Stress Management For Dummies
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Your desk or workspace can cause stress for other reasons besides disorganization. The problem is, your body wasn’t designed to sit and work in one place for long periods of time. When you sit in a stationary position, your muscle groups contract. The blood flow to these muscles may become reduced, resulting in oxygen-deprived muscles. This can lead to pain, strain, muscle aches, and fatigue.

Here are some suggestions that can help you avoid that ergonomic pain in the neck:

  • If you spend long periods of time typing at your computer, where and how you sit becomes important. The height of your chair in relationship to your keyboard and monitor are important variables to consider in avoiding excessive muscle tension and fatigue in your shoulders, neck, and upper back.

    You don’t want to be straining your neck while looking at your monitor. Adjustability is the key. If your chair or table is too high or too low, replace it. Better yet, find an adjustable chair and table. Seat heights should range from 15 to 22 inches, depending on what your dimensions look like.

  • You should also have some padded support for your lumbar (lower back) region. The backrest should be full-length, extending some 18 to 20 inches higher than the seat of your chair. If your lower back isn’t supported sufficiently, consider a lumbar roll — a cylindrical pillow that fits nicely in the small of your back.

  • Your keyboard should be approximately at elbow level when you’re seated. When using your keyboard, make sure your fingers are lower than your wrists. To avoid repetitive-stress injuries (such as carpal tunnel syndrome), you may want to consider an ergonomically designed keyboard that reduces the strain on your wrists. You should also consider a support for your wrist when you’re using your mouse.

  • Rest your feet. Having a foot rest is a good way of taking some of the strain off your legs and back, especially if you’re short.

    A study carried out by AT&T on its telephone operators found that switching to easily adjustable tables and chairs resulted in a significant reduction in reported discomfort, particularly in the back, shoulders, and legs.

  • Not all writing instruments are ergonomically equal. Find a pen that is particularly comfortable to work with. The grip should not result in your fingers becoming easily fatigued.

  • If you spend a lot of time on your feet, finding the correct footwear becomes a necessity. If you find you have to trade some style for greater comfort, go for the comfort.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Allen Elkin, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and the director of The Stress Management & Counseling Center in New York City. Nationally known for his expertise in the field of stress and emotional disorders, he has appeared frequently on Today, Good Morning America, and Good Day New York.

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