I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Self-Care Just Got That Much More Important…


I know I am always preaching self-care, but it’s so important! It really is! And so I wanted to share some more of what I do and have learned…

I think it was shortly after starting my first in-front-of-a-computer-all-day job that I’d heard about the 20-20 rule. Oh, you haven’t heard about the 20-20 rule? The 20-20 rule, when sitting in front of any illuminated screen, is to look away and at anything non-illuminated (preferably natural light but I know that’s not always possible) for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. This is for your eye health, people. I used to get dry-eyes and headaches until I heard about this rule. So please do.

A recent study was released this week, it’s all over the news, that claims that sitting for 6 hours or more per day greatly decreases your life span. And it’s worse for women than men. To be clear, I haven’t read the study (can’t seem to find it) and when I google it I get a bajillion results all from various local news outlets. It seems most of these stories stipulate sitting during leisure time only, but I think many of us have to sit for this amount of time at work. I don’t want to assume, but it would only make sense that this would have the same impact on your health if it’s simply the sitting that is the cause. They did point out that diet and exercise in the study had no impact, though general activity was encouraged and of course helps overall health.

I found this interesting because of the diet bit. They said in some (though others claim the opposite) that even those who work out and eat healthfully still were at great risk due to sitting for more than 6 hours per day. They didn’t go into why the risk is worse for women. I remember my old job where I was absolutely sitting at my desk for 7-8 hours per day, then drove home, thus sitting another 30-45 minutes on top of that. So what can you do?

I recommend stretching and getting up and walking as much as possible. For me this means if I am sitting for an hour I need to get up and walk around for about five minutes to prevent leg cramps (bananas help with this, too) and other issues. I have very tight hamstrings that get super tense if I’m not stretching them often. At my desk job I would rotate my ankles in circles and bend and straighten my knees. One gal even had one of those little foot pedal things so she would just sit there and pedal away. I secretly wanted one, but never did anything about it. You should also pay attention to the ergonomics of your desk/chair situation. Specifically, you should have some sort of ramp-like foot rest. This way your feet aren’t flat on the ground and your thighs/knees are hopefully not getting cut-off by your chair. Lumbar pillows (for your lower back) are also highly beneficial.

I had one job with the worst chair ever! That on top of it always being colder than a meat locker in that place lead to my going to an acupuncturist for back pain. He recommended all of the above and after two visits to him my back pain was gone! I highly recommend acupuncture, even for those who are needle-shy. You honestly can barely feel them. I had one needle in the top of my head and didn’t even know it until he pulled it out and showed me. They can help with almost any pain issues you’re having (I say almost because I don’t know if they can help those with Fibromayalgia or other chronic pain).

Stretching is a great low-impact self-care method. My husband is a great believer in the power of stretching. I resisted, but am now trying to get into it myself. I don’t have a routine, but whenever my “hammies” feel tight I try to do some lunges and such. I would also recommend these things for your wrists and fingers and hands if you type a lot or do paperwork/filing things. Shake out those wrists, wiggle those digits and stretch your arms over your head. Good stuff! And you know how when you have been sitting awhile or in a uncomfortable chair and your butt had that flat/dead feeling? Yeah, time to get up and move and shake it! If you’re embarrassed you could always head to the restroom for this, but I love seeing people smile so I just do it whenever and wherever.

What other self-care do you do? Do you do anything like the above at work? How do you remind yourself to do self-care every day?

6 Comments to

“Self-Care Just Got That Much More Important…”

  1. On July 4th, 2011 at 5:27 am Emerald Says:

    I have to remember to get up and stretch every so often, take a walk down the office, have a break, chat to the secretary, who’s the one other person who’s almost always around. Otherwise I can sit around for too long and end up feeling stiff and lethargic.

    On footrests: my hubby suffers from sciatica, and he’s discovered that if you have to stand for long periods, putting one foot up on something helps prevent the pain. It’s not something he gets often, but when he does, he knows about it.

    Oh, and an important thing to have around, for me, is eye drops. A good idea for anyone, but especially if, like me, you wear contacts – they can dry out easily with lots of screen work, particularly if your office has aircon, and your eyes get unpleasantly sticky and gritty. Having drops handy (preferably the ones in little capsules, then you can just break one off as you need it and there’s no waste) really helps.

  2. On July 4th, 2011 at 9:14 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Oh yes, eye drops rock! I wear glasses, but when I wasn’t doing the 20-20 rule, I would get terrible dry eyes from the air conditioner plus the computer mponitor and florescent lighting, blegh! Great advice! And yes, the foot rest thing made a huge difference for me, too. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences here!

  3. On July 4th, 2011 at 7:39 am Twistie Says:

    The best bit of self-care I ever did at work was a bookstore job I had once. The floor was a really thin industrial carpet over poured concrete. I’d been there less than a week when I figured out there were two kinds of workers there: those who wore Birkenstocks, and those who visited their chiropractors three times a week.

    Guess what I bought with my first paycheck! And I still love them.

  4. On July 4th, 2011 at 9:15 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Ha-ha! Nice! Yes, those terrible conccrete floors are killers on the knees! Definitely need something to absorb all of that shock! I wouldn’t have thought of birkenstocks immediately, but since they have that cork bottom? I guess they would do a pretty good job. Good thing to keep in mind, for me. I love ’em already, hippie at heart that I am, but this gives them even more appeal. Thanks, doll!

  5. On July 4th, 2011 at 9:13 am Shieldmaiden1196 Says:

    I’m a 911 dispatcher, and I’ve never worked anywhere that was more concerned with ergonomics. (Though my Aunt works at LL Bean, which is apparently Ergo-obsessed. In a good way.) We have work stations that raise and lower with the touch of a button, so you can, if you like, stand up, raise the counter, and work for a while to stretch and get the blood flowing. We have $2200 chairs that adjust in every way possible, and two of those chairs are designed for larger people, so I always have a chair that ‘fits’.
    My self care is a little complicated and I’m still figuring it out. I see a lot of things in my job that are difficult to hear/deal with, and a lot of things that seem frustrating and unfair. Those things, if you aren’t careful, can make you a person that is bitter, judgemental, and paranoid, or some delightful combination of the three. I make my living helping the sick, the vulnerable, the victim of circumstance, but I also make my living dealing with people who have committed a lifetime to making terrible choices (like a third DUI crash) and hurt themselves and others in the process. Where do I put all of that at the end of the day? I’m still learning how to release the ‘things I cannot change’ .

  6. On July 4th, 2011 at 9:19 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Firstly, I am so happy to hear that your job does take ergonomics so seriously. That in iteself is so very rare. And fatty chairs? I wanna try some of those! Ha-ha! Awesome! But I do see what you’re saying and no, I don’t know how you unpack that each day and go about your own life without getting bitter. I do think that it’s easier to get bitter and judgmental than to try to stay positive and comitted and comnpassionate. I would recomment therapy, but you’ve probably already thought of that. But let me say this, from all of those out there that you have helped through their circumstances, thank you! *Hugs* Breathe deep, often. You are amazing! Thank you for sharing your experiences here. I always smile when I see that you’ve meft a comment. =0)

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