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Staying Healthy while Working at Home

I thought it might be a good time to offer some advice to those of you who have now been introduced to ‘working from home’.

For many of us our days are very different to how they were a week or two ago!  For me, my time has been split between working from home and going out to ‘the office’ for a few years, but still it takes some getting used to!

I learnt previously how important it is to keep hold of your motivation for completing tasks, but also to look after your physical and mental health.

There are many positives to working from home…no rush-hour commuting, the comfort of your home environment and maybe for some less noise and interuption!  But it is best to start well and set up some ‘work space’ – this might mean away from children that are also now at home…  So I have put together some pointers that I have found useful and some extras that might also work for you.

Home Office

Create a welcoming workspace

Make your workspace a pleasure to be in.  Aim for a space with natural light; if it’s gloomy or dark you’ll be less inclined to want to stay there. Bring in a few plants, light a candle, or play some music if it helps to keep you focused.  For those of you that are used to noise, then maybe some loud strong beats will help to give you a buzz…

Find a good supportive chair, one that is both comfortable and provides you with back support. You could also try standing more than sitting – my partner has been known to put a chair onto the table top, as the height works well for his laptop!

Try and make the space relaxing and stay hydrated by always having water on your desk.

Set some Healthy Boundaries

Maintaining your own boundaries is a big part of self-care, and now even more important under quarantine.  It’s good to know how and when to switch off and on – so you aren’t working all hours…but it also helps for those you live with, so they understand your boundaries and working hours, so that you can limit distractions.

If we let out boundaries slip, it can create feelings of overwhelm, anger or resentment. Boundaries a clear distinction between your work life and your personal life and it’s helpful to have a defined time as to when to clock off!

Regular Routine and Breaks

If you’re used to waking up when the alarm goes off, then you can just stick with it.
Keep some order to your day, use your time wisely… Where you might have been traveling to work – do some yoga or meditation or you could go for a walk or run, being mindful of your distance from others.  This could help you mentally prepare you and your mindset.

Taking a proper breaks will help to clear your mind and keep your focus. It’s a chance to recharge your batteries and give your brain a rest. We underestimate how important it is to take a break for our mind – but also our eyes!  Look out of the window, or walk around the house, so your eyes focus into the distance…

When you schedule your regular tea breaks and time to have lunch – you should do this away from your desk area.

Eating while you work is not great for digestion and can lead to overeating and indigestion. Crumbs and spillages also make your desk a playground for bacteria..but also sticky keyboards…  Use your kitchen for lunch or go outside if you have a garden, place your bare feet on the earth and ground with nature.

If you always walk at lunchtime you can still can.  Or do some stretching if you need to move your body and clear your mind.

Egg Tortilla and tomato salad

Eat nutritious foods even if you’re sitting closer to the fridge!

Balanced nutrition plays an important role when you’re in a different environment or under stress.  Sometimes stress can make us forget to eat properly, but for others it can bring out the emotional eater and the chocolate begins to flow…

This is where good food and nutrition comes into play.
Make your meals something you look forward to and don’t forget to eat.

Move away from the fridge – so you don’t have to keep looking at it, if that’s a distraction!  Working from home can bring constant eating temptations so plan your meals in advance.  Eat regularly and avoiding picking as it can affect your blood sugar and weight.

At lunch, aim to eat a balanced meal with good fats, protein and plenty of vegetables.  You can add some good sources of carbohydrate if required too.  During this time you might want to increase your intake of ‘immune system enhancing’ nutrients and foods.

Remember to eat slowly – set aside 30 minutes and enjoy your lunch within this time.
Chew mindfully and don’t be rushed, ideally you want time to digest and rest!
Avoid scheduling meetings over the lunch period or having your phone with you to check emails, don’t mix screen time with chewing time!

Ensure you are drinking enough fluid, warm water, green tea or herbal teas will all help, as we often confuse hunger with thirst and overeat

Try and have a selection of healthy snacks on hand for morning and afternoon.

Here are some ideas:

  • Cut up veggies and hummus
  • Fresh fruit/avocado/banana
  • Nuts, nibbles and trail mix
  • Healthy muesli bar
  • Bliss balls or healthy muffins
  • Rice crackers/seaweed crackers
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Smoothie

If you’re struggling at home, please call friends and work colleagues for support.

Working from home can make you feel isolated and impact our already restricted lives.  Make use of our amazing technology and use the likes of Zoom, Facetime or WhatsApp video to call colleagues, so you can see them.  I know it’s not the same, but it might be the best we can do at the moment.

Please be aware of your emotion and mental health.  Don’t be afraid to reach out for support and extra help during this time of isolation…