Lately I've had a real pain in my neck. No, I'm not talking about family, pets or clients...it's me. I've been working long hours on websites, with my laptop too low, while sitting on a regular chair and (gasp), I haven't been taking regular breaks. I know. I know. What a slacker. It seems I do this every few months. I'm feeling great, I kick my usual Balance Ball seat to the side, grab a regular chair and work hours on end without taking a break. A few weeks of this and my body can't fight the bad positions anymore.
It would be one thing if I didn't know better, but I do. Lucky me. I was set straight with neck pain and headaches. That's what our bodies do. That's what pain is for. Amazingly, I was trying to blame the pain on something else. Maybe I slept wrong or was coming down with something. This continued apathy can lead to missed work and all kinds of long term problems with posture, muscle loss, carpal tunnel, sciatica, and arthritis to name a few.
So I think I've finally found what I need to help me remember to take regular breaks while I'm working. It's StretchClock - a browser gadget that's easy to install on your computer and it's FREE. Don't worry. It's not a massive system of workouts. It's a reminder to stop and stretch or move around and if you want, you can set it up so you're given a short video stretch to do. The stretches are super easy and very effective. I could feel the difference immediately. It's nothing new. They don't even last a full minute. The trick is doing them regularly. I know a ton of stretches. I even know the ones they do on the videos, but if I don't do them because I feel fine, it isn't going to work.
The thing I like about the stretch videos is that the guy in the videos isn't at a gym. He looks like he stepped out from behind his computer, put on his sunglasses and went outside for a quick stretch. I can relate to him. No stretchy outfits and impossible yogi feats...just a quick stretch so you can get back to work.
There are also suggestions for proper work position in the sidebar. It's really well done and customizable to come up in many different time increments and as a prompt to do your own stretches, as a reminder that you click to show you their video or to show the video automatically. In other words, it's totally doable. No excuses.
Here's one of my favorites:
Regular exercise is also helpful for keeping those excess stress chemicals from getting the best of you. Or maybe a regular massage as a sanity break? The beauty of it is - it doesn't take much, so take a break and get back to work!
P.S. If you want to set up your own system of stretches for specific areas, here are a couple books I've found helpful over the years for preventive info and for getting back on track: