As a lover of travel, the outdoors and seeing my friends, the current situation, which so many of us are finding ourselves in, has taken some getting used to. The United Kingdom has now been on lockdown for just over a week due to Covid-19 and there are some parts of the lockdown I am thoroughly enjoying. Getting up a little later and not having to battle the traffic to get to work being two of my favourites. However, there are some things that I have struggled with and have realised how important they are to my daily life, a lack of routine being a key struggle!
As the country went into lockdown and I was to work from home, like so many of us are also doing, one of my first priorities was to set myself up with a work station. At my place of work I have a wonderful HR department and they have given me a beautiful supportive chair and a desk that I have (sadly) become rather attached to. However, they are to remain in my office and were not coming home with me unlike my laptop.
I knew that it was very important that I had a designated work space that was not going to encroach on my and also my boyfriends ‘down time’. We are very fortunate in that we have a spare room so after some consideration we decided to turn our spare room into a temporary office.
Day 1. WFH Working from home involved me sitting, lying, perching and even kneeling on the bed in an attempt to use the laptop comfortably for any length of time and my ‘boyfriend’ using a decorative stool and the chest of draws as a desk. We did this until lunchtime when we both realised how impractical, unproductive and uncomfortable this was. So we made a standing desk for me and moved our bistro table from the garden into our new office. To add to the finishing touches I even put a nice plant on the standing desk just to pretty up our ugly homemade desk. So with two ‘new’ and improved work stations for day 2 we agreed we could share our work stations during the day figuring that if we were comfortable then we could concentrate on our work and not on getting out of pain.
As you may have also experienced, day one of working from home was a challenge and was not overly productive either but day 2 had great potential!
That evening we were watching TV and they were talking about routine and how to deal with this big adjustment that almost every single one of us was going to be affected by. That’s when we decided that we needed a routine too, it would help us both feel more normal and have the correct mind-set to keep us focused.
If you read my previous blog, you will already know that I am a big fan of yoga especially for my lower back, however, like so many of us, I just never seem to have the time to do as much as I should… but suddenly now I have a lot more time. So new to our morning is yoga, and I am thoroughly enjoying it! I feel more alert and prepared for the day than I have done in months, so we are definitely keeping that in the routine.
Day 2 Get moving! Another thing that I am having to remember to do during the work day is move. That may sound silly but now all my meetings are taking place solely from my desk, my colleagues are not across the room or on a different floor they are at the end of the phone and there are no flights of stairs to the boardroom or lunchtime strolls around town. I am in danger of becoming too sedentary except for the odd leg movement.. my boyfriend is sitting literally in kicking distance of my desk! It didn’t really register but it was alarmingly true, that I don't think I really moved away from my desk until 1:45pm on my second day of working from home and that was because I was feeling hungry. This had to change and we both needed a way of doing some exercise whilst at home, then I read this https://www.thebadbackcompany.co.uk/blog/correct-posture/10-posture-exercises-you-really-can-do-at-your-desk.htm
Day 3. Now I’m on day 3 of working from home and I would not only recommended these exercises to everyone reading this but I have also sent them to my HR department who I am told almost immediately sent them out to the entire workforce.
As much as I try, WFH is not doing wonders for my back, my cute little bistro chair that is perfect for sitting on whilst sipping a gin and tonic on a warm summer's evening is surprisingly not so practical for a working day (shocking I know). My lower back was starting to ache and the addition of my cushion had not overly eased the discomfort. That’s when I decided that I would dig out my back support https://www.thebadbackcompany.co.uk/shop-by-product/back-supports-braces/womens-lumbamed-plus.htm That was my saviour during my South East Asia adventure, so I was certain that it would help me now. It most certainly has not let me down, and my back pain has most certainly subsided since putting it on.
True Love. My boyfriend is a lover of the gym, sometimes I think that it is the true love of his life, however his gym has now closed. So he has turned ‘my’ lovely dining room into his work out room. Now whilst I was munching my way through yet another digestive biscuit he was doing a HIIT workout and it got me thinking, maybe I should try doing some exercise with him. We spend many of our weekends outside exploring the beautiful English or occasionally overseas countryside which I have always deemed as enough exercise, well that was my excuse! However, now we are limited and I fear this may become more limited. My Osteopath had always advised that doing exercise would help strengthen my back so I decided to give it a go. I did make a call to my Osteopath to run through the exercises that would be good for my back and following this my boyfriend and I sat down and planned an exercise routine just for me.
Day 5. Lunchtime workouts and I feel incredible. I am loving that I am using this time to not only enjoy a hobby my boyfriend loves but I am becoming physically fitter too. My osteopath also suggested I could look into this as an addition to our new ‘home gym’ https://www.thebadbackcompany.co.uk/shop-by-injury/sports-injury/posture-mini-gym.htm
Finally to help my back, my mental health and to just get out of the four walls, we go for a daily walk. We are very lucky that we live in a very small village that is surrounded by fields and a nature reserve. We hardly see anybody on our walks but if we do, we keep our safe social distance and ensure that we are sticking to the government guidelines. I have to say that this lockdown has taught me an awful lot including how important it is to simply enjoy what you have, to look after your body, call your relatives/neighbours/friends and how much as a nation we can pull together, from the NHS clapping which I have to admit made me cry, to the rainbows put in the windows by the children and the lovely lady who called to me across the field the other day ‘Your hair looks lovely today, I hope you are doing ok’
This country is wonderful and I truly hope that if you are reading this I have made you smile, if only a little bit, because every day should be filled with a smile and it takes less muscles to smile than frown!
Stay home, stay safe.