Working from home is becoming more and more popular now that technology drives our society. There are a lot more freelance, entrepreneurs, or virtual jobs that do not require an office space and therefore allow people to work from anywhere. But, when you get into the habit of just sitting on your coach for work, it can get hard to actually keep yourself healthy and accountable. I, too, am one of these people who works from home and sometimes find it much more comfortable to sit on my couch and never leave my house rather than get up and get ready. That is why I want to share with you my tips to stay healthy when working from home.
Working from home has both pros and cons, and some of them can even cross the same line. Pros include making your own schedule, never having to leave your house, wearing your pajamas to work, never worrying about prepping your food and saving the time for commuting. Cons of working from home include never leaving your house, never getting ready for the day, having all the snacks at arms reach, and trying not to go back to bed everyday. Not to mention, you sit and sit and sit at your desk and never regularly get up. This is where these tips to stay healthy working from home come in handy, so that even though you may have a strict schedule, you can add these tips in to help you be successful and stay fit working at home.
Set aside time to sweat everyday. I find it beneficial to get up early and get it out of the way. This leaves me more time during the day and doesn’t make me feel like I’m “missing” out on precious work hours. If you have a really long, and busy day then try to just fit in a few 10 minute walks outside. The fresh air will help you feel energized. Research has shown that taking periodical breaks during the day actually makes us more productive. Sitting for multiple hours in a row tends to drain us of natural energy and we end up “hitting a wall.” Researchers suggest we take breaks throughout the day, so that it is not just work 8 hours straight. We get less productive as the day goes on, so the movement and changing of schedule/scenery helps break up the day and give us natural energy.
Americans sit for 13 hours on average a day, plus sleeping 8 hours…that means we are sedentary 21 hours of the day. That is a scary thought, especially when you think back to when humans were created…man oh man have our lifestyles changed. This means we need to be a lot more conscious of how we spend those 3 hours that we are not sitting, and start to decrease our sitting time. This could be something as simple as just getting up every hour and walking a lap around your house. You could even just do a few jumping jacks or alternating lunges to get the blood flowing again. It may sound silly, but it can change the whole outlook of your day. Just get up, and move. It will save your back, your hips, your shoulders, your neck..everything!
Eating lunch while working is something everyone should steer away from, especially those who work from home. Eating while distracted can lead to digestive issues, overeating, and bad relationships with food leading to overeating in general. Make sure you eat away from your desk, and away from distractions. Take the break and slow down while eating. Enjoy your food, chew it thoroughly and allow it to be a therapeutic time instead of a disturbance. Eating while watching tv, or being distracted in general can cause you to overeat. It can also cause you to never feel satiated and therefore you might end up grazing all day because you don’t actually feel like, or remember, eating! So give yourself a break and eat your lunch without distractions.
This is an important one, not just for staying healthy working from home, but also just keeping you from snacking in general. Those who have trouble with nutrition tend to be ones who mindlessly snack all day. I always say “out of sight, out of mind”. If you don’t keep the snacks in the house, then you aren’t going to be able to graze and snack on them all day. Having snacks in the house when you work from home is like having donuts in the conference room, when it happens you can’t help but take part in it. Clients tell me all the time that treats and snacks are work is their biggest obstacle, and that is the same for those who work from home. So do yourself a solid and skip the snack aisle at the grocery store!
Standing desks are a great invention, and allow those who use them to be more productive, not to mention you will have much better posture! We spend so much time sitting, slouching and bent over that even just an hour can make a huge difference. Invest in a good, quality chair that is comfortable and fits you correctly. Your hips should be level with your knees and your feet touching the floor. You want to also make sure that your computer screen is at eye level so you are not looking down. I really like the stability ball chairs for extra core stability and stabilization. A standing desk is also a great option for adding to movement throughout the day. We know that standing is much better for us than sitting, so even just standing at your island or kitchen counter is a great healthy habit do adopt. But, make sure you are not bent or hunched over while working.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and when you work from home it can sometimes get lonely. Whether you live alone, or have family/kids at home, sometimes we crave adult interaction. The best way to beat the “work from home” blues is to get out of the house and change your environment. Head to a local office shop or a co-working space. This will not only get you out of the house, but likely make you more productive. I know first hand that working from home can get lonely, monotonous and you sometimes can be less productive because the couch is calling your name. I promise getting out of the house at least 2-3 times a week to work is going to make a world of difference for you!
Staying healthy working from home is not a secret recipe or even hard for that matter. What is hard is finding the motivation. There are so many ways to stay fit and healthy without a gym membership. You can use nature (go for walks, bike ride, swimming, hiking, play grounds), create a small home gym (check out my blog post on that here), and you can even just get movement in at home without equipment. Our bodies make for great resistance, and just eating right and moving for 30 minutes a day can make a huge impact, sometimes more than what an aimless elliptical session at the gym would do. I have a youtube channel full of at-home workouts for any skill level, as well as full blog posts, so feel free to check those out!
I hope this gives you a few ideas of how to break up your work day and stay healthy while working from home! I share a lot of weekly information in my newsletters that is exclusive to my subscribers only, sign up below if you’re interested.