The last year has been difficult for me physically. In August, I tore my right calf muscle playing soccer with my kids. During the long recovery and physiotherapy from that injury, I strained the MCL in my left knee. I was asking too much of my left leg while my right was healing. The recover from this second injury extended into early 2021. As someone who has always been very active, the immobility that came with these injuries was difficult.
These injuries were acute. Right in my face and easy to see. What I didn't realize at the time was that more silent and hidden injuries were also taking hold in my lower back and right shoulder. These were the result of sitting all the time in the work from home (WFH) reality we've been living since last March. They got so bad that I couldn't even sit on the couch with my family to watch a TV show and I couldn't reach behind my head to place my iPhone on the charger on my nightstand.
I had to do something... but I didn't want to go back to physiotherapy. The thought of that felt like treating a symptom vs. identifying and addressing the underlying cause.
So I decided to stop sitting.
When the pandemic arrived in Nova Scotia, Alicia and I setup work spaces using stuff we had. She was setup on her makeup table and I pulled a plastic folding table out of the shed. After a couple of months of that, we purchased the cheapest desks we could find at Ikea and that felt like a big improvement. Alicia was smart and bought an under desk keyboard tray and that, coupled with her chair from work, allowed her to find a position that allowed for ergonomic comfort. I thought my setup was okay... but clearly it was not.
To address my back and shoulder pain, I finally decided to invest in a sit/stand desk. Here was my purchasing criteria:
I started by looking on Amazon and after looking at a variety of models and reading reviews, I actually got redirected to PrimeCables.ca. They had a sale on their ET101 Electric Sit/Stand Desk Frame for $205.99 with free shipping. I immediately scooped that up and received it via Fedex about 3 business days later.
I matched this frame with one of our cheap table tops from Ikea and I was off to the races. The assembly process for the desk frame was relatively straight forward. There was a middle step that felt a bit out of order, so I had to take two steps back so I could continue forward... but all-in-all, I had it together in about an hour.
When I started using the desk, my intent was to go back and forth between meetings. I honestly haven't sat since I started using it. Standing is the way for me right now, especially while my back and shoulder are still recovering. I'm not all the way back, but every day feels better and that progress is being made. Those muscles in my back and shoulder that have been ignored and underused over the last year are firing again and starting to strengthen.
Here's a glimpse at my new desk / work setup.
14/10 would recommend.
The moral of the story is listen to your body. The pandemic will have long-lasting impacts from an overall wellness perspective. It's been rough. The least we can do is try to configure our WFH setups to minimize ergonomic pain. Here's a helpful video from the Wall Street Journal that may give you a tip or two.