Working from home was becoming more common before the Covid-19 outbreak, but millions more are now spending long periods of time stationed at the kitchen and dining room tables. Whether you’re a freelancer who is used to spending time at home, or you’ve temporarily switched to home-working as a result of the lockdown, it’s vital to put your health first. For many of us, it’s a tough time, and looking after your physical and mental wellbeing should be a priority. In this guide, we’ll look at some simple ways you can stay fit and healthy while working from home.
Exercise and physical activity
Exercise is beneficial for both physical and psychological health. Working from home may seem like a barrier to active lifestyles for some, but it is possible to exercise frequently. You can follow home workouts, use gym equipment, exercise in the garden, or get out and about and enjoy hikes or bike rides in the local area. The beauty of working out at home is that you can tailor sessions to suit your schedule. If you’re a morning person, and you like to start work as soon as you get up, you can take a break to exercise or go for a walk later in the morning, in the afternoon, or in the evening. If you start work later, make time for a morning jog or squeeze an exercise class in before you sit down at your desk. You can mix and match activities and get involved in online sessions and group workouts if you fancy a bit of company. There are all kinds of options available from virtual personal training, dance classes, and online pilates and yoga workouts to fitness DVDs you can do in the living room. If you miss the gym, but you’re not quite ready to go back just yet, it may be worth taking a look at auction sites or buy and sell forums in your local area to see if you can pick up affordable equipment.
Exercise reduces stress, it can aid sleep and it also increases energy levels. If you find that you’re prone to an afternoon slump, or you’ve had a hard day, get your body moving. Even 15 minutes of physical activity will lift your mood and clear your mind. Being active is also hugely beneficial for reducing the risk of injuries, improving flexibility and mobility and boosting immunity.
Many of us are used to taking a stroll to get to the office or enjoying a walk back to the car as part of our daily routine. If you’re working from home, try to make sure that you get fresh air on a regular basis. Open the windows, let natural light flood the room and take regular breaks. Stretch your legs, get out into the garden or take a walk. Being out in the open air can help you feel calmer and more content and it is also proven to increase productivity.
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Eye care and screen time
For most people currently working from home, an average day involves spending long hours staring at a screen and tapping away at a keyboard. If you use a computer or a tablet for long periods of time, it’s crucial to give your eyes a break and to keep a close eye on your vision. If you notice any changes, for example, you’re straining to read smaller print, or the screen looks blurred from some distances, arrange an eye test. It’s also a good idea to seek advice if you’re prone to headaches. Taking regular breaks from the screen, wearing glasses or contact lenses if you need them and adjusting the brightness of the display can all help to improve vision. If you already have glasses, but you don’t wear them frequently, or you have concerns that your prescription has changed, see your optician. There are hundreds of fabulous frames to choose from at sites like www.eyeglasses.com and buying new glasses is a brilliant way to update your image and protect your eyes. If you do use a computer on a regular basis, it’s also worth exploring eye care software, which helps to neutralise blue light and protect the eyes. Many workers are required to spend long hours at a desk, but often, we’re guilty of maximising screen time by logging off and then picking up tablets or phones. Try and limit your daily screen time to give your eyes a chance to rest and recover.
Back pain is one of the most common ailments among office-based and home workers. At the moment, many people who would ordinarily be sat in an office are working from home, and this may mean that they are at even greater risk of developing back and neck pain due to poor posture. If you’re working at the kitchen table while sitting on a dining chair, or you spend hours on the sofa with a laptop perched on your knee, take steps to maintain good posture. Use a cushion to provide support for the lumbar section of the spine in the lower back, sit up straight with your shoulders back and place your keyboard in a position that means you don’t have to stretch. Rest your wrists on the desk and avoid slouching. If you’re going to be working from home for a long time, it’s worth asking your boss about the possibility of supplying a proper office chair, which is designed to promote good posture and enhance comfort. Some people find standing desks more comfortable. If you’re susceptible to back pain, you could try alternating between sitting and standing. It’s important to seek medical advice if you have chronic pain, or your discomfort is becoming more pronounced. For more tips on improving your posture, take a look at this article https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/ss/slideshow-posture-tips.
Mental wellbeing is one of the most talked-about subjects at the moment. With a pandemic to contend with and uncertainty looming, there is no doubt that many people are feeling anxious and worried. When we talk about health, we often focus on the physical side, but it’s equally important to devote time and energy to protecting, nourishing and improving mental health. If you are stressed or concerned, or you’re finding it difficult to switch off or feel at ease at the moment, there are steps you can take. Effective self-help techniques include exercising frequently, taking good care of yourself by eating well and making sure you get enough sleep, spending time outdoors, dedicating time to hobbies and interests and spending time with people who make you feel good. If you can’t see friends and family because of restrictions, stay in touch online or call and catch-up on a regular basis. Many of us feel happier when we are sociable, and even a simple thing like a text message or a Zoom chat with friends can make a real difference. Creative activities are a brilliant way to channel emotions and thoughts in a positive way, and they can be particularly beneficial for people who find it hard to talk. If you don’t feel comfortable opening up and chatting to relatives or friends, painting, drawing or writing can be cathartic. It’s also essential to realise that they are people there to support and help you if you are struggling or you simply want to chat or get something off your chest.
Research suggests that almost 40% of people have been snacking more during lockdown. If you’re working from home and you find yourself throwing caution to the wind and adopting Christmas-style eating habits, or you’re constantly thinking about getting up to raid the fridge, it’s a good idea to get into a routine.
Eating well isn’t just important for maintaining a healthy weight. We often get carried away thinking about our diets as a means of dropping pounds. The priority should always be nutrition. Your body needs fuel and it will perform better if you have a healthy, balanced diet. Try and avoid snacking and stick to three main meals. Opt for a hearty, nutritious breakfast that will keep you full until lunch. Porridge, poached eggs on wholemeal toast, low-sugar granola with fresh fruit, whole-grain cereals and omelettes are excellent options. For lunch, choose complex carbohydrates, which release energy slowly to avoid the dreaded mid-afternoon slump, and add vegetables, salad or fruit to up your vitamin and mineral intake. You can rustle up a salad, a sandwich on granary or brown bread, a bowl of soup, a wholemeal wrap or a fresh pasta dish in a matter of minutes. If you do find yourself tip-toeing towards the crisp cupboard or the biscuit jar, make sure you have access to healthy snacks. Raw carrots, wholemeal crackers, a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts and seeds are much better for you than a slice of cake or a bag of sweets. You don’t have to sacrifice treats completely, but aim to ensure they don’t form the bulk of your diet.
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The Covid-19 crisis has contributed to many of us adjusting to new routines and spending more time at home than ever before. If you’re working from home, it’s crucial to be aware of the importance of looking after your body and mind. Exercise frequently, look after your eyes, maintain good posture, get fresh air every day, protect your mental wellbeing and try and follow a healthy, balanced diet.