Do you ever feel uncomfortable or tired after a long session studying in front of your computer or mobile device? Do your arms ache, or your eyes feel fatigued? Are your shoulders tight?
If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, then you could benefit by considering ways to improve the way you sit at your desk, or the way in which you use the monitor or keyboard. Discomfort and pain can prevent you studying or working well, and can also affect your non-working hours too. Take a look at what you are doing right now… sitting with hunched shoulders over a laptop or mobile device? Leaning on your elbows on a desk? Sitting cross-legged and constantly moving to alter your position?
Some time spent becoming more aware of your bad habits and putting them right is a great investment for your comfort and good work practice. So let us consider the following tips to help you avoid discomfort and fatigue:
1. Sit upright, with your back supported by your chair. Move the chair close to your workstation. Slouching to one side will result in constant fidgeting to find a good position, with distraction and aching muscles being the result.
2. Keep the weight of your arms supported at all times. If they are not supported, the muscles of your neck and shoulders will be painful after a short while.
3. Be aware of your head position, and keep the weight of your head directly above its base of support – your neck. Do not crane your head and neck forward.
4. The monitor should be directly in front of you, with the top no higher than eye level. It should be at least an arm’s length from you, in order to prevent eye strain. The keyboard should be directly in front of the monitor so you do not need to turn your head and neck frequently.
5. The keyboard and mouse must be close together in order that you do not need to reach excessively for either.
6. Prevent screen glare by attending to the settings of your monitor, and placing it where light cannot shine directly on it. Rest your eyes every now and again, focusing on a distant object for a few seconds.
7. If your feet do not easily reach the floor, use a footrest or lower the keyboard and chair. Your feet should be flat on the floor or the footrest.
8. Let upper arms hang down naturally from your shoulders – there should be a right angle at your elbow when typing.
9. Never talk the phone with the phone receiver jammed between the neck and ear is really bad practice. If you need to talk and type, then make sure you use a headset.
10. Relax shoulders, periodically checking that they do not become tense, rise up or hunch. Every few minutes get up, walk around and stretch some muscles. Organise regular breaks so that you can walk, recharge and relax.