The other day, I was in my garden picking tomatoes when something arrested my foot, a glimmer of unaccustomed yellow in the mulch. Just beneath the sole of my foot sat a turtle, frozen, trying to appear invisible next to a fallen tomato with a tell tale bite. “Hmmm. How long have you been sitting there?” I asked him. He just sat there, staring at his tomato prize, so close, yet so far. As I bent down, He pulled his head back into his shell. I continued on my harvesting journey. He was still frozen when I left the garden. I marveled that I had avoided crushing him.
People are always showing up in my office in various degrees of “turtle freeze”. Head jutting forward, or squashed into the shoulders, which are held up to the ears. They can’t turn, their arms hurt, the jaw is often frozen or they have a humongous headache. My first question is usually, “How long have you been sitting at your computer?” The answer is always something like, “I know I should get up.” Or “I have a little alarm that goes off, but I just shut it off.” Or “The time goes by so fast.”
To avoid turtle freeze, take a short movement break. Here’s one of my favorites:
Sit forward on the edge of your chair. Slowly, like in a slow motion film, turn to look behind you to the right. Try that three or four times. As you turn, notice your breath. Notice what turns with you. Notice if anything hurts. If it does, can you give yourself permission to turn less? Pause a moment and close your eyes. Notice your shoulders, your feet. Now, place your left palm on your forehead, fingers pointing toward your scalp, in an “I could have had a V8!” position. Slowly turn to the right three or four times again. Keep it easy. Pause, put your hand down. Now without the help of your hand, turn to the right. How does that feel?
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