The Importance of Being Comfortable

A recent bout with tendonitis has reminded me, forcefully, yet again, how important it is to adopt a comfortable and sustainable position when beading, lampworking or indulging in any craft that absorbs you so completely that you forget about your physical self and get lost in your world of creativity.

Last Sunday week, I suddenly noticed stabbing pains in one hand – not the ordinary sort of pain that one gets used to – but the “omigawd did I break something in there?” sort of pain. The kind that makes you involuntaryily drop things that you really didn’t want to drop. Like cups of coffee and open bags of beads. You know, important things.

So, on Monday – I hied myself off to see a medical professional – some poking and squeezing and the question: “have you been doing anything with, say, pliers?, lately.”

“Er – as a matter of fact – I just spent two days demo’ing at the Creativ Festival.”

“Aha – that’ll do it.”

So there you go – working out of my regular environment – table at an odd height – working longer than usual for a stretch – and bingo – here I am. A week later, it’s doing much better, thank you – but I am reminded that you really have to watch these things – especially as we who are better matured don’t seem to bounce back as fast as we did in former years.

Things to remember when working:

  • get comfortable, get comfortable, get comfortable – try different heights, different positions, etc. Jewellers work at a bench with the table almost at shoulder height, so that they can put their arms on it and be supported. Try putting bricks under the table legs and/or lowering the chair – see if that makes a difference.
  • keep trying different things until you get it right. If beading standing at the kitchen sink is comfy – do it. If beading at an ergonomically designed workstation is not – change it until it is. Keep at it until you get it right. It’s worth it.
  • every one says it – remember to stretch. I find that the demands of life tend to keep us moving. Letting the dogs out, cleaning up after the cat, feeding the husband. It’s so rare and so nice to find a few hours that you don’t have to get up and attend to other tasks – it’s tempting to not move. But do try and lean back and stretch in the other direction every once in a while. I can remember a time when you would have to get up to change the record – ha! Like that has any meaning now!
  • resist the temptation to tense up: sitting on ankles, weird positions, etc. If someone has commented that you look uncomfortable – in the long run, you might be. Relax!
  • avoidance behaviour tells you a lot – if you think – “I’ll just go clean the bathroom before I sit down to bead” – your subconscious might be telling you to avoid a painful situation. If you just can’t get to your beading – it might be life, but it might be your position. Your subconscious is very powerful, and really hates pain.
  • listen to the warning signals. Don’t wait until you hurt. Tingling, numbness, stiffness, neck and back aches, headaches, heartburn, hiccups, fantasies about shoulder rubs – can all tell you that you are in an unsustainable postition. Fix it before you get crippled.

Wishing you happy and comfortable beading!

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