Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

Perfect Posture

mantelpieceThursday, 19th April, 2007
I WORKED SO HARD earlier this week, reading and re-reading the final versions of my walks booklet, that I ended up with a pain around the back of my neck/top of my back and an awful headache, but I had to keep going as I’d promised I would deliver the final, printed book by this morning.

I stopped and went for a 45 minute walk, I took pills, I even lay on the bed for 20 minutes in an attempt to let the headache and tension drain away . . . but I did it. Yipee! Freedom!

Chinese teapotThis evening we’re relaxing, going out for a meal with friends. As our friend is a health and safety expert I ask him what I can do to improve my posture.

Top Tips for Perfect Posture

  1. You should be looking down at the screen at an angle of about 5 or 10 degrees. If you stretch your arm out horizontally at shoulder height it should just about touch the top of the screen.

  2. When typing your forearms should be horizontal.

  3. Your chair should be at a height that enables you to have your upper legs horizontal: this means that your lower back gives you support.

Monitoring the Situation

monitorI wear reading glasses so when I get involved in work on-screen, I find myself leaning forward, my spine in a kind of kinked reversed S-shape. Either that or I find myself leaning back in the chair, my shoulders pressed against the back rest, my legs sprawled out!

I must mend my ways and, after 6 or 8 years, I think I’m due for a new monitor. The new flatscreen LCD displays are supposed to be more energy efficient and easier on the eye. It’s got to be worth trying, to see if I can cut down on those headaches. If I could go for a bigger screen I should be able to read it perfectly well, from a little further away, without reading glasses.

But however perfect your posture, however restful the image on the monitor, you should take a 5 minute break from the screen every hour. NOT a 20 minute break every 4 hours, that wouldn’t have the same effect at all!

flowersThe Restless Quest for Perfect Peace

handBarbara, who should know, thinks that I never entirely relax. I give people the impression that I am relaxed, I talk as if I’m a laid-back person but she puts my shaky hands down to my never being able entirely to relax.

For instance, she observes, when I’m eating a meal, I’m doing it as if my life depended on it, as if it was going to be my last meal. It’s my own fault I suppose: I find I can’t stop; I’ve just finished the walks booklet and I’m enjoying the freedom but I’m already getting excited about my next project!

Perhaps this is why so much of my work is concerned with finding some kind of peace – because I somehow fail to find that peace myself.