Sitting at your desk for hours on end culling through photographs or retouching can begin to wreak havoc on your body.
Practicing smart ergonomic techniques can save you from neck pain, back pain, leg pain, as well as wrist pain.
We have previously covered healthy habits for retouchers as it relates to your vision, however this video by David Zhang contains a few great tips that can be immediately put into practice to keep you comfortable while you’re burning the midnight oil.
1.) Don’t Sit up Perfectly Straight
While the idea of good posture tends to require sitting straight up, this often puts unnecessary pressure on your spine with the effort to hold yourself up. Instead, recline your chair slightly, so that you can use the back of the chair to support some of your body’s weight.
2.) Don’t Adjust Your Chair Height for Your Legs & Feet
Typically, the first thing that we do when getting a new chair, is to adjust the height so that our feet are planted flat on the floor. The problem, as is pointed out in the video, is that this typically works against the position of your keyboard, mouse, or tablet. Instead, adjust your height for those peripherals, and place a foot rest beneath you if your feet happen to be dangling.
3.) Don’t Use a Desk With Built-In Drawers
Following the last step, you will quickly realize that there isn’t a lot of room between the desk and your legs if adjusted properly, which means the addition of a drawer or keyboard tray will likely force you to lower your chair’s height, in turn making it difficult to have your arms and wrists held out appropriately while working. Banging your knees onto the desk is also a likely occurrence, and not a particularly enjoyable one.
4.) Don’t Use Wrist Rests
This one may come as a surprise to many, but the best way to work at your keyboard or tablet is to allow your arms to float over the desk, rather than resting against the edge of it. This is difficult to maintain for a lengthy amount of time, so using a rest that instead allows you to put the weight of your palm against it rather than your wrist, will aid immeasurably in cutting down on wrist discomfort.
5.) Standing at Your Desk Is Not Good for You
While standing desks have become increasingly popular, standing up all day is no better than sitting, as it puts pressure on your feet, ankles, legs, and typically on your back depending on your posture. The best way to handle long stretches at your desk, is to regularly take walking breaks. Resting your eyes and allowing blood to flow with a quick circuit to grab some water will help you to avoid pain from being too sedentary.
It’s important to take care of your body, as repetitive stress injuries are rampant within the retouching industry. Correct the above five mistakes, and we hope this will help you to be more comfortable while you work. However, no advice should replace that of a medical professional, and we urge anyone experiencing prolonged discomfort while retouching to consult with a physician.