Have you heard the saying, ‘You’ll never be any younger than you are right now?’
I’ve been feeling that a lot this year.
I visited a rheumatologist for the first time this week. They were very good and listened to my issues, even though I’m in my early 30s and often considered too young to be in chronic pain. I’ve got blood tests, an MRI, and a course of steroids to trial before I see them again. Hopefully, this will help us figure out what’s going on. Because I’ll be honest, it’s not fun to ache all over all the time. I’m sure some of you will agree.
So–to stop whining–I did something else recently to help the fatigue and the aches. I saw a physiotherapist. AND I also changed my desk.
This is a huge thing for me. I work on my writing for up to 20 hours each week (twice as long as I work at my ‘paid’ job). A lot of that is spent at my computer. I do like to take my tablet out to cafes to write, and sometimes lounge in bed with it, too, but predominantly, writing is at a desk.
It was giving me terrible backache, even though I had an ergonomic gaming chair.
So I did some research, including reaching out to other writers on Twitter, and decided to go all out on a brand new (secondhand) system: a sit-stand desk.
How did I not have one of these before?
Basically, the sit-stand desk can be made of a few parts:
- a height-adjustable desk (either using electronics or a manual handle; mine is the latter);
- a height-adjustable screen desk (again, you can adjust this with electronics or a manual handle on a gas spring; mine has a handle). You can get these at different widths to suit your setup; mine seats two monitors nicely;
- a stool to perch back upon as necessary;
- an anti-fatigue mat for your feet.
You don’t need all of these–just one of the adjustable desks and the stool would be a basic setup–but I’m tall. I need my standing desk high. And the anti-fatigue mat is, hands-down, amazing. I bought one with extra ledges and moulds to it for massaging my feet against. I love it.
I also installed a cat tower next to me. The boys love it, too.
If I feel like gaming, I can still use this setup… but I did keep my gaming chair, so I can bring everything down back to sitting if I want as well. Mostly, I do a mix of sitting on the stool, then standing up for a while, then sitting… etc. It’s a good way to do writing sprints, to move around more often than I used to (I’ve been known to spend four hours plus at my desk without getting up), and I like that I can vary how I’m working depending on how I feel.
If you spend a lot of time on computers, I recommend giving a system like this a go. And don’t just listen to me: the scientific evidence is increasing on their health benefits. However, a caveat: many users of sit-stand desks are failing to learn how to use them properly, which can exacerbate muscular pain and/or not cause a happy improvement at all.
If you decide you’d like to try it, please do the research. Think about your own health concerns, talk to your doctor, and don’t take my word for it. Good luck!
How do you write for long periods? Do you have certain tools that help? Do your cats like to play the keyboard swipe game, too? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. 🙂