Monday, July 18, 2011

Looking after our crafty selves!

I recently had a reminder from the lovely Pip Lincolne from Meet Me At Mikes of how important it is to look after yourself while still enjoying your craft, and I thought it might make for an interesting read. While we all know what ergonomics are {the science of fitting a task to suit the individual while improving a person's comfort, health, and productivity} we probably don't often associate it with crafting.

 If you think about it though, as stitchers, quilters, knitters or crafters in general, we may be particularly susceptible to eye strain or damage, repetitive motion conditions like tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome or migraine. I don't know how many times I've had a sore neck or shoulders {or even a numb bottom} from sitting too long at the sewing machine, or hunched over a stitchery in bad light!

Here are a few tips I've found around and about the web to help prevent or alleviate these symptoms related to these kinds of activities, most of which are pretty much plain common sense:
  • Make sure you're comfortable. Get a chair with a seat height that is right for you and that provides comfort and support to your body. Your feet and the floor should be at a 90-degree angle. If you can’t adjust your chair, use a footrest. Anything can be used as a footrest, even a stack of old magazines or old box {I had a friend that used to use old stock image books - which are sort of like big coffee table books}. A chair that does not provide good posture can lead to back pain. If the chair that is too high can cause loss of circulation in legs and feet. The small of your back should press against the chair back. If it doesn’t, use a pillow or rolled up towel.
  • Sit up straight. Do not slouch or hunch over. Try some neck or back stretches to relieve those crampy or tired muscles. Most of these can be done while still sitting in your chair.
  • Use task lighting that is close to your work versus general overhead lighting. Try to avoid lighting that creates a glare.
  • Make sure the area you're working in is at a comfortable temperature.
  • Try to avoid hand and wrist strain. If your hands or wrists hurt, do wrist and hand exercises {like these} to relax and relieve the stress and strain.
  • Avoid unnecessary reaching or stretching to reach supplies by assembling all your supplies in front of you on a desk or work surface.
  • Take a break after long stretches of crafting. Get up and go for a walk or go and make yourself a cup of tea/coffee/water.
  • Remember to stay hydrated!

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