Returning to School or back to the Office? Here’s how to Cope:
The month of September every year sees the return to school for Students and Teachers alike. This year, it also signals back to the office for many who have been working from home due to covid restrictions. You might be worried because this return to the office correlates with some new back or neck pain for example.
It’s not that something is wrong, it’s likely just a change in circumstances and routine, and your body is learning to adapt. What’s important is to take control of this, be in charge of your routine and habits.
From a Teachers point of view, I see this every year. I see the same faces every September and always a few new faces. None of these end up being long-term patients, just need a bit of fine-tuning and advice to get themselves into the swing of things for the year. If you have just returned from 2-3 months’ holidays and you’re back to sitting in an overcrowded classroom full of screaming kids or moody teenagers, it is normal for your body to react in what seems like a negative way to you. Stress can play a huge roll in back pain or neck pain in particular. No matter how long you have been doing this, it is always a shock to the system.
Whether you are returning to school or the office, it can simply be the change in your routine that can cause aches and pains in the body. It’s a different environment than you have been in for the past few months and your body is simply reacting to this. The same thing happened to so many people who ended up working from home after many years of being in the office. So whether it’s going to the office or home, the same changes can occur. (Not so much for the Teachers, because the excitement of a few months holidays overrides this…..)
How do you prevent this from affecting you negatively is the question. It’s easy, you take control of your routine. Just because you are not at home as much, doesn’t mean you can’t continue your usual exercise routine. The best thing I bought for my exercise routine is a whiteboard. Write your plan on the board and try to stick to it.
Instead of saying, “I might go for a run if I wake early in the morning” – It never happens. If you genuinely want to run in the morning, write on the whiteboard that you are going to go for a run at 7am and set your alarm.
I often hear the excuse of “I never got my exercises done because I had to do the kids homework, cook dinner and take them hurling training”. You always make sure you get everything done in time for your kids’ training but never for your own. Your run or your online Pilates class, or whatever it might be, is your training. Write it on the whiteboard and make sure you make time for it and you get it done. Your own well-being is no less important than your kid’s.
Plan your lunches, plan your dinners. If you have written on the whiteboard at the start of the week what you plan to eat for lunch and for dinner every day, you will save so much time. The extra time you can dedicate to looking after yourself.
Make sure you get your movement breaks in work is something else we don’t do enough. Again, plan this. Don’t decide you will move or exercise if you have time, make time. Go for a cup of tea at 10 o clock, go to the bathroom at 11, go for a 10-minute walk at lunch. These are simple but effective examples of how you can keep your body active.
If you’re in an office environment, get your colleagues involved and try to have 5 minutes of movement every hour. Similarly in the classroom, it will only benefit the children to do the same.
The most important point to take from this is to be in control of what your routine looks like. Don’t let the job take over. Because if you do, you are the one to suffer physically.
If you need advice on how to take control of your routine and well-being, get in touch. Whether or not you fall into the categories above is irrelevant. The same principles apply to all of us, and we are more than happy to give any advice we can.