Some people have been doing it for a while, others have been thrown in headfirst because of the pandemic. Working from home has plenty of potential benefits as well as challenges, and it can take some getting used to. With increasing workloads, stresses and boundaries between home & work blurring, it’s vital to look after yourself mentally and physically. This guest post explores 7 ways to look after your health when working from home. Enjoy!
★ ★ ★
Self-Care Is Crucial To Working From Home
Now that working from home is very much a reality, for the time being, you might agree that it’s not as fun and easy as one might think. Throw in a pandemic, closed schools and gyms, zero social events, increased office workload, and plenty of time with housemates (or alone) – that is a recipe for disaster and poor well-being. That is why self-care is vital for adjusting to the new normal. Here are seven ways to improve your health while working from home:
1. Create A Routine & Stick To It
You must create a structure to your day to work productively from home. In most circumstances, the home-based work days are longer than a typical office-going day. Therefore, for starters, set clear start and finish times for your workday.
Schedule high-priority tasks before taking your first big lunch, i.e., lunch, and ensure you pre-arrange meetings and phone calls and keep a time slot for responding to emails so that your flow doesn’t break, and you can get more accomplished in a limited period.
At the same time, don’t be too rigid and leave some space to accommodate factors beyond your personal control, especially if you live with children or elderly parents where you may be needed to help out with different things potentially at inopportune times.
If you are not a huge fan of creating a detailed routine, even a simple outline of the day can help you manage your workload better, and give you peace of mind.
2. Break Up The Work Day With Movement
It is easy to spend hours in front of the computer without getting up from your chair (or couch). This is not only bad for your eyes but also your shoulders and posture. Therefore, break up the day with a bit of movement.
Do jumping jacks or planks on a rubber surfacing rug, organize your kitchen cabinets, or take a short stroll in your garden (or neighborhood). Pick up any activity that doesn’t take up much time yet breaks the everyday monotony.
Please note this won’t come naturally. Hence, set up multiple alarms throughout the day to push yourself to get up from your place and do some form of physical activity.
3. Stay Connected
Isolation is a reality for people working from home. Lack of physical contact and conversations can take a toll on anyone’s mental and emotional well-being. Therefore, to avoid feeling low and lonely, please do more videoconferencing than phone calls to get the connection you need.
Just looking at the people you work with and hearing their voices can make you feel lighter. Schedule at least one weekly virtual meeting with them and ensure you also use group chats judiciously. This will reduce the barriers of social distancing.
Besides, remember to keep up family and friends via Zoom or FaceTime if a face-to-face meeting is not an option.
4. Control Your Information Intake
While working from home, more time is also spent on digital distractions, including social media, news, and Netflix. This constant consumption of content only elevates anxiety and stress, especially in these unprecedented times.
Sure, it is essential to stay informed, but you don’t need to check the news, Facebook feed, or watch every Netflix program. Consider taming your consumption levels. For instance, go on social media after you are done with your workday, and read the news every evening. Schedule 30 mins to 1 hour for Netflix.
Being disciplined will not only ease your mind but also help you concentrate on what matters – professionally and personally.
5. Practice Deep Breathing
Relax your shoulders and alleviate your stress by doing deep belly breaths every day for a couple of minutes. This involves taking one deep breath and focusing on the exhale.
When your blood is fully oxygenated, it absorbs and carries nutrients and vitamins more efficiently, thus improving your immunity and energy levels.
You can choose to practice deep breathing every morning before or after work hours, or at night time just before you hit the sack.
6. Incorporate A Few Wellness Exercises
While going out for walks, doing high-impact exercises at home, and deep breathing are necessary, throw in a couple of wellness activities to the mix. For example, start each day by practicing gratitude. List things and people for which you are thankful daily. This activity will make you a little happier.
If you are prone to anxiety or depression, look at exercises that have worked for you. Reading helps in calming down the mind. If you live with someone else, a big hug can make you feel comforted. Listening to uplifting music can perk you up when you need a boost. For some, yawning and stretching for 10 seconds every hour does wonders. Find a small wellness exercise that brings you instant results.
7. Prepare Nutritious Meals To Eat Healthily
Work from home has sent our eating habits for a toss. Now whether we are bored, stressed, or only sad, we resort to eating. However, that is not at all healthy. It would be best if you watch your eating habits.
Nutrition helps one stay focused, productive, and energized. Too much oily food, dairy products, and sugar can make you feel bloated, lazy, and sick. Therefore, stock your kitchen with healthy foods and prepare a good meal.
Increase your intake of vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. To prevent overeating and minimize temptation, plan your meals in time. For instance, lemon water is an excellent replacement for sugary drinks.
Similarly, having an orange with a handful of nuts or yogurt and berries is much better than munching on cereal for lunch. If you have a busy household and a more engaged work-life, prepare the meals in advance and refrigerate them, so that you are not tempted to order in or have a carb-heavy snack when hungry. Give yourself enough time to eat comfortably and let your food digest without feeling rushed.
You Can Be Healthy When Working From Home
The exercises, as mentioned above, will help you cope with remote working effectively and efficiently. It is necessary to do more of what makes you physically fit, mentally well, and emotionally stable. Remember: you can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first! A healthy you will perform better not only at work but also home.
[ This is a sponsored guest post & as such the ideas expressed here are that of the author ]
This is terrific! Move, move, move! That’s the key! I get up and walk 5-10 minutes per hour to keep moving and active! It’s an energy boost and clear my mind as well!
All great ideas. In my later years of working I spent a lot of time at my desk. I made sure movements was a large part of the workday.
Have a fabulous day, Caz. Big hug. ♥
I wish I could do planks. I agree routine is the key.
Very good information that I, yes me, can use. I am working in the office and caring for a elderly parent but I can use these ideas to maximise my weekend time. Limit social media, stay focused (no multi tasting) schedule breaks in zoom meetings.( I have them) Eat healthy, but light while working, and I love this one….practice deep breathing. I do that everyday, no matter what. Awesome tips Caz!
Such a nice post.. Was waiting for something like this.. And this blog post just ended my wait!! ????????
Well said and this post is a great reminder especially for these times!
Thanks for that compilation! I had never had any problem with information intake until this spring, when suddenly every media stream – across the spectrum – started talking about corona. Aside from that I think breathing is the one point I should learn most from. It is quite easy to get caught up in work or whatever, and suddenly start breathing shallowly. Thanks for reminding me 🙂
All great ideas, that’s what I actually do, I make sure I excercise and pay attention to what I eat, I also limit social media. Great post Caz xoxo
Excellent, helpful tips!
Love these tips! It really can be the simple things that add up. Working from home is ‘risky business.’ Not only is it easier to be distracted by the need to dos, want to dos, and the I’ll do it laters, but just a lack of motivation in general. We can be too comfortable. It’s true, having at least some resemblance of a structured routine helps. I like to give myself room to change plans if need be, but still have a general idea ahead of time regarding what I’d like to accomplish that day. It does help!
Moving around is a BIG one. Poor posture happens when sitting at our computers without us being aware of. Oooh but when the pain from that poor posture gets our attention – ouch! It’s also very hard to correct misalignment from months, or years, of not taking care of our bodies. It’s also critical for our hearts and circulation to not be so sedentary. It’s amazing how many health conditions can be lessened or prevented by simply adding more activity.
Diet is another major one. After far too many rounds with Candida, I try to be very careful about this one! It’s true, if we keep mostly unhealthy snacks around – we’ll probably eat ’em! 🙂 Having healthy things prepared ahead of time has been one of the keys to my consistency, just as your post says. When you’re looking for quick, as we often do, it’s nice when you get a health boost too!
Another incredible post, Caz! You always share the best information – whether it’s a guest post or one you’ve written entirely yourself. Thanks for all you do to inspire and encourage! ♥
Thanks for sharing some great tips Caz! So many people are working from home these days, and doing things to stay healthy is so important. It’s easy to forget to separate work time from family time when you’re working from home, so having a “start” and “end” time to the workday is vital. Incorporating movement and making sure what we’re eating throughout the day can make a huge difference in our ability to stay healthy in this ‘new normal.’
These are great tips! My master’s program is mainly online & I definitely agree with having a schedule & limiting online distractions! I also watch Netflix during my lunch break lol
I’ve been working from home for years and I do some of these things. I definitely have a routine and stick to it (just ask my wife …), including, among other things, getting up at the same time every day, and dressing in “work” clothes (button-down shirts) during the week and “street” clothes (shorts, polo shirts) only on the weekends. I used to have an app to remind me to stand up from time to time and now I have my watch to do it, and I exercise every morning before work, especially important now that we’re not going anywhere, like, ever. I’m pretty good about keeping off the Internet during work hours and there are usually leftovers from weekend cooking for meals, and I never snack. But as for deep breathing … Well, I tried it a few times because my watch told me to, and let’s just say I got bored with it really, really fast!
I feel all seven of these points in a different way even though I’m physically back to work (but have had to teach from home six of the twenty days we’ve been back).
My job used to be so physical, and now I have to be sedentary. I hate it. My back, already a disaster, is even more of a disaster because of it. My legs are even rebelling from all of the sitting. The teaching profession is completely different under COVID.
I do have to say that my mental health has been better since going back into work. It’s so refreshing to interact with people face to face—who I’m not related to—even if masks obscure half their faces. (Although so totally disconcerting at the same time.)
These are all excellent tips! I have tried to incorporate them into my daily routine while working from home. It is so important to keep some kind of schedule to help us stay physically and mentally healthy during this time. It’s a stressful world right now, and having things to look forward to (an evening walk, trying a new recipe) have helped keep me sane.
I should follow this to the letter – been struggling for the last few weeks. Diet is fine but need more exercise. K x