In June, I attended an eye opening session at the BlogU conference lead by Ashley Fuchs of The Malleable Mom. Ashley talked about the importance of posture and movement in our work environment as a means to eliminate and prevent related injuries. In short, I learned that I was writing in the wrong place, writing in the wrong position, and that my head was placing about a 60 pound strain on my neck all those hours I spent looking down at my laptop.
My husband nicknamed me ‘Big Head Todd’ after the band a few years ago because of my large cranium, but I never knew it was a real liability!
Before the session, my ‘desk’ of choice was the couch. I learned that my convenient work spot could very well be adding to, if not causing, my neck and back pain, headaches and more.I've written...and I can't get up! Click To Tweet
Since giving up long hours on the computer isn’t an option for me, I started to research tools and accessories that would help me to NOT turn into a human semi-circle in in the next 5 years.
Here are 5 tools I either own or have on my holiday wish list.
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I had a kneeling chair in the 1990s before they were cool, but somehow it disappeared in between moves, husbands, and kids. When recently outfitting our office nook at home, we were looking for a comfortable chair at a good price that wouldn’t cause any new aches and pains. I remembered my kneeling chair and ordered an updated version of it: the Sleekform Ergonomic Kneeling Chair. I have lower back pain, and it is “designed to place your body in an open angle upright position by lowering the angle of your lower body and placing your body weight on your buttocks, not your lower back.” It looks a little strange, but I find it so much more comfortable than other office chairs I have used. I also like that this one doesn’t break the bank, since spending money on office chairs is about as exciting as spending money on tires to me.
And here is my husband looking very happy to have his photo taken in the chair.
This is actually a Mr. Maccarelli purchase. I have not converted to the standing desk yet myself, but my husband loves it and uses it at the office as well as his home office nook. He doesn’t stand all the time, but switches back and forth during the day and swears by it. The Readydesk wooden model below is what he currently uses. They promote it as “the world’s most affordable standing desk that is ergonomic but still has space for two monitors.” Amazon.com currently sells it for $169.99.
The Lorell Sit-to-Stand Monitor Riser offers similar benefits with a gas spring mechanism.
Or if you really want to go all out, the VARIDESK offers several models that my husband admires from afar in other coworkers offices. “VARIDESK’s patented spring-loaded lifting mechanism easily lifts up to 35 lbs. in 3 seconds, allowing you to stand up and sit down without breaking your concentration”.
I love the idea of this Adjustable Height Laptop Cart With Storage for a portable, space-conscious standing option at a great price (under $100). What a cool way to create your own posture-friendly writing space without a huge commitment. Most of the 600 reviews on Amazon.com give it 4 or 5 stars.
If you’re like me, even when you try not to write while sitting on the couch, it happens. Since my particular couch whispers sweet nothings to lure me, I have been looking into some solutions for couch potatoes. I found this little gem that can work on a desk top (use it as a sit-stand accessory), on my lap desk, and even on my beloved couch! The Pwr+ Portable Laptop-Table-Stand can be adjusted in all sorts of ways to avoid neck and back pain. At under $40, this is one of the most affordable on our list. It is going on my Christmas list!
At 5 foot 1 and a half inches (I like to make sure I include my half inch), I often feel like Goldilocks in Papa Bear’s chair. Apparently it isn’t just short people who benefit from a footrest though. The Kensington SoleSaver Adjustable Footrest claims to “reduce pressure on lower back and alleviate discomfort while sitting” and “improve posture and circulation”. You may even be able to come up with a DIY footrest that fits the bill.
Anti Fatigue Mat
I mentioned earlier that I don’t use a standing desk yet myself. That said, I do often stand and work on my laptop at a counter in between cooking luxurious and nutritious meals for my family (or hot dogs). Whether I am on my laptop, doing dishes, prepping for meals or any other standing task, I swear by anti-fatigue mats. This is one of those things that you don’t know you need until you stand on one. I have also purchased this as a gift for several family members who love it. You can find all sorts of sizes and colors, as well as those that specifically say they are for an office. I personally have the FoamEra Premium Anti-Fatigue Mat.