8 Healthy Habits for Working From Home
For some of us, working from home is normal, but for others, this pandemic may have you working remotely for the first time. Whichever category you fit into, it’s important to have healthy habits when working from your home “office”.
- Pretend like you are actually going into the office. Set your alarm, make coffee, take a shower and change out of your pjs to help you get into the “I’m going to work” mindset.
- Set boundaries such as defined hours and breaks throughout the day. Just as you would leave the office, you need to know when to stop working and take a breather for a good work-life balance.
- Don’t forget to give your eyes a break too! It’s not healthy for your eyes to be glued to a screen all day. Several times throughout the day, take a few minutes to look at something else to make sure you’re not straining your eyes.
- Working from home with your new “co-workers” could take some getting used too. Stock up on time consuming projects like, puzzles, crafts or activity books help to keep the kiddos busy. Take advantage of video chatting to continue learning opportunities such as piano lessons. Mix up your hours (if your job allows) – try to squeeze in work when your toddler is asleep such as early morning, nap times and at night – you’ll be more productive if you have quiet time to yourself.
- Create a dedicated work space – although it’s tempting to work from your bed, it’s important to set up a dedicated work space with a door that you can close if you need to drown out the noise of your pets, kids or TV to remain productive and professional. Also, if possible, invest in a good chair. Your home chair/desk/keyboard setup might not be the same as at the office and comfy sofas or bed pillows don’t offer the necessary support for your back, which can lead to poor posture and back, shoulder and neck pain.
- Set goals by writing out a daily and weekly to-do list involving your work and the tasks that need completing.
- Working from home can be isolating especially if you’re used to a busy office environment – check-in with people throughout the day. Just because everyone is practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you need to actually feel so distant.
- Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy food. Since you’re now so close to your kitchen, it’s even easier to snack on everything and anything. To avoid unhealthy snacking, keep healthy snacks readily available. Drink a lot of water throughout the day, too, which can help curb mindless snacking.
March 23, 2020
Clinical Contributors to this Story
Michael Carson, M.D. contributes to topics such as Internal Medicine.
5 Healthy Habits for When You’re Working From Home
We all know working from home can be both a blessing and a curse. Gone are the days of commuting to the office, and in are the days where you roll out of bed and hop onto the computer, right?!
For the majority of us, working from home requires a lot of willpower and developing loads of healthy habits to stay on top of work and home life together.
When you’re working from home, it’s easy to get distracted by household chores, friends and family and find the motivation to get on with the hard work tasks that simply need to get done.
So to help, I’ve put together 5 work from home tips and healthy habits that you can start implementing in your working life.
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Develop a morning routine
I’ve heard it a million times, to get the most of your work from home life, a little discipline goes a long way.
However, where I differ is I’m not encouraging you to get up at 4 am, do some yoga, make a smoothie, journal and meditate. Instead, I believe in a simple and tailored approach that’s tailored to you.
A routine is simply something you do over and over again to flip the switch in your brain to tell you it’s time to get into ‘work mode’.
For you that might mean waking at 7 am, making a cup of coffee and reading. For someone else, it might mean waking at 6 am, getting your kids ready for school, dropping them off and then unwinding before work with a hot drink and a book.
Experiment and find a routine that works for your unique situation, is easy and enjoyable and the rest will fall into place.
Open windows even in the winter
We’re spending more and more time indoors and because of this, our indoor air quality is suffering.
“Indoor air pollution is dust, dirt or gases in the air inside a building such as your home or workplace that harms us if we breathe it in.”
What’s more, if you have any kind of lung disease such as asthma, then you’re indoor air quality should be something to take seriously.
“Indoor air is often 10 times more polluted than outdoor air and as people spend 90% of their time indoors the importance of indoor air quality is critical to health and wellbeing.”
One of the simplest things you can do to improve the air quality in your home is to open your windows. Even in the cold months, for just a few hours a day, you could vastly improve the air quality in your home.
Once you do it, you’ll realize how heavy your air was and as a bonus, the new fresh air will give you a boost, trust me.
Move your body
I like to keep things simple, so the next healthy habit is determined by you. If you’re working from home, chances are you’re not moving from your desk very often.
The fact is, the human body was not built to withstand this much sitting. Depending on your ability and desire, anything from a few desk stretches, to a lunchtime walk would give your body and your brain the boost it needs to keep those creative juices flowing.
Because let’s be real, the last thing we’re all thinking about when working is doing 50 lunges or rolling out a dusty yoga mat.
When you’re working on a project, writing, or generally doing any kind of absorbing task, it’s easy to lose track of time. The last thing you want is to be working so hard that you miss a valuable snack or coffee break.
Set a rough schedule for yourself and stick notifications on your phone to remind you. Or if you’re a bit more analogue, write it in your to-do list to take breaks at certain times of the day.
Here’s mine as an example:
11 am – coffee break (snack if required)
12 noon – lunch
3 pm – snack break or simply walk around a bit
“Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative.”
Even if you’re not hungry or would rather keep working, these breaks act as a switch in your mind to take a break. Your brain simply can’t keep working for hours straight, give it a rest and give your body some fuel.
Remove your distractions
It’s no surprise that when we’re working from home it’s almost impossible not to get distracted. In fact, it’s the reason why we’re developing these healthy habits in the first place.
Raise your hand if any of these distractions apply to you:
Friends messaging you
Family ringing you
Family in the room with you (I’m talking about you, kids)
Other people’s clutter
Your own clutter
Anything and everything that isn’t your work
Yeah, I raised my hand multiple times too!
The fact is, we can never remove 100% of our work from home distractions. After all, we are working from home, not a remote cabin in the woods. But we can reduce that list significantly.
If social media is your problem, remove the apps from your phone. Is it email? Schedule to read at only certain times of the day. If it’s friends and family, start setting boundaries with them. If it’s household mess and chores, ask your family to help, or schedule in time to clear your space. After all, your home is your office, it needs to be treated as one.
Creating healthy habits for your work from home life can be difficult, especially if you’re just starting out, or things have gotten out of hand.
If this is the case, I recommend starting with just one of these and implementing the changes over the course of a few weeks. Then add another. Be patient, your ideal work from home life will take time to happen.
by Gina Lucia 10 October 2019
How to Work From Home and Stay Healthy
Healthy habits when working from home