Working from home is not a new trend, however, because of the recent Covid-19 virus outbreak in our nation and worldwide, most of us are adapting to this style on a day to day basis. Although it is a nice feeling to stay home and enjoy the flexibility, we also tend to get carried away with the workload and unintentionally don't pay attention to our health and well-being. There are many factors that we overlook while adapting to this style of working. So, what are some things we can do to keep our health and wellness in check while working from home now, and in the future.
Don't be so casual
When I first started working from home, I just decided to make our dining table my everyday work space thinking that this is just something I will be doing for a couple weeks. At the end of the second week, I had sprained my back bad. I woke up with bad muscle spasm and terrible pain all the way from my neck, left shoulder, and towards my mid-back. I was in pain all weekend and learned it the hard way, that whether you work in front of a screen for a couple days or couple weeks, you must make it comfortable. It is so very important to have a designated work space and set it up in a way which is ergonomic friendly. Get a comfortable chair, make sure the height of the chair is adjustable and it provides proper back support and cushion if you need. You may also want to consider adjusting the height of your keyboard for typing with ease and to avoid shoulder or wrist pain. In addition, it is a good idea to support your feet with a foot rest to elevate your feet if you need to. If you have wooden or tile floor, layout a nice plush portable rug in your work space. Just make it comfortable because you will be sitting here for a long period of time.
Dress it up
Add some decor to your work space like a vase with flowers, decorative stationary, pictures of your loved one, and anything else that lifts your mood and motivates you. Personalizing your work space creates an ambiance to start your day right. Consider setting up your work space where there is proper lighting or add a portable lamp.
As I mentioned earlier, it is so common and easy to get carried away with your daily projects and tasks once you start your day. Studies have shown that sitting for a long period of time slows down your metabolism and is compared to second hand smoking. To avoid this, make it a point to take at least 3-4 breaks throughout your workday. The best way to initiate this is to take a 15-minute break, and walk around for every two hours you are sitting down. Also, make it a habit to go away from your desk when you are ready to eat your lunch. Sit outside if you can, get some sunlight - practice mindful eating by putting your phone away, not watching TV, and simply focusing on your food. Think about it, if you are adding two 15-minute walks to your daily routine, you are getting in 30 minutes of walk every day. One other important healthy habit you can add to your breaks is to stretch. Towards the end of your day, try and do some stretching exercises. Stretching helps with blood flow to your muscles and relieves stress. It is great for your posture, especially for those with all day sitting jobs.
Just because we are working from home and we don't have to get up and get ready or drive to work, don't take your "work from home" schedule for granted. Get into the habit of getting up at the same time every working day and plan out your day. This way, it will not be so hard for you to come up with a time to take a break when you need to. Eat your lunch on time, finish and start your day on a scheduled time so you are not tied to your chair at odd times and for long periods of time. Just keep in mind that when you neglect time, your neglect your health.
Some housekeeping rules
self-care is so important, especially during these times of Covid-19. Adding a few simple things to your daily work from home routine will enhance your lifestyle and improve your overall health in general. During the day, make sure to stay hydrated. If you don't want to make that trip to the kitchen, keep a decent sized water bottle at your desk. Add some lemon, ginger and/or mint to your water. After lunch, sip on some green tea or a tea of your choice as it helps soothe your mind and digest food. Eat a healthy meal and prepare fresh food if possible with veggies and other nutrient dense foods, herbs and spices. If you don't have time to prepare food for lunch or breakfast, meal prep the night before. Listen to some feel good music, burn a nice scented candle, or utilize an aromatherapy diffuser while working. Creating a positive atmosphere around your work environment can boost your mood and energy, and lower stress.
I can't stress enough that once we start working from home, it is so easy to not leave the work space. When you set up a work schedule to work from home, you avoid this mistake and prevent yourself from working for long periods of time. Keeping that in mind, make it a habit to shut down your laptop/computer after you have finished your work for the day. This way, you will not keep going back to your desk to check on your work or emails and feel the obligation to respond to certain tasks. Once you shutdown, it is time to unwind and rest. It's your time to just relax, enjoy a good meal with your family and rest up for the next day.
Your health is really in your hands, especially during this sensitive time. We all need to take our health and well-being seriously and make these simple lifestyle changes to our daily routine, in order to improve our style of working from home.