We’ve all experienced back pain before while working as a digital nomad. We’re sitting for hours behind our laptops, hunched over, and then when we finally stand up, we’re wondering to ourselves, “Why is my back so sore?” Then, we blame it on getting older, or just sleeping funny the night before. When we go back to work, we return to how we were sitting, with our shoulders rolling forward and our eyes pointing down towards the screen.
And the next day, it happens all over again.
*Cue the back pain that doesn’t seem to disappear*
As a digital nomad, I can honestly say that I’ve worked from almost everywhere you can think of:
- ✅ A cafe
- ✅ A bed
- ✅ A beach
- ✅ …. Even a bathroom 😅
I realized that, regardless of where I’m working, how I’m working is the biggest contributor to how I feel by the end of the day. If I don’t set my workstation up in a way where I feel physically and mentally productive, I’m not going to be productive. And as time goes on, I realize how important it is to set up a workspace that is both comfortable (so I can be productive) AND good for your back health (aka more “ergonomic”)!
Creating an Ergonomic Workspace
So, how does that look like in real life?
Instead of slouching over your laptop and sitting at a table too low for you, try changing it around (as much as you can).
Get a laptop stand
They’re cheap, and make a world of difference! If you can elevate your laptop, you can change your line of sight, helping to reduce back pain after a long day behind the computer. Or, if you don’t want to buy anything, try stacking a few books under your laptop to get it at the correct height.
Here’s the one I use, and it works great! (NOTE: This is NOT an affiliate link. I just really like the product).
Get a keyboard
This one may be obvious; if you’re using a laptop stand, it’s not going to be comfortable to have to reach up to your laptop keys every time you need to type something. The keyboard will save your arms and back – you can thank me later. 😉
I have just a regular logitech, but if I ever need to get a new one, I’ll get this one. Again, no affiliate. Just think it looks cool.
Get an ergonomic mouse
When I tell you, I spent YEARS using a conventional mouse, and had complaints about sore forearms and achy hands, I’m not being dramatic. Using a tiny mouse for sometimes 12 hours a day makes no sense from a health perspective. Getting an ergonomic mouse that works with the natural positioning of your hand helps to prevent those aches and pains. Save yourself the discomfort and get it now!
I absolutely love this one. (And you guessed it – no affiliate link!)
This has nothing to do with products to use at work, but has everything to do with preventing back pains while working. The longer you sit and not move, the more likely it is that you’re going to have back issues from sitting. We were made to move, not to sit behind a desk all day. Take a 5 minute break every so often, and this will help an insane amount to help you feel better after a long day of work.
Pro tip: I use PomoFocus to help remind me to stand up during work hours. I usually get so lost in my work that I don’t realize hours have gone by without me moving. You can change the “work time” vs “break time” in the settings, and change it to whatever works best for you. The important thing is that you try to move more throughout the day!
Why should I use these things?
With these simple tips, you can really change your work environment and help to prevent back pain that is all so common in the digital nomad lifestyle. The best thing about these products is that they’re super portable, so you can use them anywhere you are – at a cafe, on your bed (maybe?), on the beach (if you really want to), but I wouldn’t recommend using them in the bathroom. Just a personal preference.
Let me know what you think!
What do you think about an “ergonomic” setup when working as a digital nomad? Do you think it helps prevent back pain?
Helping to avoid back pain as a digital nomad is super important for your physical health. You know what is also very important? Learning how to avoid burnout as a nomad! Check out my post about it here.