Why is the first month the longest month of the year? And this year it seems particularly long…
On the plus side, January is also a great month for snuggling under a blanket with a good book!
I think it’s so bizarre in our western culture that we follow the most work intense month of the year with the month that we are supposed to enact huge changes in our life, routine, schedule, diet, or exercise ie New Year’s Resolutions. And when these inevitably fail (as they often do, except if you were like me and made excellent and achievable New Year’s resolutions like “floss more” and “use less plastic”) folks are often left with a feeling of ‘not doing enough’, or ‘not working hard enough.’ Maybe that’s my millennial experience with grind culture talking, but I know I’m not alone in this feeling.
2020 subverted the normal, so why would January 2021 be any different? I chose rest, and reset for January instead of resolutions.
Working From Home, the 2021 experience
I, like so many people, started to work from home in 2020. What does that mean? First it meant setting up a desk in the living room. Then a small book case. Now a rolling cart full of books and a second desk–and a printer. Next is some additional lighting because it’s dark in my home office at night.
Also, did I mention I can see the kitchen from my office?
Working from home is full of distractions. I have done several things to implement a creative, awesome space where I am inspired, can be organized and have different spaces to work.
“Sitting for long periods of time can cause a number of health concerns which include obesity, increased blood pressure, increased stress levels, and it can also affect your posture, your mental health, as well as create stiffness and soreness in the body. It is important to get up every hour and move around, which will help increase blood flow and mobility, as well as help to strengthen the muscles and bones. Moving around also helps our brain release mood-enhancing chemicals and helps to get rid of brain fog.”
– Jill Pheonix, Integrative Nutrion Health and Registered Yoga Teacher
Now that part of my job is sedentary I have really had to step up my game to get at least 10,000 steps in. In January I reinstituted walking days, where I begin and end my Tina Capricorn home office hours with a walk on the nature trail by my house. But I know there are other things I can do to help alleviate the stiffness in my neck and shoulders from computer work, as well reinvigorate my lower back and legs from sitting for so long.
I chatted with my friend Jill Phoenix, who is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and a RYT-500 (Registered Yoga Teacher with 500 Hours of Advanced Studies in Yoga) about ways to implement more movement and stretching into my home office days.
Jill also suggested the 20-8-2 rule for my home office days. The 20-8-2 rule: Sit for no more than 20 minutes at a time, stand in one position perhaps at your desk, for no more than 8 minutes and also try to take a 2-minute movement break at least twice an hour to stretch or walk around.
This is totally perfect because I just got a sand-timer for writing sprints that is 20 minutes in duration!
Standing Forward Fold
The second is a Standing Forward Fold, which you can also do right at your desk!
- Stand with your feet at hips-width distance, and slowly bend forward from the hips to come into the forward bend.
- Allow your hands to rest on the ground or you can grab opposite elbows, and allow your chin to relax towards your chest so the neck can be free.
- To take the strain off the lower back, bend the knees as deeply as you would like.
- You can also bring the elbows to the thighs and stick the hips back as if you were going to sit in a chair, if folding forward is too intense on the low back and hamstrings.
- Then, try adding an arm bind to stretch the shoulders: Interlace your hands at the lower back and stretch the arms over your head and hands towards the ground in front of you.
- For those with tight shoulders, hold a belt or a dish towel between your hands, allowing the shoulders to get a deep but less intense stretch.
- To release and come back to standing, bend the knees and roll up slowly with an inhale.