Staying Healthy When Working from Home
Did you know, people who work from home report higher levels of happiness than those who have to drive to work every day.
But…working from home means (most of the time) longer hours because we push ourselves to do better or feel we didn’t do enough. As we all know, long hours in front of a computer screen is detrimental to our overall well being.
Staying healthy when working from home is actually more challenging than one would think. So what should we keep in mind in order to ensure we’re looking after our health when working from home?
Avoid the Junk Food Trap
When you get a bit lonely or are facing a deadline working on your project it’s all too easy to reach for your favorite junk food and eat it mindlessly at your desk. I know, I’ve done it more then once…still doing it once in a while :(. And perhaps, once in a while it’s OK but don’t let it become a habit, it sneaks up on you so be aware. We don’t want you to get mad at the bathroom scale :). Health is always number one, unfortunately we tend to forget that at times.
Treat your home office as you would at work use it for working and your kitchen for eating. My home office is upstairs and if I want a snack I come down to the kitchen. This also gives me an opportunity to move my body. Cooking meals once a week saves time and ensures you are eating healthy home cooked meals Well, that is if you actually cook healthy 🙂 but I assume you do. Most people who take the time to cook also take the time to cook healthy. If possible, don’t even buy junk food or buy or keep minimal amount of junk food in the house.
Have a Set Schedule
It sure helps to have a set time to eat, take breaks and exercise. If you’re anything like me, you can find yourself getting lost in your work for hours and that is not good for your health. Our body suffers when we just sit in one place. Pry yourself away from your desk and stick to your schedule. You will be more productive.
If you keep on working without proper breaks you’ll burn out sooner or later, not to mention you will not be an enjoyable company to your family. I’ve been there done that….It could even bit you the next day. When we get super tired and don’t eat healthy most of us suffer the next day. So it’s totally not worth it.
Instead, have set breakfast, lunch, and dinner times that you arrange your workaround. If you must, set alarms to remind you that mealtime is soon approaching.
Small Bursts of Exercise
Take small 2-3 minute breaks every 50 minutes or so. We actually do this at the office too. You can set alarms on your phone to remind you to get moving. My fitness watch automatically nags at me when I’ve been sitting at my desk for over an hour without taking a quick exercise break.
Stretching and moving around a bit gets the blood pumping around the body again and when you come back to your desk you’ll be refreshed and ready to go. Your mind will be less foggy and you’ll be able to work for longer hours simply because you’ve taken the time for breaks and a little light exercise. You can read more about how this improves your health and work performance at Psychology Today.
You have more control over your time when working from home so consider using this flexibility to offset your sedentary lifestyle. All of the time that you’re saving from commuting can be put into gym time, jogging, or a yoga routine. Make sure that each day has some activities that get you out of the house.
Let’s not forget Sleep
Good sleep is the foundation of good health, and yet people who work from home often have poorer sleep quality than those who work in an office mainly because some would work late at night and not turn off their electronics in time for the brain and the eyes to relax and settle. Commit to a time that you’ll clock off each day and get to bed at a reasonable time each night.
After you finish each day, stick to a routine that allows you to unwind and relax before bed. Consider leaving your smartphone out of the bedroom and using an old-fashioned alarm clock if you struggle to put it down before bedtime. At the very least put your phone on silence and on airplane mode.
Office Furniture Ergonomics
Avoid back pain and repetitive strain injuries by investing in an ergonomic chair and desk. Consider a standing desk if you have the room for it. Make sure your keyboard, mouse, and computer monitor are at the perfect height.
When working from home, you need to be extra conscious to take care of yourself. There are fewer people around to keep an eye on you and you can easily push yourself too hard while simultaneously neglecting important health concerns. Eat right, sleep right, and get the right amount of exercise and you’ll be able to do more each day, all while feeling a lot better too.
Enjoy the freedom to work from home. Make the most of it! 🙂