their bodies with greater ease and efficiency.