Sunday, January 28, 2018

Getting Aligned - My New Work Routine

2017 was a year of finding balance and limits. 2018 has become the year of finding my alignment and removing blockages that don't add value to my life. This results from me facing the fact that I do have some rather significant spine issues that if not acknowledged will only get worse. I recently had the alignment adjusted on my SUV so I guess it's time for me to adjust my own alignment.

If you asked me last week how much I sat, I would say that I wasn't all that sedentary because prolonged sitting was painful and my legs go numb. But, I didn't exactly care how I was sitting nor make it a point to stand regularly. Now that I've learned that the arthritis in my knees won't improve without movement; I've considered a standing desk as my primary workspace; but this seems like a giant change and I'm all about small, well calculated steps.

So, maybe I should simply stand more often or at the very least become conscious of standing regularly. I also took a hard look at my work space and what I could do to make it more beneficial to my particular spinal problems.

Since a standing desk is a big change. I started by playing Goldilocks with every chair in the house. The office chair now sits in the Sunroom. I settled on a folding kitchen stool which puts me at the right keyboard height for the desk I have and I put a small box under my feet so my knees are at the proper angle. It's not terribly comfortable; but better than "coping" with the office chair or other chairs I tried. In other words, it encourages me to sit properly and STAND.  I also put a couple boxes under my monitor to get it at the proper height.

There is a "Stand Time" app on my Apple watch. But, it's easy to ignore. Even amping the frequency of the challenge didn't seem to change my behavior. So, I loaded the free Outstanding  Chrome browser extension. It is a small green dot in the corner of the Chrome browser that turns yellow>red as I interact with the computer. Pretty effective. I'm not a big fan of their little pop-up window threatening my mortality with the evils of prolonged sitting so I tend to get up and move as soon as it turns yellow. After a few minutes it resets and is green again. Sometimes, they send a little pop-up window congratulating me for reaching goals. Clicking on the little colored dot will give me my standing statistics.

That leads me to my next realization.... I do sit a lot more than I thought I did. I race to finish work before the yellow dot appears. I mono-task much better because I want to get things done before my time is up. It really cuts down on the social media surfing or getting sidetracked by email. Those things can be done on my ipad or phone which is a much more comfortable, supportive workspace.

I also learned that I will push (ooops - yellow - BRB) my limits to finish some computer project while the discomfort and pain rises in my body and emotions. In other words I have patterned in a slave mentality. No, that doesn't add value to my life or my goals. I need to change this behavior. Simply reminding me to stand isn't going to be motivating long enough especially when it may take several months to feel a physical impact of these new behaviors.

Standland - it's a free app for iPhone and the watch. Good reviews - sounds interesting. Quite a learning curve for a non-millennial/non-gamer but by day 3 I had goals. I found in app challenges where you earn little gems by standing and completing challenges. The gems can be spent on new environments, clothes for your pet or gemmies, etc. OK - this is totally fun. EXCEPT - I didn't make the first few challenges. But, I stand a lot. I do Qigong standing. I walk, move, bounce..... but I didn't move enough every hour for 12 hours in a day?  Reset challenge 1 and try again. Now, I'm motivated. Those critters and gems keep me going. If I don't stand they fall asleep (thankfully not perish). I'm definitely making progress and paying more attention to keeping my spine happy.

I'm being more mindful of my alignment both with my spine and my commitments. Healing my back is critical to my long term goals. Does it add value? Does it add to progress of my long term intentions? This is the theme of 2018. Who knows where it will take me.