Working from home and adapting to the situation

Since we came back to work, after being closed for six weeks, we noticed that our patients were experiencing a lot of upper back and neck muscle tensions, much more than usual. That is not surprising considering all the stress and adaptation they had to go through, especially those who were working from home.

Staying at home all day and being isolated can be complicated. Because of the current situation, a lot of people had to suddenly adapt to work from home. With these changes being so sudden, many have not paid attention to the space they were now working in. However, it is essential to set good habits for your physical as much as your emotional health. That is why we will give you advice to set yourself up for good health.

The first good habit is to get ready for work as you usually do when you need to leave home. That means, shower, get dressed, have breakfast and go through your usual routine. That prepares your brain for the working day.

Secondly, it is important to set up your working space in a specific area or room. That way you can still dissociate work from leisure and relaxation moments.

Try to find a place where distractions will be avoided, for example where there is no television, so you can stay focused during working hours.

Working in a room where you have natural light is ideal and if you can be away from noise, even better.

Get proper equipment
Having an ergonomic working space is essential for your physical wellbeing. We recommend the following:
▪ While sitting at your computer, try not to inflict your body with unnecessary tensions.

▪ Your knees, ankles and hips should be at 90 degrees. Avoid flexing your joints, like your wrists, for long periods of time.

▪ Set up your computer screen so that you are about 70cm away from it and make sure that your eyes are aligned with the upper third of the screen.

▪ The way you sit is also not to be neglected. We already know not to cross the legs or not to sit on one’s foot.

▪ To avoid sloughing, we recommend using a supporting cushion or a rolled-up towel that you put in the lumbar area.

▪ If the sitting position is not comfortable for you, you may choose to work standing. That allows you to move more during working hours.

▪ Staying still for 7 to 8 hours a day is detrimental to your health. That is why keeping active is an important factor to include in your daily routine.

▪ Take short breaks often, so you can move, walk around and stretch. That will allow your muscles to relax. Ideally take a small break every hour.

▪ If convenient, go out for a few minutes to breathe fresh air and go back to work.

▪ Exercise during the day. Get into a yoga class or fitness video and, if you can, go for a walk.

It is recommended to define a specific working schedule that you can stick to. That way it will be easier to allow yourself to relax and get a clear division between work and home.

Just as you separate your physical workspace, you should be clear about when you are working and when you are not.

The biggest difference between working from home and working in the office is that you are in charge of your environment and have to treat yourself like an employee. This means holding yourself accountable, but also recognising when enough is enough.

If you feel yourself extending your working hours because you are not doing anything in the evening, tell yourself that ‘this is enough’ and put your work away, relax, recharge and start again the next day with a fresh mind. The work will still be there in the morning!

Lastly, but very importantly, do not worry. Do not get too sucked in by the news and social media.

Worrying increases the release of stress hormones. These stress hormones are known to shut down our immune system as the body is busy getting ready for a fight or flight action. This causes exaggerated muscle tension and pain.

Our bodies send us clear messages when suffering from stress. It is important not to neglect them and consult a chiropractor who will be able to help you reduce the effect of that stress and get you back to a thriving life like we all deserve.

By Sandra Genest-Boudreau | Christophe O. Alves
|| [email protected]

Sandra Genest-Boudreau is French-Canadian, who graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1990 before coming to the Algarve in 2002. She is passionate about adjusting all her patients, particularly children. Christophe Alves graduated from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) UK, and has a special interest in Sport Chiropractic. Algarve Quiroprática clinic: EN125 in Pêra | 282 312 853 | 969 397 375
Licença da ERS n.º 17485/2019 de 11-06-2019