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The Physio’s Guide to Returning to Work After a Break

Returning to work after a break might pose challenges, but with a focus on ergonomic practices, you can make your workday not only productive but also beneficial for your physical well-being. As a physiotherapist, Russell Turbill understands the importance of maintaining good posture, enhancing strength and mobility and staying active, especially as we transition back to the workplace after a break. In this post, Russell will provide you with some key things you can do when returning to work after a break! 

Embracing Ergonomics: Your Key to a Healthy Workday

1. Desk Setup: Your Command Center

  • Position your monitor at eye level to reduce strain on your neck and upper back.
  • Keep your keyboard and mouse close enough to avoid reaching or stretching.
  • Invest in an ergonomic chair that supports the natural curve of your spine.
  • Avoid these 4 common problems with workstation set ups too!

2. Seated Posture: The Foundation of Comfort

  • Sit back in your chair, ensuring your back is supported by the chair’s lumbar curve.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor, knees at a 90-degree angle, with thighs parallel to the ground.
  • Ensure your elbows are at desk height 
  • Stand up and stretch every 30 minutes to prevent stiffness.

3. Tech Timeouts: Protect Your Eyes and Neck

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  • Adjust the brightness of your screen to reduce eye strain. 
  • Don’t be shy about enlarging the font size to reduce eye strain too. 
  • Incorporate neck stretches to release tension.

4. Movement Matters: Stay Active Throughout the Day

  • Integrate short walks or stretches into your routine to combat the sedentary nature of office work.
  • Consider a standing desk to alternate between sitting and standing positions.
  • Engage in regular strength and flexibility exercises to support overall well-being.

5. Hydration and Nutrition: Fuel Your Body Right

  • Stay hydrated to help combat tiredness and fatigue as well as maintain joint health (water assists in the production of synovial fluid, a lubricant found in our joints)!
  • Choose nutrient-dense snacks and meals to support energy levels and cognitive performance. 

6. Mindful Breaks: Unplug and Recharge

  • Take short breaks to rest your eyes and clear your mind.
  • Practice deep breathing exercises to reduce stress and improve focus.
  • Use break times to perform quick stretches for your neck, shoulders, and wrists.

7. Post-Work Recovery: Nurture Your Body

  • Prioritise adequate sleep to support tissue repair and overall well-being. Use these 7 tips from our Clinical Psychologists to get a better nights sleep! 
  • Consider a post-work routine that includes gentle stretching or yoga, like our Pilates Mat Class 
  • Use heat or ice packs for any areas of discomfort to alleviate muscle soreness. 

The Physio’s Final Thoughts

Returning to work after a break can be a positive experience for your overall health and wellbeing. By incorporating these ergonomic practices into your daily routine, you’ll be better equipped to face the challenges of the workday while keeping your body in tip-top shape. Remember, it’s the small adjustments that lead to big improvements, so be consistent in your efforts. Your body will thank you for it, and you’ll find yourself not only excelling at work but also living a more vibrant and active life.

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