When I have a difficult day, I tell myself that sitting on the couch, scrolling through the DVR will make me feel better, relaxed. Except it never does.
Take last Monday, for example. I was in a bad mood, without having any particular reason why. I made dinner, then proceeded to sit on the couch for the rest of the night, watching Revenge and working on the newsletter for an organization that I volunteer for. Then I used my iPhone to read an ebook, nothing of substance of course.
By the end of the night, I felt sluggish and depressed. I wondered if I had seasonal affective disorder. After all, I only see daylight during my morning commute. My office doesn't have a window, and by the time I leave at 5 p.m., the sun has already set.
But it didn't add up. I did have a loss of interest in activities, but it wasn't constant. And I definitely wasn't sleeping more often or feeling anti-social.
I thought about something that a therapist once told me – exercise can help to fight through depression. I knew the truth of his statement, since walking every day in the summer had caused a turnaround in my moods. But now that winter is here, my motivation to enjoy the outdoors is non-existent.
Last Tuesday, I tried an experiment. After work, I didn't let myself sit down for four hours. I ate dinner standing up. I worked on the computer standing up. I even cleaned the apartment. And I didn't feel sluggish at all. In fact, my energy increased as time went on. I tackled things on my to-do list that I'd been putting off for days. Thanks to my success, I now have a no-sitting policy after work; if I'm home, I'm standing.
According to US News, sitting all day can result in depression, obesity and even cancer. Standing can help to get the body moving again. "If you can perform a behavior while sitting or standing, I would choose standing," said Marc Hamilton, Ph.D. to Science Daily.
DIY Alternatives to Expensive Standing DesksSince most of my leisure time is spent on the computer, elevating my workspace has become instrumental in getting me to stand up. I work at an IKEA table with adjustable legs that are set to their tallest height, and I set my laptop on a stack of books to bring it to eye level.
Other people have used Rubbermaid containers, stools or endtables to raise up their computers. Check out the Huffington Post's slideshow to see their set-ups.
Would you consider elevating your workspace? If you've already done so, what have you used?