A word on self-care in these uncertain times…  

With news programs streaming 24 hours a day 365 days a year, it is very easy to get bogged down with the rhetoric and images flying at you from your tv or phone. Many people at work may seem on edge or preoccupied and you are finding it harder and harder to concentrate. Most of us have felt all or some of these feelings in the past few weeks and now is not the time to neglect yourself.

It is easier to hole yourself up in your house after work and not see anyone or do anything except try to relax, which let me guess…you haven’t been able to do. Self-care is always important, but it is most important in these times of unrest. You can only be and do so much for your family, your friends, your coworkers, and yourself if you are running on empty. 

The only way to fill yourself back up is with intentional self-care. This doesn’t have to be mani -pedis, or a spa retreat. It can be as simple as going on walk, taking a bubble bath, or our personal favorite…receiving a massage.


Receiving a massage not only relaxes your tight shoulders and neck, it can also help your body release oxytocin and reduce levels of cortisol.  In other words, it can help you feel relaxed and safe, while bringing down your blood pressure. 

Please be good to yourself and, if you see someone you know struggling, a hug and a chat can always help. Let’s take care of ourselves so we can take care of those around us.

Workplace Checklist to Reduce Poor Posture, Neck Tension, and Shoulder Fatigue.

Many of us have a desk job or go to school and therefore spend a lot of time in front of the computer. If you suffer from tension headaches, sore neck or shoulders, or even low back pain then you might need to make some changes to your office set up. Here is a four-step checklist that you can carry out at your workstation, to make sure you’re comfortable, safe and productive at the office.


STEP 1: Your Chair

Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair.

Adjust the seat height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees equal to, or slightly lower than, your hips.

Adjust the back of the chair to a 100°-110° reclined angle. Make sure your upper and lower back are supported. Use inflatable cushions or small pillows if necessary. If you have an active back mechanism on your chair, use it to make frequent position changes.

Adjust the armrests (if fitted) so that your shoulders are relaxed. If your armrests are in the way, remove them.

STEP 2: Your Keyboard 

An articulating keyboard tray can provide optimal positioning of input devices. However, it should accommodate the mouse, enable leg clearance, and have an adjustable height and tilt mechanism. The tray should not push you too far away from other work materials, such as your telephone.

Pull up close to your keyboard.

Position the keyboard directly in front of your body.

Determine what section of the keyboard you use most frequently and readjust the keyboard so that section is centered with your body.

Adjust the keyboard height so that your shoulders are relaxed, your elbows are in a slightly open position (100° to 110°), and your wrists and hands are straight.


The tilt of your keyboard is dependent upon your sitting position. Use the keyboard tray mechanism, or keyboard feet, to adjust the tilt. If you sit in a forward or upright position, try tilting your keyboard away from you at a negative angle. If you are reclined, a slight positive tilt will help maintain a straight wrist position.

Wrist rests can help to maintain neutral postures and pad hard surfaces. However, the wrist rest should only be used to rest the palms of the hands between keystrokes. Resting on the wrist rest while typing is not recommended. Avoid using excessively wide wrist rests, or wrist rests that are higher than the space bar of your keyboard.

Place the pointer as close as possible to the keyboard. Placing it on a slightly inclined surface or using it on a mouse bridge placed over the 10-keypad, can help to bring it closer.

If you do not have a fully adjustable keyboard tray, you may need to adjust your workstation height, the height of your chair, or use a seat cushion to get into a comfortable position. Remember to use a footrest if your feet dangle. 

STEP 3: Screen, Document, and Telephone 

Incorrect positioning of the screen and source documents can result in awkward postures. Adjust the screen and source documents so that your neck is in a neutral, relaxed position.

Centre the screen directly in front of you, above your keyboard.

Position the top of the screen approximately 2-3” above seated eye level (If you wear bifocals, lower the screen to a comfortable reading level.)

Sit at least an arm’s length away from the screen and then adjust the distance for your vision.

Reduce glare by careful positioning of the screen. Position source documents directly in front of you, between the screen and the keyboard, using an in-line copy stand. If there is insufficient space, place source documents on a document holder positioned adjacent to the screen.

Place screen at right angles to windows.

Adjust curtains or blinds as needed.

Adjust the vertical screen angle and screen controls to minimize glare from overhead lights.

Other techniques to reduce glare include use of optical glass glare filters, light filters, or secondary task lights.

Place your telephone within easy reach. Telephone stands or arms can help.

Use headsets and speaker phone to eliminate cradling the handset.


STEP 4: Pauses and Breaks 

Once you have correctly set up your computer workstation use good work habits. No matter how perfect the environment, prolonged, static postures will inhibit blood circulation and take a toll on your body.

Take short 1-2 minute stretch breaks every 20-30 minutes. After each hour of work, take a break or change tasks for at least 5-10 minutes. Always try to get away from your computer during lunch breaks.

Avoid eye fatigue by resting and refocusing your eyes periodically. Look away from the monitor and focus on something in the distance.

Rest your eyes by covering them with your palms for 10-15 seconds.

Use correct posture when working. Keep moving as much as possible.

*Information supplied by UCLA Ergonomics

Don’t forget to schedule your massage to help reduce tension as well!

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