Working from home seemed like a great idea at first. No commute, home cooked lunches and (most importantly) you get to hang out with your pet all day.
But adjusting to working from home can be tricky at the best of times; let alone when there’s a pandemic thrown into the mix. It’s all too easy to go several days without leaving the house, spend most of the day on the sofa or make one too many trips to the fridge.
In these challenging times, your health and wellbeing needn’t fall by the wayside. A few simple changes can help you to stay productive while working from home, whilst keeping your physical and mental health in check.
Here are our top tips for staying healthy and happy while working from home.
When your office becomes your home, it’s likely that you’re sitting less than a minute’s walk away from the kitchen. It might be tempting to graze all day, every day, but these simple strategies will help you stay healthy while working from home.
Pre-prepare your lunches
Find yourself haphazardly pulling together a last minute, throw-anything-on-the-plate sort of lunch because you’re so busy with work? Start meal prepping. Prepping your lunches means you’ll have a healthy meal ready to go at lunchtime. Plus, you’ll be able to spend your lunch breaks taking an actual break, rather than cooking.
Eating the right balance of macronutrients at lunch will help you to avoid productivity-killing blood sugar crashes and keep your mind off food until dinner time. Here’s a simple strategy to follow when prepping your lunches:
- Start with half plate of veggies (fibre): Switch them up through the week for variety
- Add a source of protein: Fish, chicken, eggs, tofu, beans etc
- Add a small serving of healthy fats: Avocado, nuts & seeds, olives, hard cheese
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Stock up on healthy snacks
Eating a balanced meal at lunch should help you ward off hunger pangs, but shifting the work from home snacking habit is easier said than done. If you’re a serial fridge raider, the absolute best thing you can do is stop buying sugar-heavy snacks like sweets, crisps and biscuits altogether. Out of sight, out of mind, after all!
Instead, stock up on healthy snack alternatives. A 20g serving of Purition mixed with greek, soy or coconut yoghurt is one of the most hunger-crunching snacks you’ll find! Other healthy options include a handful of nuts or seeds, veggie sticks with hummus or natural nut butter, a small bowl of olives or simply a small slice of cheese. Find more ideas in our low-carb snacks post.
You’ve heard it time and time again, but not drinking enough water can affect everything from your mood to your focus. If you used to take a water bottle to the office, do the same at your home work station too. Keep a bottle right by your side, every day, and challenge yourself to refill it by lunchtime at the latest.
Don’t enjoy drinking water? You’re working from home now, so jazz it up. Slice up some lemon, lime or cucumber and add a few ice cubes to add flavour; or add a slice of lemon to a mug of hot water for a warm yet hydrating boost.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health—and working from home can have an impact on both. So much so, that recent survey results have revealed that 80% of British people feel that working from home has negatively impacted their mental health. Here are some simple tweaks and tips to stay sane and feel happier whilst working from home.
Create a dedicated workspace
Working from the sofa (or worse, your bed) might seem cosy, but it could be affecting your mental health. Working where you relax or sleep blurs the lines between work and down-time, making it hard to shift your mind from ‘work’ to ‘relax’ come 5 pm.
Instead, create a designated workspace . If you have a quiet spare room, head there. If you don’t, create an office ‘zone’ instead. Pick an area of your living room, dining room, hallway or even under the stairs and add a simple desk and comfortable chair. Treat this space like your office; work there every day, eat your lunches in another area and physically walk away from the space when the day comes to an end.
Working from home can feel lonely, even for the most introverted among us. Human beings are social creatures; and going days without speaking to anyone can leave you feeling lonely and isolated.
So, try to keep in the loop with your colleagues, whether that’s a weekly virtual team get together or simply picking up the phone to check in with a work friend. Consider wrapping up, grabbing a hot drink and heading out for a stroll with a friend, family member or nearby colleague before or after your workday. Even a 10-minute chat can help you to relax, decompress and feel connected—and it’ll help them, too!
Stick to a routine
When you were in the office, you probably had your daily routine down to a fine art. Up at 7 am, work at 9 am, back home at 6 pm. But working in your own home means it’s tempting to hit the snooze button and roll out of bed at 5 to 9 or work until 8 pm ‘just because’.
Routine is your work-from-home best friend! It provides a sense of stability, improves productivity and can help you to avoid burnout. So, set yourself a work-from-home routine and stick to it. Get up at the same time each day, leaving enough time to head out for a walk or relax with a healthy breakfast before work. Stick to your normal hours as best you can and take your breaks around the same time every day, too.
Take regular breaks
In the office, you probably had regular coffee breaks, enjoyed brief chats with colleagues or took regular strolls outside to get some fresh air. When you’re at home, on the other hand, it’s a little too easy to go hours and hours without looking at anything other than the computer screen.
No matter where you’re working, you need to take regular breaks. As soon as you’re feeling disengaged or unproductive, take a walk around the house or take a quick stroll outside with a drink. Short 5 or 10 minutes breaks here and there will clear your head and leave you feeling refreshed, inspired and ready to get stuff done!
One of the biggest problems for remote workers? Inactivity. You probably spend most of the day sitting down—and with no urgent need to leave the house, you might not be getting as many steps in. These factors can seriously affect your physical and mental health, leaving you feeling sluggish, lethargic and possibly leading to weight gain. Check out these simple strategies to stay healthy and avoid inactivity while working from home.
Stretch it out
Find that your neck, back or shoulders ache after a long day of work? Sitting down all day can wreak havoc with your joints, muscles and posture, but stretching can help to prevent potential aches and pains. You don’t need to be a pro-yogi to get started; check out The Daily Stretch for a series of simple stretches to try at home.
Get your steps in
When you work from home, getting your steps in can be a challenge—and even that’s an understatement! But walking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise available. It’s not only good for your mental health but can help to improve your cardiovascular fitness and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Try these simple tactics to get more steps into your daily routine and stay healthy while working from home:
- Set a daily goal: Get a smartwatch or use your phone and start tracking your steps. Try to set a goal that is both achievable and challenging for you. If you’re fairly sedentary now, 5k a day might be a good starting point.
- Listen to a podcast: Find walking boring? Listen to a podcast—it’s amazing how quickly the time goes by once you find a podcast you love!
- Walk while you’re on the phone: If you don’t need to be near the computer, answer work calls on your mobile and walk around the house whilst you’re chatting or sharing ideas.
- Make it a competition: Challenge your friends, family or colleagues to a steps challenge and see who can rack up the most steps every week. If you’ve got a competitive nature, this one could do wonders!
- Break up your steps: Don’t fancy taking a long walk? Short distances are great too. Taking several short 10–20 minute strolls might feel more achievable and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your steps mount up.
Try a home workout
Gyms might be shut during lockdown, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue (or start) your workout routine at home. All you need is some motivation, a pair of trainers and your water bottle to break a sweat and get those endorphins pumping.
A quick YouTube search will bring up an endless list of workouts to follow. If you’re new to home workouts, this Joe Wicks video or our home fitness challenges for beginners are both great starting points. And remember, you don’t have to do long or difficult workouts to improve your health. Even 10 minutes a day can lead to steady improvements in your fitness levels!
How to stay healthy while working from home
With some small tweaks and changes, it’s easy to stay healthy while working from home. Ultimately, we think it comes down to three things; eating well, moving more and feeling good by prioritising self-care. Most importantly, remember to be kind to yourself. None of us expected 2020 to present these challenges and it’s important, now than ever, that we give ourselves a break.
If you’re planning to use this lockdown to improve your health or nutrition or lose weight, give Purition a try. Good nutrition is the key to reaching your health goals, and our real food blends make good nutrition easy! High in protein, fibre, healthy fats and natural vitamins, one serving will keep you full for 4–5 hours and take the stress out of healthy eating—especially if you’re a busy home-worker.