If you’ve traded your power suit for PJs, your cubicle for a spot on the couch with your furry friend, and your commute for a jaunt to the local coffee shop, then chances are you know the joys of working from home. In fact, about 5% of the working population now works remotely from home! While the flexibility and convenience are serious perks, you may find yourself sitting in the same spot from 8am-6pm every day, working straight through lunch, and wondering “How do I stay healthy while working from home?”
Here are a few tips for keeping healthy habits while working from home!
Without in-person meetings or even a walk to your car, it’s easy to go hours without getting up to stretch or walk! As they say, “Sitting is the new smoking,” so make sure you’re intentional about taking breaks to get up and move. Try setting an alarm for every 30 minutes to get up and walk to refill your water or even take a lap around the house or block. If that feels disruptive, try a standing desk to help mitigate the effects of sitting all day.
Anyone else part of Team 4 Beverages on the Desk at All Times? It goes without being said really - make sure you’re drinking enough water! It helps keep your energy levels up and gives you a handy reminder to get up for those movement breaks throughout the day.
Take a real lunch break
How often does 3pm roll around and you realize you’ve been so deep into a project that you haven’t moved, much less eaten real food in 7 hours? For both your physical and mental health, try to take a real lunch break for 30-60 minutes at whatever time feels right for your body and schedule. Rather than downing a protein shake at your desk, eat mindfully at the table, on the patio, or even invite a fellow work from home friend to grab lunch together. You’ll get back to work feeling recharged and ready.
Only keep snacks on hand that make you feel great.
Ahh, the call of the kitchen when you hit a mental roadblock on a project! When someone brings donuts to the office, that box seems to call your name all.day.long. If you work from home, you’re exempt from that problem - except instead, you now have full access to your entire fridge and pantry, all day long, for free. Let this be a blessing and not a curse. Stock your home with the foods that give you energy and clarity, not the ones that send your blood sugar on a rollercoaster that leaves you feeling sluggish and mentally foggy.
Prep ingredients ahead of time.
Along the same lines, if you find yourself skipping food all day, then reaching for fast unhealthy snacks by the time you’re starving, it can be helpful to prep food on the weekends. Maybe you like to pre-portion out all your meals so you can just grab them out of the fridge, or maybe you just wash and chop a bunch of veggies to throw together fast salads all week. Either way, having a game plan is helpful.
Get into a routine
Without an office full of people waiting for you, it might be tempting to sleep in, book social activities throughout the day, or get distracted by chores. Flexibility is a huge benefit of working from home, so by all means, design your day in a way that works for you - but try to keep some consistency. We are creatures of habit, and without a commute or office to differentiate working time from relaxation time, it can be difficult to “get in the zone.” Whether you’re a 5am riser or do your best work after 10pm, keeping a consistent routine helps your brain switch gears and recognize when it’s game time.
Establish an End of Workday Ritual
Similar to creating a routine, creating an end of day ritual can be helpful for your mental health. When working in an office, it’s much easier to leave work at work and avoid letting work projects drag on into your personal time. To replace the feeling of closure that you’d get with a commute, try establishing an end of workday ritual. Maybe you tidy your desk space, maybe you take a walk around the block, maybe you write the to-do list for the next day, or maybe you just physically close the door of your home office as you walk out. This helps signal to your mind that it’s time to switch gears into relaxation or family time, allowing you, to some extent, to leave the worries of the workday behind.
Establishing good habits is key to staying healthy while working from home. Use the flexibility to your advantage and create practices that suit your workstyle, lifestyle, and goals!