Laptop on a desk with fruit and vegetables next to it for a healthy snack while working from home.
Food,Health & Wellness,Work & Money

A Practical Guide To Staying Healthy While WFH

For nearly a year now, many of us have cut out the daily commute to the office. 

Getting to work now requires a short shuffle from bed to the kitchen table or the spare room in the mornings. And while working from home offers more flexibility and freedom, it also means we don’t actually need to leave the house for days on end. Plus, for many, finding the motivation to exercise and eat well is often a real struggle. 

Read on to find out some practical tips for staying fit and healthy while working from home. 

Keep your home and work life separate

When you’re working from home, it can be tough to maintain a boundary between your working day and your own personal time. But doing everything you can to create a division between the two is essential to staying healthy. 

Try to get into a good routine where you stick to regular working hours — start at the same time each day, take a proper lunch break, and make sure that you finish on time. You might feel under pressure to prove you’re working hard but longer hours won’t necessarily increase your productivity. You’ll end up tired, less focused, and easily distracted as you work into the evenings.

If you can’t set your home office up in a separate room then make a point of switching it off and putting it away at the end of the day and over the weekends. You need to be able to relax and unwind without being tempted to check your emails or worrying about something you haven’t quite finished.

Without a clear divide between your working day and home life, it can feel like you’re always working, and you’ll end up unmotivated, stressed and burnout.

Stick to a healthy diet

Your diet is one thing that often suffers when you don’t have the structure of going into an office each day. It’s easier to end up snacking at your desk all day when no one else is around to see it — and takeaways and other unhealthy treats can be all too tempting if you’re feeling a bit unmotivated or burnout. However, over time eating the wrong food is just going to make you feel even worse.

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Try to plan out your meals each week and focus on eating a good balance of fruit, vegetables, protein, fibre, fat, and carbohydrates to ensure that your body is getting everything that it needs. 

Cook as many meals from scratch as you can so you know exactly what’s in them. A great time-saving hack is to make bigger quantities so that you can freeze portions for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner.

Some of the important vitamins you need to ensure you’re getting enough of are:

  • Vitamin C: This plays an important part in boosting your immune system, plus it’s an antioxidant so it helps reduce premature ageing. You can find it in oranges, cherries, red peppers, and kale.
  • Vitamin B12: Helps keep your blood cells and nerves healthy, and also helps your body to convert food into energy. It’s found in beef, chicken, eggs, and fish, as well as some fortified cereals.
  • Vitamin D: An essential vitamin for healthy bones and teeth, plus it reduces your risk of certain cancer and heart disease. Your body creates Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but it’s also found in salmon, cereal, eggs, and broccoli.
  • Vitamin A: This is important for your eyes, skin, and immune system. Find it in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and broccoli.  

Find a good fitness routine 

Your fitness levels can drop significantly when you’re working from home. There’s no commute to and from the office each day, you’re less likely to pop out at lunchtime to grab some food, and you’re not moving about an office to talk to people or attend meetings. It’s very easy to find yourself sitting at your desk all day and then just taking a few steps to relax on the sofa for the evening.

You need to add some regular exercise to your schedule to stay healthy — both physically and mentally — but this is easier said than done if your motivation has dropped off. 

Just getting outside each day for a walk is a good starting point. A short stroll before you start work or on your lunch break can do a lot to clear your thoughts and help you focus for the rest of the day.

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However, it’s also important to do regular cardio exercise as it can significantly boost your fitness, lower your blood pressure, and strengthen the immune system. If you struggle with getting into a good exercise routine then sign up to a fitness plan or an app like Couch to 5K. It’ll help you stick to a plan if it feels achievable, and you’ll be motivated to do the next session by automated reminders.

You could also arrange to go running or cycling on a regular basis with a friend so that you can motivate each other. You’re less likely to give up if you feel like you’re letting someone else down.

Get a good night’s rest 

It’s also important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. You might be able to get up a bit later because you don’t have to travel for work, but you still need to get between seven and nine hours of rest.

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Lack of sleep has a serious impact on your mental health — it makes it harder to stay focused, increases your stress levels, and makes even simple tasks seem more difficult. 

If you find that you struggle to drift off then you need to rethink your bedtime routine. Avoid looking at any screens for a couple of hours before bedtime. That means no late-night binge watching Netflix or scrolling through social media. Try reading a book or listening to music so that you can unwind and relax. 

Meditation can also help you get to sleep if you find your mind is still racing when you go to bed. There are a number of different apps you can use that provide guided meditations to help you drift off.

Finding the motivation to stay fit and healthy while working from home can be difficult. But follow these simple steps, get yourself into a better routine, and you’ll start to feel more energetic and positive. 

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