I’m a bit obsessed with Katie Bowman of late. I think David is probably sick of hearing me say ‘Katie Bowman says…’. But one really interesting thing that I heard Katie Bowman say (which she actually said quite a while ago as I heard it listening to one of her earliest podcasts called ‘Casts’) was that there are plenty of cultural casts that encourage us not to move or tell us not to move.
Since my return to work, I can see this so clearly. As David and I have discussed a lot, constraining office clothes are a big part of movement difficulties in the office environment.
But it’s not just that. Even if your work clothes are flexible enough to allow you to get down on the floor, would you? I thought I would until I actually got back. It’s a fairly formal, restrained vibe at my work. (Generally) everyone is quietly (and meekly) sitting behind their desks, unless they are sedately walking to the bathroom or to get a glass of water. I don’t see anyone even stretching let alone squatting on the ground or hanging from the door frames. And as far as I know it’s a big deal to apply for a standing desk, though I’m strongly considering doing so.
It was the same with cutting the legs of our table, it was what people might think, how people might respond, that prevented us from doing it for so long. So at the moment, I’m trying the following baby (socially acceptable) steps for moving frequently during my work days:
- walking (of course!) to/from the train station;
- wearing flat shoes and my stretchiest work clothes;
- standing up on the train (and using the bars on the roof to hang if I can do so subtlety);
- having a water glass instead of jug and frequently refilling it;
- having eye breaks looking out of the window and focusing on things in the far distance;
- standing when I’m on the phone;
- standing, stretching, pacing when I’m reading a document;
- walking 10 mins there and back to get the almond milk I like instead of getting coffee downstairs;
- walking at lunchtime, preferably with some (again socially acceptable) bare skin to get some sunshine out in nature (there’s a nice big park nearby with lovely trees);
- using the wall to stretch my arms, shoulders etc and stretch my arms and wrists frequently when at the computer;
- walk to communicate with my colleagues instead of emailing/phoning;
- doing a supported squat in the lift when alone (and squatting to pick things up if I can do it and maintain my dignity (!));
- using stairs instead of escalators/elevators when I can; and
- of course, getting as much movement and outside time as possible on non-workdays.