Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Simple Solution to Winter Blues: Stand Up

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 Desks

Since 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?


  1. This is a very interesting article. I've found the same- when I am more active, I get more energy. So, now that you are standing at work, do you also stand when you get home? So much standing would tire me out. I remember working at a front desk in a hotel, standing the whole time and feeling exhausted at the end of my shift. Let me know your secret.

  2. I stand at home while I work on the computer at home. I haven't been standing during the work day, although when I worked at a drug store in college, I stood all day and found that it was an easy way to stay in shape. Now that I'm sitting at a desk all day, it isn't as easy.

  3. I should be able to understand the concept outlined by this new game onward and I think we can see enough space around us. I am sure this is something we can do about it too.


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