To catch you up to date: Last week I received a massage last week and immediately afterward the RMT informed me it was a do or die situation in my upper back and shoulder region. This declaration left me feeling shook and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since- partially due to the rude awakening she presented me with and also partially because I’ve been SO SORE ever since the appointment. It had been so long since my last massage that I completely forgot how stiff and sore you can be for days afterward. Like an idiot, I woke up the next morning and went straight to a workout. The minute I started jogging on the spot my body sent a red alert to my brain making sure I heard loud and clear that I was an idiot.
My mission for this week is to be aware of my posture and alignment in ways I’ve never been before. This means constantly checking in with the placement of my head, neck and shoulders, the angle and height of my arms while I type, the angle of my hips when I sit-- pretty much a general awareness of my overall slouchiness.
Monday: The Hypothesis.
The hypothesis: Over the span of this week I will be able to create a daily routine in order to gradually and healthily achieve good posture by being mindful of my body, my surroundings and my habits.
I anticipate this being a difficult challenge...
When I sit down to write I tend to immediately tune out. Like, really tune out. The apocalypse could be happening to my immediate left and I wouldn’t notice until I got the full structure of my thoughts figured out and onto the page. I imagine over the span of this little ergonomic experiment I will find myself quickly slipping into my bad habits the second that I slip into something that requires my full attention.
Whenever I write a blog post that centers around posture (such as this one) I become hyper-aware of what I’m doing with my body. Like right now…. I am sitting like a regal queen. The moment I start thinking about anything else my body slowly begins to cave in on itself until I become a crumpled up version of myself.
The goal for the week is not to “fix” my posture, because, well... if that’s even possible it’s a pretty lofty goal. My goal is instead to create an attainable routine of mindfulness that will inevitably lead to a healthier posture. Just like everything in life, there is no quick fix- you can’t cut corners and still get results, you can’t expect to go to the gym every day for a month and then have abs for life. It takes work. Dedication. Commitment.
If ya don’t burn, ya don’t earn!
I’m vowing right now to giving my posture ripped abs level of attention this week.
Wish me luck.
Tuesday: The Obstacles.
Monday’s newfound self-awareness ended up shedding light on a number of obstacles I face every day that when I cruise through my life mindlessly I don’t register as an obstacle. Things that at first glance you would think be obviously red flags to me- a writer of ergonomic tips- but alas, here we are, stating the obvious.
1- The Bag.
I am a bag lady. Always have been, always will be. I tend to spend 10-12 hours out of the house every day so I usually look like I’m on a fourteen-day camping trip. I switch up the bag I use depending on the days' events but it’s usually either a giant leather shoulder bag (for my fancy days) or a giant khaki green backpack (for gym/work/hands-free days). I used the shoulder bag on Monday and I was very aware of my lopsidedness all day.
I thought about it as I massaged my sore shoulder at the end of the day and the main issue isn’t really even bag specific, it’s more weight specific. I carry a really heavy bag every day. Laptop, charging cables, gym clothes, trainers, water bottle and approximately 10 lbs of snacks. It adds up and I’m not sure what to do about it. I could hire a mule to lug my things around, I suppose.
2- The Work Setup.
I preach about ergonomic workplace setups all the time. Elevate your computer! Lower your arms when typing! Angle your seat! Blah, blah, blah! I rant and rave about it constantly, and just look at how I work:
I know… problematic.
3- The Height.
This problem will only be relatable to about half of you but, I’m tall. 5’10” to be exact. Ever since puberty, my instinct has been to try to blend in. When I speak to my shorter female friends I tend to go down and meet them at their level- by slouching. My posture has suffered due to this weird complex that I feel like have to shrink down to fit in for many years. This is a tough one, but I feel confident I can get over it.
To be honest, the only one of these issues I have a solution is the workspace, which I plan on changing ASAP. I have to practice what I preach, hypocrisy is not okay with me. The other two I’m at a loss for. I suppose awareness is a good first step. Do you have any suggestions for me? Let me know in the comments what you think I should do!
Wednesday: The Hips Don’t Lie.
I had a revelation yesterday.
It’s all in the hips. It always comes back to the hips.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in our Austin chair for the first time this month. Of course, I’ve sat in the chairs before but due to my current living situation (which has me hopping from one country to another every 5 weeks or so) it hasn’t exactly been in the cards for me to get to spend quality time with our products IRL.
After sitting in the chair most of yesterday it struck me. My hips felt SO good. The forward tilt of the seat stretched open the front of my hips that are usually so compacted from sitting at 90 degrees, and from there the rest of my alignment figured itself out like a domino effect.
I’ve been writing about posture as if it starts from the shoulders downward when really it starts from hips and works its way both up and down at the same time.
This revelation is, I believe, going to a game changer for my overall posture. I can work on memorizing how my body feels in the chair with the slanted seat, teach it that THIS is the new normal- this is how we should always feel, and from there work on recreating it as best I can when I can’t have it with me.
Wednesday was a productive posture day. Dare I say this challenge is working?
Thursday: The Tired Hunchback.
It might be because we’re getting towards the end of the week or maybe it’s because I’ve been so aware of my posture this week my muscles are fed up from being used in ways they aren’t accustomed to. Whatever it is, I feel fatigued today and I want to slump. I want to lean back in my chair and give into the backrest.I want to lean against the wall and I don’t want to silently assess my standing posture as I wait for the subway.
Regardless of my unmotivated mental state, I’m staying strong. I’m working on it even though I don’t want to. I begin to lean back into my chair, I imagine how I would look like a hunchback as motivation to keep it up (spoiler alert- I’m not a cute hunchback).
So today I walked through all of the tips we curated for this list here (INSERT LINK TO STANDING BLOG POSTURE). It was actually so helpful to have a simple guide to follow. Some days it just seems too daunting to be out in the world trying to make healthy choices for yourself. Sometimes you need a pal to help guide and motivate you. I used it as an excuse to step away from my work for about 15 minutes and I just did all of the exercises from top to bottom. And you know what? I felt better afterward. I felt like I landed back in my body and was rejuvenated in my challenge.
Friday: The Lessons Learned.
Like all good science fair projects I will begin my conclusion by restating my initial hypothesis:
My initial prediction was that over the span of this week I will be able to create a daily routine in order to gradually and healthily achieve good posture by being mindful of my body, my surroundings, and my habits.
The good news is: I NAILED THE HYPOTHESIS.
Of course, I didn’t change or “fix” my posture in any sort of permanent way in such a short amount of time- to expect that would be completely unrealistic, but I finally feel like I’m on the right track.
The bad news is: I don’t quite feel secure in my new routine.
What I mean by this is that I don’t really believe 5 days is enough time to solidify yourself in a new routine. I once heard it takes 30 days to adapt to a new routine and I tend to believe that’s true.
That being said, I feel like spending a week hyper-focused on my body and constantly being mindful of how I’m adapting to my surroundings has been incredibly valuable. I was able to pinpoint issues in my current day to day life, make small changes. I think if I were to keep up awareness for another few weeks by the end of 30 days I would have been able to really make changes to my movements, habits, and health.
Would you ever consider doing a challenge like this? HAVE you ever done a challenge this? We’d love to know how you feel about it- a waste of time? Genius? Drop us a line in the comments and share your thoughts.