Last week, I threw out my back and hip. Those of you who follow me on twitter might have heard me complaining about it. I try to complain as little as possible about this kind of thing normally, but… wow! It hurt.
Now, this wasn’t a sewing related injury. In fact, I’m not 100% sure what caused it, but I’m guessing it had to do with walking about 10 miles in ballet flats on concrete over the course of the weekend. Dumb thing to do, right?
I’m a pretty health conscious gal overall, but when it comes to the everyday things that can rack up pain, I’m hopeless. My chair posture is terrible, I sit for very long periods while working, and somehow I’ve gotten much worse at staying hydrated. Oh, and I wear unsupportive shoes.
So I’ve been researching and working on ways to keep healthy here in the sewing studio. Here are some ideas I’ve come up with:
- Yoga breaks! I bought Yoga mats for us here, and we sometimes take stretch breaks in the afternoons. The key is to lock the door so the UPS guy doesn’t walk in on us doing Downward Facing Dog in our sundresses. By the way, if you are looking for some short and free yoga instruction, we’ve been using YogaDownload.com. They have a TON of free 20 minute audio classes that are just awesome, and they’re also available as a free podcast on iTunes!
- Hydration station. I don’t like to think of myself as a lazy person. But walking alllll the way down the hall to fill up my water bottle has definitely slowed down my water intake. So I recently purchased this lovely new water dispenser and now I drink at least 64oz a day. No excuses!
- Break timer. I am really bad about taking breaks. I get way too immersed in things. So what I do is set a timer for 50 minutes on my computer. When it goes off, I take a 10 minute break, look away from the computer, get some water, and stretch. Then I set it for another 50.
- Ergonomics. Ok, so I’ve been researching this one a little bit. Did you know OSHA even has special instructions just for sewing workrooms? Pretty cool. According to OSHA, when sewing we should sit in a chair with our legs at a 90-100 degree angle. Our elbows should be in near our bodies (so we’re not reaching).
Finally, OSHA recommends that the sewing table should be at elbow height. This one I’m not so sure about. It seems that the work would be too far away from my eyes if this were the case.
- Task rotation. Sometimes it’s faster to assembly line things when sewing. But if you feel stiff, it can help to vary your tasks. Do a little sewing, then pressing, then trim while standing and stretching your legs, etc.
What do you think? Any more healthy sewing tips you can share with us?
Oh, and my back is feeling much much better thanks to some gentle yoga, hot baths, and plenty of rest.