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Keeping Ergonomics in Mind When Working From Home

Keeping Ergonomics in Mind When Working From Home

With so many students having to work and study from home, we’ve been thinking about our best coping tips for working from home, managing COVID-19 related anxiety and panic and taking care of yourself and your loved ones during this uncertain time. 

Whether you are working from home for the first time or a seasoned pro, we decided that on top of taking care of our mental wellness we can all learn more about how to best take care of physical wellness while working from home.

That’s why I reached out to True Therapy Group founder and Occupational Therapist, Sarah Timleck, for a quick Q & A to share some tips on how to maximize your health when working from home.

Q. I’ll admit it. When I think of working from home I imagine myself working from my warm, cozy bed and I can almost guarantee that I am not alone in these magical thoughts. For those who don’t usually work from home and are considering working from our beds, what pros and cons should we be considering.

A.  As an Occupational Therapist my focus is on educating you on helpful strategies to maintain a healthy posture and seating position to ensure you are taking care of yourself while working. Let’s start with the cons of working from bed:

  • You are sitting in a position without proper alignment of your spine because you do not have adequate support.

  • Your head is positioned in forward flexion which can cause neck, back and shoulder pain.

  • Typically our mattresses are a plush surface which impacts your ability to sit in any alignment from your hips upwards.

  • Working from bed could also increase your level of fatigue.

  • May increase eye strain because your screen may be too close.

  • When working in bed, you will be using a laptop, which is usually not ideal because your screen is too low causing you to look down and your keyboard is no at the proper position. Ideally it is best to have your elbows bent to 90 degrees and palms flat on the surface.

Now that you understand some of the challenges, let’s chat pros of working from bed.

  • You’re cozy! It’s a nice change, feels like a treat! Feels luxurious!

  • If you are going to work from bed use a foldable “breakfast in bed” type table, although not an ideal option, it could provide short term support and positioning. Please take rests breaks every 20 minutes if you choose to do this!


Q. What can I do to set up my space to make it more ergonomic?

A. Great question, especially managing finances during a time of stress. As for strategies to make your space more ergonomic:

  • Know your day, breakdown tasks into percentages like how much time on phone/computer/keyboarding/meetings.

  • Get a wireless headset for long calls to avoid neck strain.

  • Make sure you reduce eye strain by reducing glare, 20/20 rule look 20 ft away every 20 mins.

  • Tight neck and shoulders could mean reaching too far across a desk, improper monitor height.

  • Make sure if you have dual monitors they are of equal height.

  • Use a document holder to avoid repetitive strain.

  • Check your seat height to make sure elbows are bent to 90 degrees and palms flat on the surface of the desk.

  • If your feet dangle, get a footrest.

  • Don’t rest feet on wheels of the chair.

  • Take breaks often to do desk stretches.

  • Keep frequently used items within arm length reach to avoid straining muscles.

  • Make sure your desk chair has adjustability for seat height, tilt, back height, lumbar support. There should be 2” clearance between your calves and the seat cushion.

  • Use a sit stand desk with an anti fatigue mat to change positions while you work, change positions frequently.

  • Keep hydrated through workday.

  • Computer screen should be fingertip length away.

Q. What are the top three things I should keep in mind when it comes to working posture and work-from-home set up?

A. If you only pay attention to three things, keep these three at the top of your list.

  1. Upper extremity alignment: Keep your elbow close to your body and your shoulders in a relaxed neutral position, limit the amount of pressure you put on your wrists.

  2. When talking on the phone we recommend the use of a headset versus talking directly on your cell phone which can cause repetitive neck strain

  3. Take frequent microbreaks to stretch and move and reset your position. Stay hydrated

Q. Is there anything that I should consider that I’m likely not?

A. I think some additional important considerations are:

  • Making sure your screen distance is the proper distance away: to check this extend your arm in front of you and your screen should be just past your fingertips.

  • Creating structure and making a plan to maintain productivity. Know your day, breakdown tasks into percentages like how much time on phone/computer/keyboarding/meetings.

  • Plan your breaks. Consider outdoor breaks for movement, or a change of scenery and fresh air!

Q. If I was going to buy one thing to help me work from home what would you recommend?

A. Being assessed for a proper chair and foot support system, this can make the world of difference for injury prevention and your comfort. Allowing you to get through an entire work day without straining your muscles and impacting your posture which can increase the feeling of fatigue.

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You can reach Sarah Timleck at True Therapy Group, via email at info@truetherapygroup.com or by phone at 905-242-0686.

What Can You Address in a Single Therapy Session?

What Can You Address in a Single Therapy Session?

Life’s challenges don’t always follow your schedule. Now you don’t have to try to squeeze them in.

Many of life’s challenges can be resolved in as little as one timely therapy session. Shift and Maple have partnered to make that as simple as possible to access with our on-demand virtual therapy platform.

Here are 14 common concerns where a single session might be just the boost you need:

  1. Reduce your anxiety before a big date

  2. Sort out hurt feelings after an argument with your partner

  3. Learn how to ask what you need from your boss

  4. Connect with someone when feeling lonely

  5. Find out how to calm down after an anxiety attack

  6. Explore how to uphold boundaries at work

  7. Discover strategies for better sleep

  8. Learn easy strategies to become more present-focused at home with your family

  9. Talk to someone after a recent set-back

  10. Improve your confidence and self-esteem

  11. Gain motivation to start a new project

  12. Calm down after an exceptionally frustrating meeting

  13. Learn a strategy to stop replaying that awkward conversation you had

  14. Talk through a big decision with someone impartial

A single session won’t solve all your problems or minimize every challenge, but it can give you the confidence and motivation to start making a change. And if one session isn’t enough, or if you really click with your therapist and want to dive a little deeper, you always have the option to see them again or even become a regular client.

Find out more and make an appointment here.

The Key to Great Video Therapy

The Key to Great Video Therapy

The benefits of feeling seen and heard in life, and in therapy, have an incredibly positive effect on helping each of us cope through stressful or uncertain times. In fact, when it comes to what makes your therapy sessions the most effective, it’s the therapeutic rapport—feeling heard, seen and understood by your therapist—that predicts success.

The good news? The format of the session doesn’t impact the outcome. That means that while in-person sessions may be on hold for the time being, our video and telephone sessions have just as positive an impact as the times we spend sitting in the same room. The great news? Doing the session from the comfort of your home can increase feelings of being seen.

As therapists, we are used to seeing you and learning all about your loved ones, hobbies and spaces you feel safe in. Although remote therapy may lead you to feel vulnerable initially, it also allows you to deepen that feeling of connectedness with your therapist. How cool is it that you can be right there, comfortable in your quiet space, while your roommates or family do their own thing in another room? I think it’s great. The flip side of that is that your therapist too feels seen. You will see me at my home office, my taste in artwork or my pets wandering around in the room. While we could see these as distractions, we could also reframe that and use these changes as a way to deepen our relationship.

Needless to say, I’ve been reflecting on this idea of feeling seen as the world changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The power of being able to share a moment of vulnerability can also be a powerful therapeutic experience. This can help us feel more safe and secure which is super helpful at a time when many of us feel confused, isolated, or in chaos.

In my work, I find tremendous growth occurs when we are pushed outside of our comfort zones. I’ve been privileged to witness this happening more than ever this week. From clients who have never used a webcam in their life, or those that were anxious to turn on their webcam for fear of me seeing them in their comfy clothes, we’ve moved through the fear together. We’ve broken down barriers to connection, perceptions of what “should” be, and embraced the ‘what is.’ How freeing was it to come away from a session with a sense of lightness for both of us, almost forgetting the anxiety that preceded only 60 minutes prior?

If you are a current client or a brand new client, I encourage you to challenge yourself to show up as you are in our new social formats. By doing so, you may not only feel connected to your world but may hopefully also feel more connected to yourself.

The Emotional Hangover: What Can Happen After Your First Session With a New Therapist

The Emotional Hangover: What Can Happen After Your First Session With a New Therapist

There can be a lot of mixed emotions you may feel leading up to your first session with a new therapist.

Whether this is the first time you’ve ever been to therapy, or you’re seeing a new therapist after a history of working with others, it is not uncommon to feel an “emotional hangover” after their first therapy session.

What is an emotional hangover?

An emotional hangover is any lingering uncomfortable feelings after your first therapy session. They typically appear a few hours after your session and can last into the following day. You may notice a range of emotions, including feeling frustrated, anxious, embarrassed, or irritable. It is not uncommon to replay certain things you said in your first session asking “why did I tell them that?” or conversely, you may be asking “why didn’t I tell them that?”

The emotional hangover can be distracting and possibly a bit uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be highly distressing or overwhelming.

In talking to new clients, I often compare it to the feeling you might have after working out for the first time in a while. Maybe you started exercising with the goal to get stronger or healthier but the next day your muscles are tired and it’s hard to walk up stairs! Similarly, after your first therapy session you may feel an emotional “soreness” but you can also feel proud of yourself for making this choice to take care of yourself.

Why does this happen?

Let’s be honest, it’s somewhat of a unique experience walking into a room and telling a stranger some of your most personal issues. You might have shared things with the therapist you haven’t told many other people yet. And it’s common to talk about things you’ve been struggling with for a while or have a hard time putting into words. That takes bravery, honesty, and vulnerability, in other words, you were doing a lot of emotional heavy lifting.

Does everyone get it?

No, anecdotally, I’d say it happens to roughly about half of the new clients I see after their first session. It’s not a problem if you experience it, it’s also not a problem if you don’t.

What can I do about it?

Most of the time, people find it useful just to be aware of the emotional hangover in the first place. If you are able to anticipate this experience ahead of time, it can help to better understand why you may be feeling a particular way after a session or why you may be acting a certain way (e.g. feeling more irritable while you’re out buying groceries that evening and realizing it may have nothing to do with the cashier that’s annoying you).

If you notice any unusual emotions, try not to get upset with yourself, remind yourself it’s quite common for people to feel this way and it’s not a problem or concern. If you’re able to, try to go easy on yourself that day (as you would with sore muscles after the gym) and if you booked a follow up appointment with that therapist, you can choose to talk to them about it at your next session.

Try to Remember

Therapy can be an incredible experience. It can lead to personal growth, new insight, and improve your behaviours, relationships, and outlook on life. Along the way, there may be times when you challenge yourself or push a bit outside of your comfort zone and as a result, you may feel a bit of an emotional hangover.

But you should never feel unsafe, judged, pressured, or distraught by therapy. If that is the case, consider telling the therapist what you’re experiencing or, if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, talk to someone else in your life for support. It is also worth asking yourself if this therapist is the right fit for you. It can be helpful to call a local distress line where you can talk to someone immediately to cope with how you are feeling.

Recognizing the emotional hangover (or soreness) allows you to normalize what you’re experiencing and take care of yourself in the moment.

Jaylin Bradbury is our Clinical Director, responsible for leading our team of exceptional clinicians at Shift Collab

What is Counselling?

What is Counselling?

Counselling is an interactive process wherein you identify your goals and you work toward them together with the counsellor in a safe, supportive, non-judgmental environment. Anything that you share is confidential—kept between you and the counsellor—with some limitations for safety reasons. 

Talking to a Stranger

The main focus of counselling is YOU. Sometimes people find it odd to discuss their most personal problems with a complete stranger that they know almost nothing about. But that’s where the beauty of counselling lies—as opposed to talking to a friend or family member, a counsellor offers an outside, third-party point of view. Your counsellor won’t change the subject or start talking about themselves instead. They won’t belittle or judge you, and they can help you at whatever pace works best for you. They might be able to offer options both personally and professionally that you may not know existed. Even though your counsellor will not be a “friend,” a close relationship of a different kind is often developed, where trust, acceptance, and support are key components.

The First Session

For your counsellor, the first session is mainly about getting to know you and learning some background information about you. For you, it’s about getting comfortable talking to your counsellor, and it’s about getting to know one another.

What’s Next?

After the first session, you will be asked if you would like to continue counselling, and a second appointment will be booked. It is generally best to stay with the same counsellor because you will have a relationship with them and they will know you, your story, and the plan that you have worked out together.

Types of Counselling

Counselling is often referred to colloquially as “talk therapy,” and while simply talking about problems or issues can indeed be therapeutic in itself, counselling also takes on other forms, such as Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). These are different approaches to counselling that might be used to best help you reach your goals.

  • Solution-Focused Brief Therapy looks at finding solutions to problems and working on imaging other ways to reach your goals. This is typically a shorter-term method of counselling often used in conjunction with other approaches. By helping you identify what you might want to change in your life as well as what you might wish to have happen in the future, SFBT can help you to create a vision of a preferred future for yourself.

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an approach that helps you look at the thoughts behind your emotions, where these thoughts might have come from, and how accurate they might be. Often times, if we don’t analyze and challenge our automatic thoughts, they can take on unhelpful forms that impede on our way of living and get in the way of achieving our goals. Sometimes we may not even be aware of these thoughts, let alone that they could be untrue. CBT can help you identify more helpful ways of thinking that can then change how you are feeling.

Your counsellor may use these or a number of other approaches to help you achieve your goals. Always feel free to ask your counsellor about their approach or ask them any other questions as you go forward with your sessions.

What kind of issues can a counsellor help me with?

Counsellors can help with a wide range of personal concerns, including coping with anxiety and/or stress, doing better in your courses or at work, time management, learning strategies, homesickness and transition to changes, financial problems, feelings of depression or sadness, body image and eating disorders, self-harm or suicidal feelings, coping with loss and grief, relationship and family issues, sexuality concerns, getting control of your drinking or drug use, confidence and self esteem, working effectively in groups and teams, anger/conflict, problem-solving around issues (advocacy), etc.

How To Make The Most Of An On-Demand Therapy Session

How To Make The Most Of An On-Demand Therapy Session

As you may have heard, we’ve partnered with Maple to offer you on-demand video therapy. As if that wasn’t unique enough, we also decided to make all of the sessions are 25 minutes long!

Why? Because we believe that certain challenges can be tackled in as little as 25 minutes.

Here are 14 common issues people can address within 25 minutes:

  1. Reduce your anxiety before a big date
  2. Sort out hurt feelings after an argument with your partner
  3. Learn how to ask what you need from your boss
  4. Connect with someone when feeling lonely on maternity leave
  5. Find out how to calm down after an anxiety attack
  6. Explore how to uphold boundaries at work
  7. Discover strategies for better sleep
  8. Learn easy strategies to become more present-focused at home with your family
  9. Talk to someone after a recent set-back
  10. Improve your confidence and self-esteem
  11. Gain motivation to start a new project
  12. Calm down after an exceptionally frustrating meeting
  13. Learn a strategy to stop replaying that awkward conversation you had
  14. Talk through a big decision with someone impartial

Want to give it a try? Sign-up here today! It takes less than a minute.