Recently, I received the following email from a high school teacher:
I’m really suffering from all this Zoom time. This is NOT what I signed up for when choosing to be a teacher…
I feel that I’m developing an attention deficit disorder and that my back pain is making it impossible for me to continue working and my head is constantly killing. Thoughts…. ?”
We scheduled a virtual consult and she sent me photos taken at the various angles I requested. In all of them her shoulders were noticeably hunched up, possibly explaining her headache. We identified the various ergonomic risks.
Mostly, she was sitting for too long without taking breaks on a chair taken from the kitchen table.
She was too far from her desk and leaning forward.
Her laptop needed a riser.
We even came up with creative solutions including safely hacking the treadmill already in her living room so that she could walk slowly during the long hours she spent on zoom.
I asked her: Why are you so exhausted at 9:30 in the morning?
Her response: I just got off teaching a class on zoom. It’s killing me.
Body awareness led to overall stress awareness
Once this teacher brought more awareness to her own body and working environment and the challenges she was facing as a teacher teaching from home during lockdown, she felt compelled to raise this issue with the broader public.
Less than two weeks later, she posted a long post on Facebook to start a discussion about the demands on teachers to teach from home while taking care of their own children. Others agreed with her that the double demand was affecting their performance in both of these noble tasks.
The discussion went viral.
Next thing you know, this teacher was on national television raising awareness about the challenges faced by teachers expected to teach on zoom while caring for their own with young children at home. What started as stress in her body became a clear sign to her that the time had come to initiate some changes.
The connection between the body and emotional stress works both ways. Stress in the body shows up as emotional stress and emotional stress shows up in the body. We have to learn to notice it so that we can become empowered to do something about it.
Think about where you are carrying stress in your body and what you can do about it. It is essential to your sense of wellbeing.