Flexible schedule, no commute, cozy clothes. There’s no doubt that working from home has its perks. Conversely, remote work comes with its own set of challenges in regards to maintaining optimal wellness. Potential distractions from children or spouses, easy access to food, the allure of your La-Z-Boy, and the lack of clear boundaries between the office and home are all real concerns.
The following tips can help you remain healthy, happy, and productive while working from home.
Make Time for Mindfulness
Research indicates that a regular mindfulness practice increases subjective well-being, reduces emotional reactivity, and allows you to bring increased awareness to all that you do. To learn the technique, choose from myriad free apps, like Calm or Headspace. Schedule 10 minutes in the morning and consider regular meditation breaks throughout the day.
Create Routines + Plan Ahead
Constant access to the kitchen can derail even the most health conscious individuals. Take time at the start of the week to plan healthy meals centered around whole foods. Include healthy fat, protein, and fiber at each meal to keep you satiated. Stick to regular meal times. Prepare healthy snacks in advance, so that if a snack attack does occur, it’s easier to make choices that support your health goals. Easy options include hard-boiled eggs, fruit, or veggie sticks with dips like hummus, guacamole, or nut butter.
Setting a timer for work blocks and breaks is helpful for adding structure to your day. Additionally, keep a water bottle by your desk and give yourself a caffeine curfew (e.g. no later than noon).
Moving your body throughout the day is essential to staying healthy while working from home. Schedule a dedicated exercise session in the morning or afternoon, and fit in mini-movement sessions to clear your mind and break up work blocks.
Alternate between periods of standing and sitting. If you don’t have a stand-up desk and now isn’t the right time to invest, consider fashioning one from stacked books or boxes. The goal is to get your elbows to a 90 degree angle with your keyboard.
Choose from the many free and paid resources online for the type of workout you’re seeking. Many gyms offer online workouts of all styles, including high intensity interval training, bootcamps, kettlebell workouts, and yoga. Alternatively, search Youtube for specific workouts. Having a kettlebell, a pull up bar, a resistance band, a few weights, and a yoga mat is helpful, but those aren’t necessary for a great workout. Body weight exercises and even a brisk walk can help you break a sweat. Get creative and get moving!
Optimize Your Home Environment
Maintain separate spaces for where you work, where you eat, where you exercise, and where you sleep. Working at the kitchen table, for instance, can make you more prone to snacking. Responding to work emails from your bed may cause sleep difficulties at night. To the extent possible, maintain spatial boundaries for different activities to keep your brain focused. If you’re struggling to tune out distractions, consider purchasing a pair of noise-canceling headphones.
With a bit of planning and intention, you can not only stay productive and calm while working from home, but you may even develop a new set of healthy habits that will serve you for the long run.