Don’t be afraid to make a change

Nothing brings you back to reality than Monday traffic and your first day back at work or school. The holidays are done and dusted.

I’m actually OK with going back to work. The cynical among you might think that’s because in less than three weeks until I’m off to Florida and then Dallas with Ben. You would be right. But remember, I then have a long year ahead of me!

Just before Christmas, when very few people were working, I experimented with my desk at work by putting an Amazon box underneath my laptop to give me a standing desk. When I work from home this is standard practice for me. Sitting down all day long is not healthy, even if you’re active (here’s a depressing read on The Guardian if you want to read more).

DIY standing deskI wear a Vivofit to monitor my steps and always ensure I’m over 10,000 a day – usually 12,000 is my average. I give Alfie a 30-40 minute walk in the morning sacrificing a bit of sleep time for some peaceful morning walking listening to a podcast or just music. It’s very refreshing and gets me ready for the day, not to mention by the time I get to work I’m on 5,000 steps already. I try to walk a lot during work (lots of drinks and subsequent loo visits help with that) and make sure I go for a 20 minute walk at lunch time. But I still sit from 8am commuting an hour, then 9am until 5pm working, then another hour commute home. Then watching TV or chilling on the sofa at home. That’s over 10 hours of sitting every week day. You can’t deny how unhealthy that sounds.

IMG_8902So I made a change. I made myself a standing desk in the office. There were few people in the office at the time and it was only one day before we went off for Christmas. But I vowed to myself to continue when I got back. On Monday the office was full, I set myself up and started work. I won’t lie, I felt extremely embarrassed stood there with my make-shift desk with everyone else sat down around me. People obviously started to notice. When they asked me what I was doing I explained my reasoning. And you know what? They got it. OK they’re not all creating their own standing desks but they understand why I want to do it and no one thought I was stupid or laughed at me (actually they know what I’m like so it probably came as no surprise).

I now stand at my desk from 9am until lunch when I go out for a walk, then I sit down for an hour to eat (which is so lovely by the way – it’s nice to appreciate being sat down!) and then stand again until 5pm. Originally I was aiming for 4pm but it’s actually not too tough. I take little ‘breathing’ breaks every now and again where I sit down, have a look at my phone then stand up again. The hardest part is not letting myself slouch when I stand.

The benefits? I feel more alert at work. More focused. My posture is so much better. My legs feel loose rather than stiff. In fact my whole body feels better. I enjoy my commute more 😉

My point is, my health is number one priority to me. Work takes up a very large part of my life and I’m conscious that just because I’m at work it doesn’t mean I can’t also look after my health too. Who knows if this is why I’m always injured? This is something I’m doing for me regardless of what people might think. I’m lucky my work is quite casual in this respect as I can understand in certain offices this might not be allowed. But as I can, why shouldn’t I?

Have you ever made a change to your life for health reasons? OK this isn’t a huge change in the great scheme of things but it does improve my health in the long term!

Do you sit a lot during the day? At the weekend I’m always on my feet but in the week it’s so different (or at least it used to be).

26 Replies to “Don’t be afraid to make a change”

  1. Good on you for making your standing desk! I’m so pleased that you went for it, despite worrying about what others might think. I honestly believe it’s going to be really beneficial for you and you’re also setting a fantastic and healthy example to those around you.

    I rarely sit at all. I don’t deserve a gold star for that – it’s simply too painful for me with the state of my back. The only way I got through University and the end of school (sitting wasn’t too bad prior to that since my scoliosis was adolescent-onset) was by essentially being addicted to painkillers. I would take up to triple the maximum dose of Ibuprofen and Codeine every single day, and I actually damaged my kidneys by 2010 as a result. I have days where I can’t sit down at all, and others where I can manage up to 20 minutes. My back is never late in reminding me when I need to get up and walk around!
    Jess recently posted…Does Running Wreck Your Hamstrings?My Profile

  2. This is great! Good on you for having the courage to do it, despite feeling like the odd one out- who knows, maybe other people will follow suit. I wish we could have standing desks at my job- we moved offices to a bigger building just over a year ago and I mentioned it at the time, but apparently they’re too expensive. Maybe I’ll try your trick of using a box! I’d definitely get some weird looks though- although I already do when I go running at lunchtime, it’s not really a “healthy” office! My Jawbone UP reminds me to get up and walk around which is pretty helpful 🙂
    Beki @MissWheezy recently posted…Parkrun Tourism: Wimpole EstateMy Profile

  3. Grrrr! I just wrote a long comment and my browser decided to wipe it when I clicked on the Post Comment button. 🙁 I shall try and recreate it…
    I LOVE that you have created your own standing desk at work. And that everyone around you as accepted it as well. I am very conscious about the amount of time I spend sat down at work and the main reason I got a Vivofit after I read your review was to monitor how much of the day I wasn’t moving. Like you, my weekends are usually pretty active, but it’s the working day that lets me down.
    Luckily, at my new job I can move around a lot more and usually get in 5,000ish steps whilst I’m teaching. The class sizes here are 34 students, but at my last school there were only 2-5 students in most classes so it was harder to move around without it being an issue and whilst not being able to leave students unattended.
    Mary recently posted…Settling inMy Profile

  4. Good for you making a standing desk. My classroom computer is on a cupboard (we are so high tech) so if I am working in my classroom I have to stand, and when I am teaching I don’t sit still much, but Mondays I now have a day out of class so I am pretty much sat at a computer all day, but in the staffroom so different people use the computers all the time. But I have my vivofit on so I have to find reasons to pop over to the other building or my classroom so I am not sat down the entire time.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…teapigs matcha challenge week 1My Profile

  5. In my job I spend about half my day on my feet and half my day sat down in an office, so I think it’s an ok balance. I appreciate the sit downs when I do get them then! I don’t like standing still in one place for too long though, I find that makes my legs get stiff so I have to take little walking breaks. If my job changed though and I was sat down in an office all day I’d definitely think about doing something like this!
    Helen recently posted…Marathon training – week 4. (The first bad week)My Profile

    1. Basically I took a big cardboard box and put it on my desk and put my laptop on top of it. It’s great if the box is big enough so your mouse can sit on it too otherwise that can be awkward. It needs to be big enough so you can stand in a nice posture and not hunch over. Good luck!

    1. Oh sorry about the comment issue – how weird!
      Ah you have a monitor and keyboard…hmmm tricky. Polystyrene might work. I have two boxes – one for my laptop and one for the extra monitor I use. They’re not level but it does the job. good luck with yours – let me know how it works out!

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