A strange thought occurred to me as I was reflecting on the past week and the conversations I’d had. Off the back of an ergonomic blitz across Brisbane I saw some interesting parallels in conversations around relationships.
Ergonomics at your workstation are a pretty good metaphor for relationships. Hear me out…
A good ergo station supports you to be in a good posture. It should literally have your back. Good lumbar support, a good foundation for your feet and seat help minimise poor postural loading whilst you go about your work tasks. A good monitor height and distance allows for an upright mid back and neck, reducing the risk of shoulder, neck and eye strain. No arm rests mean you can access your work station in an unencumbered manner and there is a reduced risk of slouching off to one side or having your traps around your earlobes. Your workstation should support you to do your tasks, feel comfortable whilst completing them, yet prompt you to get up and load change on a regular basis. This last one is kinda up to you though. Remember, the best posture is always the next one. These bodies like some dynamic blood flow on a regular basis.
Now, in my experience, lots of people rock up to their new desk and get to work without taking a moment to adjust it to their specific needs. They end up with aches and physical complaints, which can also make a person down right cranky. Their body will literally slide and manoeuvre into the position that the station is set up for, the path of least resistance. Not great for the long haul and not great for daily productivity. It usually ends with a headache, back pain and perhaps some lingering shoulder pain to boot.
Now, lets apply this to relationships.
There is a certain level of accomodation that takes place in a relationship, depending on the dynamic. Let’s strip it back to the ergonomic basics. Is there a good foundation? Do you feel supported or are your feet hanging from the seat pan with the edge of the chair digging into your hamstrings causing on going discomfort? Is there inadequate support from the other person because they are the wrong fit or is a simple seat pan adjustment and foot rest required (read ‘conversation’) and all will be well? Are there pesky ‘arm rests’ (read ‘poor habits’) that lead to behaviours preventing from engaging fully in a meaningful manner that promotes sustainability? Do these poor habits encourage a tendency to favour one side, leading to kinks up and down the relationship kinetic chain and that ultimately result in a headache or shoulder pain (Like for real pain, a physical presentation of emotional stress/discomfort/annoyance)? Are the arm rests built in, meaning they are not easily removed and as such create an ever present barrier? Is it a matter or lowering them and moving on, or will they forever be hitting the desk and making themselves known?
How’s the perspective? The monitor height and distance suitable for your needs? Is there associated glare that makes it hard to distinguish between what’s happening and what you think is happening? Are you working with a 50:50 split, or are you more a 70:30 kind of focus? Are you having to lower your sights to match what’s happening or are you straining upwards to see things clearly? Imagine if you could set it up so the vision was clear and work in a productive and conducive manner. Oh the joy!
Lastly, who’s responsibility is it to address things that are causing discomfort and pain? Even if you are in the most perfect of set ups, eventually you will have to move now and again to get some fresh blood and oxygen to those muscles. Too much sitting in the one spot isn’t great for our physical selves. That part is on you. Get up, move around, do something that brings you joy. It’ll make you happier when you return to your workstation and far more productive. Same thing in relationships. Take note when it’s time to be accountable for how you feel and adjust your behaviours appropriately. At the end of the day, you only experience your perspective – you’re in charge of the refresh rate of your attitude and approach.
I like to make it the best one possible.
If you’re in a workstation that doesn’t fit you, it takes communication and understanding to make a change. Some tweaks, workstation adjustments and education on how to best interact with your set up will create an alignment that you will be happy to return to and cease avoiding. It’s up to you to ‘load change as required’ for perspective and this can provide empowerment when feeling dissatisfied and cranky. It’s interesting to me how many people adjust their bodies and their emotions to fit what is around them, only to realise that it’s causing them anguish in the long term. I’m all about pro-activity and seeking out a great fit. Ergonomics is about feeling good and supported at your workstation, isn’t that a great approach to relationships of all kinds also?
Rest easy, work well.