Let’s talk about your hands. Through the pandemic, many of us who were lucky enough to continue working from home experienced unfortunate effects of a remote life: blurred hours and boundaries, a more sedentary lifestyle, 24/7 office mates, etc. The mental health impact—depression, burnout, anxiety—is well documented, but there’s also the physical toll 40+ hours behind a desk can take. And even as we move back into hybrid or fully in-office workplaces, it’s unclear if those weeks of tense shoulder, tapping away at keyboards, and pushing mice across our desks for hours at a time will change.
We know repetitive motion injuries, like carpal tunnel or tennis elbow, aren’t knowledge worker exclusive. But if you are behind a desk and want to be strategic in your office return, there are a few gadgets we’ve found to be helpful for preventing end-of-the-week aches and pains.
Here are some of our tried-and-true favorites.
Sagely Naturals extra strength relief cream
In 2015, founders Kerrigan Behrens and Kaley Nichol created a more accessible to brand of CBD topicals with their brand Sagely Naturals’s clean, organic ingredients and spa-like branding. While their current product line expands beyond CBD—a non-CBD collection for Target released last year—the real gems of their lineup feature high levels of cooling, minty menthol. And when paired with 750mg of CBD (5x their original), I’ve found the Extra Strength Relief & Recovery Cream is a magical, icy, soothing tonic that sinks into the skin quickly and provides near-immediate relief. I like to lather it into my wrists and hands and then at my temples and behind my neck. Just don’t touch your eyes!
Therabody Wave Solo
I bought my partner a Therabody Wave Solo this past holiday season, but find myself stealing it quite often. The tiny rubber orb—which is about the size of a candle-pin bowling ball—is designed for pinpoint muscle relaxation (think: right in your hamstring or between the curve of your shoulder and pec). But there’s something quite satisfying about gripping it between your hands like you’re waiting for the Golden Snitch to open up. The three levels of shockingly powerful vibrations help stimulate blood flow to stiff and painful hands, and feel amazing when rolled on a desk beneath your forearm. (Dare I say it? It’s even better than the Wave Duo.)
Lyric released their stylish massage gun late last year, offering a different take within the category: a powerful percussive massage that uses rhythm, reflexing between intensity levels, to soothe and loosen painful muscles. The device also features a small color touchscreen that walks users through different techniques, showing where the press the device and how to move it across the skin.
Microsoft Sculpt ergonomic keyboard and keypad
Ergonomic keyboards are a fairly inexpensive, passive way to keep your wrists in-line (or in proper alignment) throughout the entire day. Microsoft’s Sculpt Keyboard is curved and split down the keys through the center, so your hands and forearms sit at a more natural, relaxed angle while typing.
Grovemade leather and wood keyboard wrist rest
I am a big fan of the cozy desk/cozy gamer community on TikTok. Surrounding my desk with hunks of citrine and meticulously sourced ceramics is basically my personality, so Govemade’s beautiful desk accessories are the perfect offset my aggressively rainbow mechanical keyboard. Their Portland-made, design-forward stands, leather-topped wrist rests, and merino wool desk mats are a go-to option for soothing, comfortable cushion and elevation that looks great and actually makes a difference.
Anker 2.4G wireless vertical ergonomic optical mouse
I thought vertical mice looked silly, but the impact they make over time is pretty undeniable, at least in my experience. I recently traded my beloved Anker for a cute, pebble-shaped, pink mouse, which I love, but my shoulder does not. After just one week of pebble mouse and I can tell a significant difference. A vertical mouse keeps your wrist at a more natural angle as you’re clicking around all day. Yes, the repetitive motion exists, but there’s less pressure on your wrist while doing so.
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