1. Invest in an Elevated Computer Stand
If you’re constantly hunching over your laptop, it’s time to invest in an elevated laptop stand (we like this one from Soundance. Dr. Kellen Scantlebury of Fit Club Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Center notes it’s important to keep your eyes focused directly in front of you to avoid bending your neck and scrunching your shoulders too much throughout the day—it can cause long-term back pain and posture problems.
2. Uncross Your Legs
Another helpful tip for keeping your spine straight when you’re sitting: Line up your shoulders directly above your hips. We know—cue the eye rolls—but this means uncrossing your legs and keeping your feet flat on the floor. It’s tough at first but sitting with crossed legs all day can be bad news for your lower body and spine.
3. Take Breaks
This tip comes courtesy of Los Angeles-based chiropractor Dr. Sebastian Kverneland: “My main advice [is to] take breaks from sitting by scheduling standing and walking breaks (or walk when on phone calls), stretch the neck and back daily, sit properly when on your computer and make sure your gaze looks straight ahead (and not down) when looking at your computer or phone.” Even if it’s just a few laps around the block (or even around your house), your posture will thank you—plus it’s a nice little reprieve from emails and work calls.
If you feel yourself starting to sink down into a hunchback, sit up straight and place your left hand on the right side of your head to pull your ear down to your left shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch sides. Dr. Scantlebury recommends repeating this move twice daily to relieve neck and back tension. If you’re looking for more stretches, check out these 12 moves from celebrity yoga guru Kristin McGee, which will relieve stress and strengthen some of the muscles essential to good posture.
5. Consider How You’re Sleeping
This one doesn’t directly relate to work, but it’s super important nonetheless. While sleeping on your stomach is the unhealthiest position and sleeping on your side is moderately OK, sleeping on your back is the way to go for optimal back health and posture. Sleeping in a supine position (on your back), is best for your spine and neck, since you’re maintaining a neutral position and aren’t contorting your body. In a more vain vein, sleeping on your back is also best for preventing wrinkles, since you aren’t smooshing your face into a pillow for eight hours. The only con to back-sleeping is that it could make you more prone to snoring or sleep apnea. If you sleep this way and notice yourself snoring, try propping your head up (but not too much) with a pillow.