I have been sitting in front of my computer for what seems like a ridiculous amount of hours the past few days. Have you been there? Several years ago I worked in an office setting and spent eight hours each day in front of a computer screen, but for the past four years I have had the luxury (and sometimes additional stress) or working a more physical job and now working from home.
I have started to notice a trend while working.
After I have been staring at my computer screen, sometimes after only an hour and sometimes after a few hours, I start to feel a change in me.
I become agitated. I can feel my body get tense. It starts in my shoulders; I can tell that I am starting to bring them up towards my ears. Then my legs become restless. My head starts to hurt. My eyes are tired of staring at the computer screen. Finally, it reaches a point where I feel like if I don’t stand up and move away from the computer I am going to scream and my body will explode!!
Yes, I know, I sound pretty dramatic right now. I know that many people experience FAR worse things than sitting in front of a computer screen in the comfort of their home for hours. But, it doesn’t change the fact that this agitation still builds up in me.
Yesterday when I was about to reach my breaking point I got up and finished a project I had started a few days ago. It was painting a Christmas sign. As I shared last week I had made a few signs at my aunt’s craft day and enjoyed it so much I wanted to play around with a few more.
This ended up being the perfect break for me. I got to look at a real object in natural lighting while chatting with my daughters. As I painted the letters (and then repainted the sign and letters to improve it) I could feel my computer stress melting away.
I enjoyed my break. My eyes enjoyed it. My legs enjoyed it. My shoulders enjoyed it. And my brain enjoyed working on a new project.
This got me thinking about what are some other activities that I could do when I just need to step away from the computer for a short time to lower my shoulders back down to their natural position. Here is what I came up with:
- Paint a wooden sign or do a different craft you like (think sewing, knitting, etc.)
- Doodle or draw a picture – if you have to stay at your desk turn off your monitor or close your laptop to give your eyes a break from the “glow” of the computer
- Play a quick game or color with my daughters
- Get up and get some water to drink (I’m not a great water drinker)
- Cut some veggies, or some other type of food prep for a snack or to stay ahead at dinner. Lots of dinners involve some tasks that could be completed earlier in the day and stored in the fridge until it’s time.
- Do a 5 minute clean-up around the house. Set the timer and then jump back in on the computer when you are done.
- Quick game of solitaire (I’m not great at this so most of my games move along quickly)
- Get moving! While I was pregnant with my 2nd I became a fan of Denise Austin through Fit & Firm Pregnancy. I read a book (can’t think of the name of it) where she recommended doing a few fitness exercises mixed in with your normal routine. While you sit in your chair you can do waist twist or get up and do a few squats or pushups on your counter.
- Write a note or letter to let someone know that I’m thinking about them or to give a word of encouragement.
- Take a few minutes to pray. Pray for my family, friends, give thanks, or anything else that is on my mind. Have you ever taken a moment to pray when you feel that tension building and then experienced that wonderful peace that comes over you as it feels like the weight and stress is just melting away?
How about you? Do you experience this too? What do you do when you just need a break from your computer?