Recent years saw a sudden surge in the number of people working remotely. Once a radical approach to doing work, working from home has become a trend for many companies.
More and more people are now calling their home offices their primary place of work. Others work at cafes and co-working spaces in various parts of the world.
The flexibility that remote work brings creates this opportunity to build a lifestyle drastically different from traditional office workers. People are gushing that remote work offers a healthier work environment, as it no longer confines workers within the four corners of the so-called “office prisons.”
But after a careful look into remote work, we can surmise that it only removes the fixed work location. It did not magically cause the disappearance of work pressure, tight schedules, and a toxic work environment.
Moreover, the remote work setup does not guarantee that staff members are motivated to lead a healthy and outgoing lifestyle.
Remote workers still need to work on striking that elusive work-life balance. Remember that no longer working at an office does not free you from stress factors that may affect your health.
That’s why self-care is still essential while working remotely.
To give you tips, here are some ideas for working happily and productively from home while reducing stress. These tips are from my experience as a virtual worker for nearly a decade and from people I have met through the years as a remote worker.
Because the challenges of working from home can impact one’s physical, social, and psychological health, it is critical to monitor all of these aspects of wellness.
Here are the steps you can take to achieve that healthy lifestyle while working remotely:
1. Eat a nutritious diet
Starting a healthy lifestyle by eating well is a no-brainer.
A wise philosopher once said, “health starts with what you ingest into your body.” And the first step toward committing to a healthy lifestyle is to plan a clean and healthy diet.
However, albeit highly recommended, you do not that need to seek the assistance of a licensed nutritionist. You can start by researching easy-to-prepare and preservative-free meals that you can cook and store ahead of a work week.
A nutritionist can make your life easier by advising you on what to eat and when to eat it based on your preferences and resources. The nutritionist can also prepare a diet plan focusing on your specific dietary needs.
But hiring a nutritionist is an additional cost that you might not need.
A healthy diet, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), includes the following:
- legumes (e.g., lentils and beans)
- whole grains
These are all excellent sources of fiber (e.g., unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat, and brown rice).
Based on experience, a more fibrous diet fills me up without feeling lethargic. I don’t feel sleepy, and my bed does not tempt me to take afternoon naps that may screw my work schedule and deadlines.
Also, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should eat breakfast and avoid skipping it. Thus, starting your day with a filling breakfast is highly advisable to give you much-needed energy.
The proximity of the kitchen while working from home does not help also. Many keep chocolates and junk food in their pantries for a quick remedy to sudden hunger. But it would be better to store healthy bits, like dried fruits and nuts, to munch while finishing crucial tasks.
2. Maintain a regular sleep schedule
According to the Sleep Foundation, sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, making you feel refreshed and alert. Studies have confirmed that the brain cannot properly function if you do not get enough sleep.
Lack of sleep can impair your ability to concentrate, think clearly, and process memories. Thus, a good night’s sleep helps the body stay healthy and avoid diseases.
Healthy sleeping suggestions
- Maintain consistency in your sleep patterns. Put yourself to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning, even on weekends.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and relaxing, and the temperature is comfortable.
- Stop using electronic devices as much as possible, including televisions, computers, and smartphones.
- Avoid taking up large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bed. The last one is optional, as I love a glass of red wine before hitting the sack.
- Get some physical activity. Physical activity during the day can use up your excess energy and helps you fall asleep more easily at night.
3. Exercise regularly
The World Health Organization defines physical activity as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that necessitate energy expenditure.”
Physical activity encompasses all movement, whether in leisure time, transportation to and from places, or part of a person’s job. Studies have confirmed that physical activity of both moderate and vigorous intensity improves health.
Physical activity and exercise can enhance your health and reduce your chances of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Both have immediate and long-term health benefits. Most importantly, regular physical activity can help you feel better in general.
Some popular ways to stay active are taking daily walks, cycling, wheeling, and playing sports. Creating an exercise regimen can start small, and you gradually increase its intensity along the way.
4. Set up your home office for maximum comfort and posture.
You can avoid back pains by setting up a home office with a good and comfortable chair. A good chair with excellent back and lumbar support can spell a difference when you spend hours sitting.
The CDC stated that the ideal office chair has armrests and a seat height that allows your feet to rest flat on the floor. The hips and knees should form a 90-degree angle or slightly more. You may invest in a chair supporting the lower back curve.
A computer display should be at least an arm’s length away from your eyes, with its top at or below eye level. You can also maximize the office lighting by opening the window to allow more natural light.
A comfortable workspace is not only about having a comfortable ergonomic office chair. It is also about an office that is uncluttered, clean, and encourages efficiency.
5. Maintain a routine
It’s simple to hit the snooze button numerous times if you’re fortunate enough to have a flexible schedule. By working from home, your bed is just nearby and can be enticing for a quick nap.
But naps can be prone to oversleeping and ruining your entire work shift. As such, I encourage you to stick to a schedule to be the most efficient remote worker you can be. Choose your working hours and stick to them as much as possible.
A planned and productive daily routine will make you feel better emotionally and mentally.
YOU CAN ALSO READ MORE: A Survival Guide for Remote Workers
6. Take a quick stroll from time to time.
Studies have demonstrated walking helps improve your bad mood, anxiety, and depression. Walking might also assist you if you have difficulty solving work challenges. Getting up and moving around can help you overcome mental obstacles by releasing endorphins.
7. Strive for a work-life balance.
Business and personal life barriers might get blurred when people work from home. As a result, it’s beneficial to establish space boundaries, such as having a separate workspace with its door if possible.
According to the American Health Information Management Association, people should set time limits in their daily work schedules. According to AHIMA, this should include a 15-minute lunch break, a 15-minute morning break, and a 15-minute afternoon break.
8. Take good care of your vision.
When you work from home, you need to give your eyes a break, just like the rest of your body. So, every 20 minutes, glance away from your screen to anything 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds or longer. It will allow your eyes to rest and recover, avoiding eye strain and headaches.
9. Keep yourself hydrated.
Water is essential for various reasons, including regulating body temperature, keeping joints lubricated, preventing infections, delivering nutrients to cells, and keeping organs functioning properly. Sleep quality, cognition, and happiness are all improved by being hydrated.
The best beverage is water, but modest coffee and tea are also good. It would be best if you avoid those tempting sugary drinks such as sodas, energy drinks, and artificial fruit juices.
10. Allow yourself some “me” time.
Self-care is frequently associated with indulgence: mud masks, long baths, goblets of wine, and lying in bed till noon. However, as the ideas on this list demonstrate, self-care entails making oneself a priority daily, especially when working from home.
Find healthy ways to comfort yourself, set priorities, stay connected, and create structure.
These things can give you a much-needed sense of control, which translates to turning work into a purposeful activity rather than another enormous stressor, especially given that none of us knows what lies ahead.
One of the best features of remote work is its flexibility to work from wherever you are. You can design a work regimen that fits your lifestyle and then change it whenever you want.
You can add variation to your daily routine by making modest adjustments, such as modifying the time you take your lunch break or exercise. If you spend most of your time working indoors, take a few minutes each morning before settling into your home office or in the afternoon to get some fresh air.
Whether or not the sun is shining to provide some vitamin D, going outside for a brief period can help alleviate stress and anxiety.
It is tempting to put your health on the back burner when you work from home. But by taking a few simple measures to incorporate wellness and healthy choices into your workday, you can be a happier, healthier, and more productive work-at-home employee.