Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Workplace Wellness’ Category

By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Stand Up Desks are becoming very popular these days as people realize that sitting all day is not healthy for our backs and bodies. But electric lift desks can be expensive. There are alternative, crank desks, desktop risers, and more. One alternative is the Varidesk.

logo

Varidesk raises quickly!

Varidesk raises quickly!

Varidesk offers a variety of options, A standing desk, a desktop riser for laptops, standing desks for those with multiple monitors and foot pads that help reduce strain on your knees when you stand for long periods. One reason I like the Varidesk is that it is relatively affordable, easy to set  up (most models require no installation!) and most versions can sit on top of your existing desk.

Varidesk ProPlus can sit on top of your regular desk

Varidesk ProPlus can sit on top of your regular desk

For those of you with one monitor, prices for the Varidesk models range from $275-375.  For those with multiple monitors, prices range from $350-$650.

Varidesk Pro 54

Varidesk Pro 54″, a standalone version

Keep in mind, neither sitting all day nor standing all day is great for your back and body. Alternating between sitting, standing, stretching, walking (to restroom or short walks around the office) is optimal for your spine and overall health. I recommend that either program your phone or computer to cue you to change position (take a break sit if standing, stand if sitting) about every 30-45 minutes so that you don’t over tire your muscles and put too much wear and tear on any one body part. If I had my way, we’ve all have access to swimming pools/lakes near our workplaces so we could take short swimming breaks.  But it would have to rain a whole lot more in Chicago for that to happen any time soon!

Varidesk fits most office environments easily

Varidesk fits most office environments easily

In the meantime, if you are considering investing in your own stand up desk, and don’t want to spend thousands of dollars, check out the Varidesk options here.

Note: Neither, I , Sue Shekut, nor Working Well Massage, has any financial interest or relationship with Varidesk.  (Other than I may become a customer.) I simply saw a Varidesk a ta client site and asked them where they bought it. I looked into the product and was impressed! And my clients seem to enjoy using them, which is the best endorsement.

Read Full Post »

By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Recently James Cannon contacted me to offer me a blog about office chairs. I get a lot of inquiries from advertisers to post links to their sites on this blog. I am cautious about sharing other bloggers posts when they mainly seems to be selling something.  James’ site, comfyofficechair.com is not advertising chairs, but is an attempt by James to help fellow office workers sit more comfortably. His blog is clean and easy to read and he does provide pass through links to great deals on office chairs via Amazon. James may or may not earn a few cents for promoting Amazon and chairs on Amazon, but overall his info seems sound and in line with what I know about office chair ergonomics.

James and I agree that even with the most ergonomic office chairs, it is best if you get up frequently and take breaks from sitting.

Who is James Cannon and Why is He Writing About Office Chairs?

James Cannon of Comfyofficechairs.com

James Cannon

According to his blog, James’  story starts with horrendous low-mid back pain. He had an expensive $200 chair that he THOUGHT was good when he purchased it, but it gave him absolutely no support. James educated myself, bought a new chair and immediately sold the old one on Craigslist for $50. He doesn’t want the same to happen to others, so he created his site, comfyofficechairs.com

 

Read Full Post »

By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

People often are at a loss for words when someone they care about has a serious illness, has a miscarriage, or a chronic condition, like fibromyalgia. Well-meaning coworkers may tell a person with a serious illness or loss, “Everything happens for a reason.” This type of comment is not usually helpful to someone with said illness. It implies that there is a reason the person is suffering or that they deserved their illness/pain.

What is helpful then?

Emily McDowell Empathy Cards

Emily McDowell Empathy Cards

Emily McDowell,  a cancer survivor herself, has created empathy cards for people with serious illnesses.  Her cards spell out humorous messages to friends or family with illnesses like cancer. Simply reading the card sayings is a quick What To Say (and Not To Say) primer.

Emily writes about the tendency for people to avoid those with serious illnesses because they don’t know what to say. Unfortunately, this often makes the person with the illness or loss feel even more isolated.Taking the time to think about what may be helpful and then reaching out to your coworker, family member or friend can be a great help to someone with a serious illness.

It may be helpful to put yourself in the other person’s shoes when you think of what you want to say. Think about what you want from friends and coworkers when you are ill. If you are running a fever and having gastrointestinal angst from the flu, do you want someone to say to you, “Everything happens for a reason.” Or, “Have you tried yoga for that?” Probably not. How about if someone tells you, “I’m sorry you are not felling well.  Would you like me to pick up anything for you from the store/take out your trash/cover your projects at work while you are ill?” The latter statements may be more appreciated.

Aside from the empathy cards and offers of help, one of the most helpful things you can do for someone with a serious loss of illness may be the most difficult thing for many people: Just being there. Listening. Caring. Sharing a humorous story about your day. Letting the person be, however they feel without trying to fix them: cranky, low energy, easily fatigued. And lastly, not taking it personally if the person with the illness or loss is too tired to talk or enjoy your company and wants to rest.

Check out Emily’s Empathy Cards here.

What’s Emily’s Story?

Emily McDowell, Greeting Card Great!

Emily McDowell, Empathy Greeting Card Creator and Spot Caller!

Emily McDowell, former advertising art director, writer and creative director, started her greeting card business on a whim in 2013. She put a Valentines Day card on Etsy and from there her work “went viral,” according to her website. Emily tells her own story far better than I, however so check out her story here.

To view and purchase cards from Emily, click here.

Read Full Post »

By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Random Acts of Kindness Week

Random Acts of Kindness Week

This week is officially International  Random Acts of Kindness Week! And to celebrate, one of our corporate social media clients is treating his staff to 20 minute chair massages! We decided to join in on the fun and we will be randomly giving away free chair massage gift certificates in the Chicago area for use in our two Chicago area chair massage stations this week. We think that giving a massage is always a kind thing to do, but giving away a free massage to someone in need is one great way for WWM to do our part and practice what we are preaching!

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation encourages us all to take this week to step out of our normal routines or comfort zones and try a new random act of kindness each day of this celebratory week.

What are random acts of kindness? Spontaneous acts of generosity, sweetness,  or kindness done without regard to getting anything in return beyond the satisfaction of helping others and doing good. Beware, if you decide to participate, because your acts of kindness can be contagious!

How To Get Involved: The RAK Foundation gives great ideas for random acts of kindness and explains three ways you can get involved.

1. DO: an act of kindness. Follow the motto: “do what you can… with what you have… where you
are.” Simply think through your daily routine and find one opportunity for kindness each day.
Maybe it’s complimenting the first three people you talk to or surprising coworkers with treats!
2. POST: your act of kindness on social media using #RAKWeek2015 – Help us flood social media with kindness and reach our goal of 100,000 acts of kindness documented worldwide by Feb 15!
3. SHARE: spread the word and share #RAKWeek2015 with one other person.

How does being kind help the person being kind?

According to the RAK Foundation website: “Scientific studies show that performing acts of kindness actually improve health and life satisfaction. They increase: energy, optimism, self-worth and our sense of belonging and connection in the world. PLUS they decrease anxiety, depression and blood pressure.” At Working Well Massage, we call that stress relief!

For Idea on random acts of kindness you and your family and friends can do at home, at work, or at school, check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website here.
And keep in mind, you don’t have to wait for Random Acts of Kindness to do something nice for other people–and for yourself! You can make it a habit every day…and make yourself a little more energetic, feel a greater sense of belonging and connection to the world and decrease your anxiety, depression and blood pressure!

Read Full Post »

By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Corporate clients ask us how to help their employees incorporate more movement at work. It’s a tricky issue as most office work is done on a computer which requires the user to sit or stand in front of it for hours. Doing any repetitive movement for hours can lead to pain and muscle soreness. The key is to move frequently in different positions. Simply standing up periodically, stretching, going to the restroom or walking around the office lets your muscles take a break from the repetitive movements and stiffness of prolonged sitting.

Photo by Steelcase

Photo by Steelcase

Desks that allow employees to alternate between sitting and standing are helpful. Steelcase has a few options as well as many other vendors.

Here are some other tips on adding more movement into your work day.  Woman’s Health has this article, Easy Ways to Move More At Work.

For the science-minded, here is a promising pilot study from The Journal of Environmental and Public Health about helping employees remember to move more at work. A Pilot Study of Increasing Nonpurposeful Movement Breaks at Work as a Means of Reducing Prolonged Sitting. The study shows that passive prompts tend to be most encouraging to help people remember to move frequently throughout the day. The passive prompts were computer based  timed prompt that reminded staff s get up and perform some kind of “nonpurposeful movement.”  In the study, the software program used gave staff   a choice of 60 office-appropriate activities (i.e., walking, taking the stairs, and retrieving the photocopies). to complete. Employees were able to select the active, and choose the duration and intensity of each activity or nonpurposeful movement.    To read the full study, click here.

Even the government has gotten on the movement bandwagon and created a program to help federal employees move more at work. Click here for info about the Veteran’s Health Administrations Success With Increasing Movement at Work.

If all else falls, employers can provide push scooters for their staff. If the halls are long enough, people can push their way around the office! Roller skates and Roller blades in the office may be going too far though. Unless your office is the Fantasy Factory  at Dyrdek Enterprises.

 

Read Full Post »

By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Today a dear friend, who has a very generous spirit herself, shared a great resource,  The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose.” This  book that explores the science behind the relationship between giving and well-being. The book is timely in this holiday season with emphasis on giving and gifting.

The Paradox of Generosity Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose

The Amazon page describes the book as focusing not only on material giving to others, but on the many forms that giving can take. Authors Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson explore and illuminate the impact that giving has on people.  This book explains the The Paradox of Generosity study and uses data from an extensive survey of 2,000 Americans, over sixty in-depth interviews with people across twelve states, and analyzes  over 1,000 photographs and other visual materials. This study shows a consistent correlation between demonstrating generosity and leading a better life. According to the study, the more generous people are happier, suffer fewer illnesses and injuries, live with a greater sense of purpose, and experience less depression than less giving individuals.

I appreciate that the study did not measure giving solely through monetary means. Anyone can benefit from generosity, even if a person has little material wealth. Giving one’s time and energy, sharing a kind thought or simply giving undivided attention to another versus being preoccupied with one’s self, can be a form of generosity.

Working Well Massage has many corporate clients who make generous donations to charities, schools and communities. We value our client’s privacy and so we do not divulge their names nor their giving records, but we are proud to ally with our corporate partners and we celebrate their generous spirits! We at Working Well Massage also give to organizations and individuals who are near and dear to our hearts such as Climate Cycle, massage research related organizations and to our clients, business partners and staff!  Giving helps us stay healthy as people and as an organization. (Being balanced, selective, and private about our giving allows us to remain in business so we can keep on giving.)

Read an in-depth article about the book by the study authors, Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson, in Fast Company here.

Read a really intriguing article from PBS NEWSHOUR about the alleged stinginess of Americans and the reasons why so many of us having difficulty giving.  In the PBS article, Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson state that: “When it comes to generosity with money, time, skills and relationships, we know that relaxing, letting go, and giving away is not often automatic or easy. This is especially true in American culture, which from all sides constantly pounds home messages of scarcity, discontent, insecurity and acquisition. These messages may serve to grow the consumer economy, but they are often not good for the consumers.”

 

Read Full Post »

By Susan Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Many years ago, I started practicing yoga. Back then, doing yoga at work was seen as “odd” or unusual. Now yoga is so mainstream that apparently working at Huffington Post allows young office workers to balance work and yoga by performing asanas at work. Click this link for a true yoga at work photo series entitled,  “These Photos Prove You Really Can Do Yoga Anywhere.” Check it out!

I am a big believer that seeing is more effective than telling when it comes to body movement. HuffPo, seems to agree. Watch the video, “5 Yoga Poses To Get You Through Your Midday Slump At Work,” to learn how to do some yoga poses at work. The HuffPo Desk Yogi demonstrates Seated Cat Cow, Seated Twist in your chair (Which requires no chair arms or this won’t go well), Mountain Pose (Side stretch), a forward bend with flat back at your desk (L pose), and a standing forward fold (Forward bend). Personally I could do with out the shots of the desk and twigs and flowers in this video, but it is  a quick look at easy poses most anyone can do to improve flexibility and release tension.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: