Volume 4, Issue 2, (Originally Published on Monday 5th August 2013)
Being a JD student is dangerous.
I spent so much time stooped over a desk last semester that I required extensive physiotherapy to my neck and shoulders over the break.
Likewise, I dropped all 2915 pages of the Australian Corporations legislation on my foot last week, and it hurt about as much as paying for it did.
It makes sense that if we’ve been sitting down concentrating on a task for a long period of time, our necks, our backs, our heads and our eyeballs are going to start aching something stupid.
Maybe your lecturer forgot the golden one-hour break rule, and now you can’t feel your butt.
Maybe it’s two days before the exam and you monumentally fucked up somewhere between Week 1–12 with the whole “consolidating your lecture notes” thing.
Whatever the situation, we’ve got some easy stretches that you can do from the comfort of those weird ergonometric chairs.
Try these every hour for the best outcome.
The Side-to-Side / “The Dissenter” or “The Kirby”
Look left. Look right. Look left. Look right. Look left. Look right. You look a bit silly, but your neck is starting to feel better, isn’t it?
The Chin Tuck
Dip your chin as far down to your chest as you can and hold for 20 seconds, or however long the nap lasts.
Shoulder Rolls / End of Semester Indifference
Lift and roll your shoulders in a backwards motion, ensuring you release some of that tension held between the shoulder blades. Do the same rolling forward.
Back and Shoulder Stretch / The Mature Age Student Warm-Up
Loop fingers together and lift arms above the head, as if eager to contribute in class. Hands right up, so everybody knows.
Chest Stretch / The Exam Finisher
Holding your elbows at a 90-degree angle, push your chest out, as if ready to chest bump the life out of everyone in your immediate vicinity.
Yes, your eyes need a break as well. But since you’re tired, the best you can do at this point is offer them a visual rest from the document you’re working on. Close the lid of your laptop for a few minutes and stare out the window at some of the ridiculously lovely views we have from this building.
These are actually pretty important given the heightened risk of DVT if you sit for long periods of time.
Ensuring there’s no one sitting immediately in front of you, lift your legs up underneath the desk until they’re parallel with the floor.
Point your toes forward and hold for as long as you can.
Do a few rotations of the ankle while you’re at it. If you can manage to not look too silly doing it, quietly march your legs up and down underneath the desk, just to get blood flowing.
Even better is actually enforcing the ‘pens down’ rule, getting up and walking out of the study area.
Ask a friend to keep an eye on your stuff while you have a 5-minute break. Take the stairs and head down to grab some coffee, and then bounce triumphantly back upstairs again.
’Cos you’re awesome, people bounce.