I’m Exploring Options to Improve Comfort at Work and Ease EDS Symptoms
Working at a school involves a lot of time sitting down, which can exacerbate EDS symptoms
As a college counselor and teacher at a local high school, I’m glad I return to work a week earlier than the rest of the staff after summer break. My first week back is still on summer hours, so we work Monday through Thursday. It’s quieter, so it’s a good way to ease back in before the chaos of back-to-school week.
It’s always an adjustment, though, because my routine is altered, and I have to be much more intentional about moving around and not being sedentary or else I’ll become stiff, which isn’t good for my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).
I typically spend my summers moving around most of the day, doing farm work, riding horses, and performing other tasks. I’m usually up early so that I can get some things done before the day’s heat kicks in, and then spend the afternoon trying to avoid doing things inside like vacuuming and laundry. (I’d rather clean a horse stall than my living room any day!) Since I manage many of my EDS symptoms with physical activity, this type of schedule works well for me.
When I head back to work at school, though, I have to spend a lot of time at my computer. It’s great to have breaks when I head from my office to the classroom to teach history, but it’s not nearly as much movement as I’m used to in the summer. I borrowed a friend’s standing desk to try once, but I found that while it helped my legs, it made my bad shoulder flare up. Without an armrest to lean it on, my muscles became exhausted trying to hold my damaged shoulder in its proper place.
I really don’t like how much sitting I have to do, though, so I’m exploring other options. I wonder if a standing desk that’s wider and allows me to rest my arms on it would make a difference. Managing EDS is always a balancing act, and for me, sitting versus standing is constantly an issue. Do too much, and I make myself sore. Do too little, and I make myself sore. Oddly enough, the latter is what’s most likely to cause me problems unless I really overdo it. I’d like to be able to shift between sitting and standing throughout the day depending upon how I feel.
A friend suggested that if I do get a standing desk, I should get a cushioned mat to stand on, so I’m looking at those as well. I likely have arthritic damage to my knees from spending so many years walking incorrectly, and as a result, my knees definitely tend to get sore. Hopefully a shock-absorbing surface might help to keep me more comfortable.
I’m excited to try a new option for work comfort. I’ll keep everyone posted about how it goes!
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