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6 ways to stay healthy when working from home
Our health is arguably our most important asset: without our health, we have nothing. There are many aspects of our health – our fitness, our diet, our emotional health, our sexual health – and it is important to stay on top of all of them.
However, this can be easier said than done. In can be particularly challenging in certain circumstances, such as if you are one of the growing numbers of people working from home at the moment. If so, read on for essential tips on staying healthy while working from home.
1. Turn your Commute Time into Exercise Time
Working from home means you suddenly have a gift of extra time, as the time you would normally spend commuting is now available to you. The national average commute in the US is around 50 minutes a day. Rather than letting this time simply be absorbed into your schedule (or taken up by sleeping in) make use of it to keep fit and healthy.
Make this time your workout time: if you have exercise equipment at home like a bike or a treadmill, use it at this time of the day. If not, do sets of lunges and squats, jump a skipping rope, or look up exercise videos on YouTube – there are hundreds available, all completely free. Make this part of your daily routine or schedule it in your calendar to make sure it happens!
2. Cook Healthy Meals
Another great opportunity that comes from working from home is that you can now easily cook your own meals. No more eating fast food on your lunch break or snacking at your desk when you have a whole kitchen at your disposal.
You can easily multi-task cooking health meals while you’re working at the same time. You can put roast vegetables in the oven, or a soup on the stove or slow cooker and then keep working while it cooks. The risk to avoid, is constantly going to the kitchen for unhealthy snacks or sugary drinks if it is available to you. The best way to avoid this is to only stock your kitchen with healthy food: temptation gone!
3. Stay Active
Another risk of working from home is that you will be even more sedentary than at your regular desk job. When you’re working in the office, you get up to go to the break room, check in with colleagues, or maybe run some errands outside. However, when working from home you can easily not move from your desk (or couch) all day.
Being sedentary is very hazardous to our health and can take years off our lives. Get up and move around throughout the day: take a walk around the neighbourhood, or if this isn’t possible, around your house or apartment. Play with your pet or do five minutes of yoga. Experts recommend getting up at least once an hour for around 10 minutes.
4. Set up a Healthy Work Environment
Having a dedicated, productive and pleasant work environment is essential for staying healthy when working from home. In particular, your work environment impacts on your emotional health – which is an aspect of your health that is equally as important as your physical health.
Set up a designated work area that is conducive to being able to work productively. Make sure that you have plenty of light, and preferably natural light. Clear off the desk so you are not sitting in clutter, and make sure you’re working in a comfortable temperature. All of this will help you to not only be more productive, but it will also support better emotional health.
5. Separate Your Work and Home Lives
One of the biggest dangers of working from home is that your work and home lives can start to merge together. This can be damaging for your mental and physical health, as your work starts to creep into your personal time. It can also be damaging to your work, making you less productive during working hours.
Keep a healthy barrier between the two by having a shutdown ritual. This is when you pack up your things and leave work for the day, just as you would in a normal workplace. Come up with a working from home routine that signals the work day is over – such as closing your laptop, turning off your work email notifications or doing your evening workout - this will help to stop work creeping into your personal time.
Another great way to look after your emotional and mental health is through meditation. Working from home comes with its own stresses and challenges, especially if you are more or less confined to the house due to external factors.
Meditating will help you to achieve a better mental balance that will better equip you for handling these challenges. Furthermore, regular meditation gives you a mental energy boost which will help you to be more productive in your work. If you’re not sure how to get started with meditation, check out the videos available on YouTube or download one of the free apps, like Headspace. Meditating can not only help you achieve mental balance, but it can have significant mood-lifting benefits. Read more about the benefits that meditation can have on mental health in this article from BetterHelp.