No commuting costs, saving money on that daily take out Costa may be some of the pros of working from home but, in the long term, your health and wellbeing could be paying a hefty price. It’s not just the lack of exercise that may impact on your physical wellbeing but the scarcity of social contact, that daily interaction with your co-workers, may have a damaging effect on your mental health.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Making simple changes to your home working routine can make all the difference to your physical and mental wellbeing.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
In the words of the great Ginger Spice, Geri Halliwell, if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail! Preparing your meals in advance will stop you from making unhealthy meal choices throughout the day. Batch cook in advance so that you have meals ready for when you take your regular lunch break (more of that later). If you’re going for a hot option it should be quick and easy to re-heat so you’re not tempted to snack while waiting. Our Nutritional Therapist Dominique Ludwig has some great recipe ideas on her website. If you’re no Nigella or Melissa and cooking isn’t your thing then simply have some healthy snacks ready to pick on such as dried fruit and nuts, humous and raw vegetables, apple and peanut butter, smashed avocado on rye bread … be inspired, get creative!
Take a break
Give your eyes a rest and get your body moving by taking regular screen breaks. Even if you’re engrossed in a task it’s critical to your physical health and mental wellbeing to take a break. Set an alarm. Every 45minutes, you should get up and move for between 10 to 15minutes. If you live in a house climb up and down the stairs. Do some squats by your desk, some wall press ups, run on the sport, pull off a couple of star jumps … anything that gets your butt of that chair and your eyes away from the glare of the VDU. If you have additional time during your lunch break tune in to an online yoga class – we’re fans of We Are Blessed – or, if you prefer something a tad more high intensity, enrol in a Jo Wicks YouTube class. Never before has working out, staying fit, been so accessible. Not only will your physical body thank you for the great work out but the release of endorphins that comes from physical exertion will lift your mood and make your head happy.
Breath of fresh air
There are multiple health benefits from being outside as Mother Nature intended. Even just 10minutes spent in the fresh air can lift your mood, boost your energy and make you feel brighter. Fresh air increases the flow of oxygen in our bodies which results in greater brain functioning; the knock-on effect is improved concentration and increased energy. This increase in oxygen also helps our white blood cells function effectively which in turn helps improve our immunity – essential for battling bacteria and germs. Venturing outside also helps our production of Vitamin D which is essential for many bodily functions including supporting our immune system and strengthening our bones. So, now you know, there is no excuse for not stepping outside and taking a deep breath in!
Create water cooler moments
There is a danger when working from home that you become too insular which can have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing. It’s good to talk – but not always to yourself! Staying connected with your colleagues can banish feelings of isolation. With so many ways to communicate online you never need to feel alone. If you like the buzz of an office then connect with your colleagues over Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams; have them featured on your work screen in the background to give you that sense of community. If that’s too intrusive set up a mid-morning and mid-afternoon meet time with them, a virtual “water cooler” time-out when you catch up on gossip, share lunch food envy stories and discuss the merits of the latest costume drama Belgravia. Feeling part of a community not only boosts your energy but also helps you maintain a healthy headspace.
Water accounts for 60% of your body and is essential to every cell. Staying hydrated throughout the day enables your body to function at its best. When you’re working from home it’s easy to get so stuck into a task that you forget to drink. Make a point of drinking at least one half-pint glass of water on the hour. You should be aiming to drink around eight glasses of water a day. Water not only helps your kidneys do their job of flushing out waste and toxins but also transports nutrients to every cell in the body, helping them to work at their optimum. Water also plays a huge part in keeping the brain hydrated by supporting the cerebral blood flow. A hydrated brain can improve concentration and boost your memory – which should help you to remember to drink more water!
Be warned: By following these simple steps, you may never want to go back to the office ever again!