I recently had the opportunity to attend a Women’s Wellness event at our local JCC. The series was a three parts, physical you, professional you, resilient you. Last Sunday was physical you. They had a number of speakers and a health fair with booths related to your physical well being. The speakers did a short talk about many different things. One speaker who is also a trainer at the J spoke about posture. I know my posture is horrible and has been most of my life.
I don’t have many regrets in my life but one is definitely that I never listened to my mother when she told me to stand up straight. At this point in my life, the standing isn’t my issue. My issue is that I’ve been sitting in front of a computer or at a desk of some sort for the last 20+ years. Most of that in my professional life. My neck and shoulders are wrecked. I have been in pain for years. I’ve seen chiropractors, physical therapists and doctors. I’ve done the work to get through enough so the pain subsides but haven’t made any major changes to my environment to promote healing.
The trainer with whom I spoke, lined me up in front of a huge grid – think graph paper 7 feet tall. I know my body is misaligned so what she told me came as no surprise. She did, however talk to me about correcting my posture before it’s too late. What I noticed is that on the weekends, I’m away from my desk, doing things around the house, errands and hanging out with Sydney. I’m not slouched over a desk. First thing Monday, I sit in front of that computer at that desk and I slouch. This week, after speaking with that trainer, I slouched at the desk, more aware but still not doing anything about it. I went home Monday night with a horrible head and neck ache. I was pumped full of Advil, lubed up with TigerBalm and sleeping by 8:30. I woke up Tuesday morning feeling mostly reset and made the decision to change my office.
Turns out, Banker’s boxes plus one ream of paper are just the right height for me.
I started my standing adventure on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. By 11:30 that morning, my feet hurt but my neck felt great. I had a meeting scheduled at 1:30 that day. Never before did I look forward to sitting down. I can’t believe how clear my head felt – there was no pain getting in the way of my thinking. My feet were sore and my lower body felt tired but I felt great.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014. I started my day with a 2 hour breakfast. My seat of course had my back to the speaker so in order to see, I had to move my chair and crank my neck to get a clear view. After breakfast I was feeling wrecked again, but after standing much of the rest of the day, my neck felt less cramped and my lower body felt tired. My brain was still feeling clear.
Thursday, May 22, 2014. Day 3 of standing. I sat in a long meeting this morning and then a long lunch. My shoulders were tight and felt stiff. After a few hours of standing during the afternoon my neck feels much better but my feet are getting sore. I’ve also noticed that my productivity is better. My boss will be pleased to hear it.
The reaction of my coworkers and my standing desk have been pretty funny. Several wanted to know why I was packing up. Others don’t believe that my standing work station will continue. It’s clear that they don’t know me. If someone tells me I can’t, I surely will prove them wrong. I can’t believe how great I feel. I’m hoping to come up with a better desk situation – the boxes look super crappy but funds are limited. Let me know if you have ideas!
I’m sad to say the rest of the sessions at the Women’s Wellness event were cancelled. While I’m disappointed that the remaining sessions won’t happen, I feel I fully got my money’s worth at the first session.