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Resetting my goals ..

To be honest, the past few weeks have been rather strange, hence my delay in blogging. After a rather stressful 2 years of a masters’ level course, I took my final exam – a huge relief to the whole family as it’s been quite tough on all of us. I thought I’d take the weekend off, maybe start my diet again by the middle of the week.

I began by enjoying a break from the usual routine, but then I found myself struggling to re-start the disciplines I had been enjoying and benefiting from. My Pilates Class had a break at half term and then both my dogs had to be quarantined due to illness. Unable to fulfill my key sources of weekly exercise, it led to an excuse of drifting into 10 days of inactivity – totally lacking motivation to do anything, especially exercise.

What I think happened was a build up of expectation, that once the exams were over, I would feel relief. However, as I won’t get the results until mid-March, I’m feeling bereft and I’m experiencing feelings of being directionless and lacking purpose – why aren’t I enjoying doing nothing? 

I’ve mostly kept to my diet but slackened off during this period which resulted in me gaining 4lbs, as I wasn’t bothering to monitor my points. Not disastrous, but in combination with the lack of other activities, it was evident that having no structure to my week really wasn’t good for me.

My usual reaction to this is frustration, which as we know, is always counterproductive, so this time around I have tried to embrace it by looking at the positives to come out of this “downtime” period. Firstly, I’ve decided to try something new this year and learn to ski, and have already had 2 lessons with a third booked next week. Secondly, as you can see from the picture above I have bought a few items to create my own make-shift gym in the garage; a bench, a few kettlebells and a suspension training system, all for under £70.

So, I’m going to set a new goal of 10 minutes in the gym a day, 5 or 6 days a week. Either some load bearing exercise based on the 7-minute workout or a short Pilates routine my instructor gave me before half term. If you’re interested in finding out about the 7-minute workout idea, google it, there’s plenty of information out there and it’s quite basic so the information is pretty reliable.

It’s all been a very useful experience. What surprised me most was just how long it took me to work out what was happening, but once I had, it was quite fast to change. When you expect relief and instead get a sense of loss, it’s disorienting. It’s ok to feel this lack of motivation and sometimes you don’t have the energy to fight against it, but there’s a fine line between going with it for a short time and allowing yourself to get caught up and ending up wallowing in it. Luckily this time around, I managed to catch it before it took hold. 

Posted 26-02-19

Working from home - are you sitting comfortably?

Working from home - are you sitting comfortably?

As homeworking continues to be increasingly popular, allowing flexible working, there needs to be an awareness of how this can affect your health. The most obvious being the effects on your body.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, musculoskeletal disorders are the most common form of ill health related to work. They recognise that spending long hours in a poor seating position can cause back pain or make existing pain worse. There are also a range of neck, shoulder, arm and hand disorders, that can range from short to long term, that are linked to activities at work.

As a rule, if you feel uncomfortable at your desk or feel stiff after working for a while, it’s worth checking how your equipment is positioned. Most of the homeworkers I treat have a set up that is designed to fit a space rather than designed for the task, ie, using a laptop at the kitchen table or at desk crammed into a small space. In the workplace, your employer is obligated to provide you with suitable space and equipment, why shouldn’t you apply the same standards?

Most people understand the importance of a good mattress, but you can easily spend equal time working as asleep. It’s worth considering your working environment to be a similar investment as your mattress.

My first step when assessing a homeworker is to have a photo taken so we can review their home set up to see what may need improving. This can be as simple as decluttering to create space or adjusting a chair for more comfort. Laptops can be placed on a stand, so the screen is at eye level, relieving pressure on the neck. Whilst adding a plug-in keyboard and mouse relieves strain on the wrists and shoulders.

Often, I make a home visit and we work out how to get the most out of your equipment so changes (and cost!) can be kept to a minimum. I also give you a set of stretches that can be done at or away from your desk.

Here are some simple solutions which only cost a few pounds (and some are free!), yet they make a big difference to your body.

Your chair should support your lower back and you should sit comfortably upright.

The desk and chair height should be set so your forearms are roughly horizontal.

Your knees should be below the level of your hips.

The top of your screen should be at eye level.

If you mainly use a laptop, consider using a docking station, external monitor, mouse and a full-size keyboard.

Ensure wrists are comfortable when using a mouse or keyboard. Use wrist rests if possible.

Avoid clutter where possible. Document holders that place paperwork near the same level as the computer are ideal.

Take regular breaks. Regular short breaks are better than occasional long ones.

In addition, ensure you have adequate lighting.


Posted 01-10-15


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