5 Ways to Stay Healthy While Working From Home

“Health is not valued till sickness comes.”
- Thomas Fuller

Working from home was never a thing for many people. Two years ago, almost everyone was still going to offices in high-rise buildings where they braved the daily rush hour and greeted colleagues day in and day out. Now that the world has changed, office-based employees have to adapt to the reality of being home-based. Suddenly, their fully-equipped workstations have been replaced by make-shift offices in living rooms at home.

When transitioning to a remote setup, people tend to focus on how they can get used to it. How to do their tasks without their supervisors just a room away behind them? How to give and receive clear instructions through the instant messaging program they’re using? How to hold meetings without encountering Internet connectivity problems? Everyone is so keen to make everything work that they forget such important factors as how they can stay healthy in this strange new lifestyle.

If you’re one of the work-from-home newbies, here are some tips on how you can adapt to this lifestyle without sacrificing your health.

1. Eat a balanced diet and drink water.

Relocating work-wise from your office to your home will disrupt a lot of your usual activities, including your meals. Without colleagues to call your attention when it’s time for lunch, you might forget to schedule mealtimes. Don’t let this happen! Avoid skipping meals and be sure to make healthy choices. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, eating healthy consists of consuming healthy portions of low-fat dairy products, eggs, whole grains, fish, poultry, lean meat, fruits, and vegetables. Of course, if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’ll know what works best! 

Another thing we often overlook is our water intake. Like food, we tend to forget to drink adequate fluids when we get too busy with what we’re doing. Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, constipation, headaches, and fatigue. Water is still the best choice of beverage as always, but you can indulge with fresh fruit juices, a cup of your favorite coffee or tea. Just avoid sugary drinks.

2. Do not forget to sleep.

Working from home can also affect our sleep. Without the need to wake up very early to avoid rush hour, we may be tempted to have a lie-in. At the end of the day, we may be tempted to work our way through tasks late into the night. Whatever the case is, both choices are not good for our health. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention backs this up by recommending that we should aim for at least 7 hours of sleep every night. 

Also, W. Christopher Winter, MD, of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, said that we must make an effort to go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day. Otherwise, we’ll feel tired all the time, making us want to sleep later and later each night. If we feel that urge, Dr Winter suggested that we should go outside and take a brisk walk. Another option is to take a 20-minute power nap to break up the day instead.

3. Have a work-life balance.

Our work may take over our home life if we’re not careful, so make sure to set boundaries. For instance, pick an area in your house that can serve as your permanent office. Though it’s tempting to work from the comfort of your bed, using a table and chair is better for your posture and mentality. Having a designated workspace prepares your mind to get ready for work. It also improves your attention, confidence, and energy. 

Moreover, set a fixed daily schedule that includes all your breaks. Set a clock-out time to know when to stop working for the day. Stick to it even though you still have a lot of things left on your to-do list. It will help you avoid stress and be your most productive self. In addition, don’t work when you’re sick. You can still take sick days off even when you're working from home.

4. Connect with other people.

When you work from home, one thing you lose is the minute-by-minute interaction with your colleagues. It may be a good thing because there are less distractions. However, too much time without socialization can lead to depression. So, connect with your colleagues at least once a week using video chat services like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet. But remember not to extend the meeting when you have covered everything on the agenda.

In addition, spend time with your family if they’re with you. You can also give your friends a call to catch up. Social interaction, even though not done in person, is highly beneficial to our mental health. Whether it’s just small talk or deep conversation, it can lessen the feeling of isolation. It can also improve our memory, mood, and cognitive skills. 

5. Make time for yourself.

Just because you’re working remotely doesn't mean you can’t take time out to enjoy yourself anymore. On the contrary, you should take advantage of this opportunity to be kind to yourself. Without the daily commute, you now have extra time that you can use to do whatever it is that you want to do. Don’t feel guilty, because there’s nothing wrong with having a little “me time”.

You can start by having a regular workout routine. A good workout doesn’t only keep our physical body healthy. It also provides psychological benefits, like eliminating stress and anxiety and boosting our self-confidence. Another thing you can do is to take up a new hobby like painting or woodwork, which can help you meditate, be creative, and have a sense of achievement. But if these are not your thing, you can simply relax in your favorite nook and sip some wine while reading a good book. As long as you can make yourself feel good, do it!

Working from home is like your office suddenly barging through your front door and taking over every room of your house. It’s like a very demanding house guest that you have to attend to 24/7. It can make you forget about yourself, especially your health. 

However, it’s not a hopeless situation. 

There are things you can do to not let it overwhelm you. All you have to do is create new habits and routines that can incorporate work into your home life. It may sound easier said than done, but it’s the best strategy out there. Just take it slow. You don’t have to adapt to it overnight. Start with the basics, like setting up your home office and schedule, maintaining healthy meal and sleep cycles, reconnecting with your colleagues, and - finally - getting in that indulgent “me time”!

“The body loves routine. Try to eat, sleep, and so on at the same time every day in order for the body to function at its optimum efficiency. The body loves consistency.”
- Theresa Hearn Haynes

Author:

@Dianne Claveria

Date:

08-16-2021

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