How to prevent yourself from getting injured while working from home.

Before I start, I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to our hard-working healthcare practitioners including nurses, doctors, and all teams involved in fighting the COVID-19. Through social media I learned about retired doctors returning to help with the current condition—it gave me massive chills down to my spine. Also, I’d like to remind you to stay at home; Participate in the social distancing and flatten the curve. I mean, come on. An 86 year old doctor returning to work just to fight this virus and y’all think having a picnic at the park is fun? Top that heroism against your ignorance.

We are in this catch-22 for a while now. The only way to survive is to stay at home. Entering the third week, it is a long time to finally realise that I’m a lousy cook. I woke up every day thinking about epic meal plan from breakfast to supper. Mind you, since the quarantine I eat seven times a day. Breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon snack, coffee time, dinner, and supper—-some nights I’d add before bed dark beer gulp. That’s a massive change! Being isolated means I have to make new day plans for a better living. I surfed the web for methods and rules–one of plenty is the 21/90 rule. It is to dedicate yourself to the personal goal for 21 days, and once it is accomplished you continue for 90 days. For example, I started to devote myself in-home cooking, no takeaways, no Gofood, nada. It started slow on the first week, I chopped a nail or two, broke a glass, and used the wrong salt (yes, people—sea salt is better). I must say, now entering the third week, I made chicken tandoori from scratch, clamshell linguine, and Pad Thai. Will I continue to do this for 90 days? Yes! It saves bucks, and it’s healthier than eating out.

I still come to work, it’s surely something that I am grateful for. Even though the paranoia is real, we keep the protocol on top gear. Patients came in with various cases yet similar. All derived from strenuous work from home. How come it’s a comfortable setting—lemme stop right there. The term comfortable is ambiguous in this matter. Sitting on the floor for 45 minutes, with 10 different poses is not comfortable. How about sitting comfortably on your working desk and moving to the dining room, and then the living room, and finally back to the floor? Nope. I met a patient with severe back pain since week one of WFH after working 3-4 hours straight on the floor. She started on sitting with her laptop, then on her belly, then legs crossed, and the last one (my personal favourite) laptop on the sofa she’s on the floor. On top of that, WFH finally made her play with her energetic 4-year-old child. She strained her back to carry him. Snap. She could barely walk.

From her story, I tried to map out her environment and routine. Before the pandemic hits, she had been working 10 hours a day on the same desk at the office, working out 3 times a week, high immobility day in day out, and now it shifts. I bet she was not prepared, well none of us are! You see, after the treatment, I told her to adjust her Work From Home set properly. Choose one spot that is the most comfortable—and do not change. Set out a time to be with your loved ones—every 2 hours for 30 minutes, count it as a break. Be mobile as much as possible, now is the time for us to create a new habit. I kept my mantra: for every 50 minutes of work, I do 10 minutes of stretching. It is crucial to be out of the static pose. It’s formidable!

Now with the online physio up and running, It is also a challenge for us physios in PhysioActive to maintain our posture. I personally dislike the idea of sitting for 45 minutes—-but hey, challenge accepted! For every 45 minutes of consultation, I do a good 5 minutes stretch and a massive gulp of water (that’s a whole lot of explaining!). So far so good, but my voice kept cracking after the second patient which was funny. I said alternative lunges with a falsetto, Marvin Gaye would be proud. Anyway, after it was announced that we were about to do online physio, my mind boggled on how bizarre the idea was. Of all honesty, I think this is the future and I’m up for it.

Before I sign off, I’m gonna put a quote that I keep as my totem in this difficult time. Stay safe, stay at home, you are all amazing, stay strong!

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”
Deepak Chopra

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