I Must be Back in the Saddle… My Butt’s on Fire

By Donna Marrin

Are you back in the swing of things now that the holiday season is over? I know I am. I can feel the burn in my shoulders…and my back…my posterior and my wrists. I tend to lose track of all time while I’m in the saddle, only tearing myself away from my monitor and keyboard if my midsection begins to gurgle and groan. At this point, my stomach is waving its white flag quite frantically—helllooooo! I NEED lunch…LUNCH!…you remember what THAT is, don’t you? Or I suspect the gurgling may be part of an alarm system set off by all the collective parts of my body—we’re not gonna take it anymore!— after conferring and deciding to force my #@%! out of the chair so they can enjoy a well-deserved break.

I’m a logical person. I know that I should be taking periodic breaks. As a matter of fact, every single night before I go to sleep, I make the same pact with myself: OK Donna. Tomorrow’s a new day. You’re going to move your eyes away from your computer screen every hour. And you’re going to take a five-minute walk around the hallways to stretch your legs. And while you’re at it—you’re going to drop beside your desk and do ten push-ups every 90 minutes. Oh—and you’ll be taking the stairs from now on instead of the elevator. And… enough with hiding the snack-size Crispy Crunch bars in your file cabinet. And that mug of cream ‘with a spot of coffee’… Oops. I’m off track here.

The fact is, the experts are absolutely right. No matter the volume of deadlines and the scarcity of hours in a day, our bodies crave periodical rests. Nagging little aches and pains are your body’s way of sending “urgent” memos to you. Just as if you were to ignore urgent memos from your boss or client, ignoring your body’s memos can lead to more serious issues down the road.

I’d like to suggest (to you and me both!) some good habits to form this year, which will give your body the break it needs to work more productively without the aches and pains.

1. Give your eyes a rest. Look away from your computer monitor for a couple of minutes, every hour or so. Look out the window at the sky. Make eyes at your plant. Seek out coffee-stain patterns in the industrial carpeting. Whatever. Just allow your eyes to focus on something other than your computer monitor.

2. Pretend you’re back in Kindergarten. Stand tall, lift your arms and reach for the sky—strrretchhhh those arms (If it helps, speak this dialogue in your head in a gleeful, sing-song voice). Hold the stretch for a few seconds. Release and repeat a few times. Do some head rolls next. They’re good for your poor, cramped neck muscles. Flex your keyboard-weary fingers and squeeze your hands into balls, then repeat a few times.

3. Give your stems a little lovin’. Stand on your tiptoes and feel the stretch in your legs, then make like a hall monitor and take a little stroll through the hallways, just to get the blood circulating again.

Turning these suggestions into regular habits will take no more than about five minutes of your time, and will help you ride a lot higher once you’re back in the saddle.

See you in the hallway tomorrow!

Donna Marrin is a freelance Senior Writer/Editor specializing in corporate communications and advertising. She also founded and runs the Markham Village Writers. You can visit their website at www.markhamvillagewriters.com

By Adam

January 24, 2011