We’ve been doing it for months now. But have we really gotten it down yet? Now with the holidays upon us, and COVID cases on the rise, it is as important as ever to take care of ourselves at work and, well, at home.
Here are some healthy work from home tips:
- Routines — Do you even remember your regular routines? If you need a reminder, it probably went something like this, wake up, get dressed/get ready, make coffee, have breakfast, commute to work, work for about 8 hours taking a lunch break half way through, then commute home. Sound familiar? Now that you cut your commute time down from hours in traffic to seconds by walking to your home work station, what are you doing with that extra time? Do you find yourself getting straight to work after waking up and not shutting it off at the end of the day? Maintain your regular routine as much as possible. Replace your morning/evening commutes with something you like to do for yourself like working out (see tip #2). Create a new routine and stick with it.
- Keep moving — Find times throughout the day to keep your body moving and not just with your daily workout (because you are doing that anyway, right??). Experts recommend engaging in short bouts of movement for every 30 minutes of sitting. Set a timer to remind yourself to step away from your desk for a few minutes. Even if it is just taking that bathroom or water break you desperately need in between video calls. Or better yet, download that video chat app on your phone and take it outside. Believe me, everyone else on the call will be jealous that you turned it into a walking meeting for yourself.
- Emotional health — Keep your mental health in check by keeping up with friends. I know we’ve been calling it social distancing, but in reality, we can still socialize virtually, so technically, we are really just practicing physical distancing (which if I’m being totally honest, I am fine with continuing indefinitely if it means having more personal space while I wait in the grocery store checkout line). If not socializing/connecting, find something that will create a sense of peace or calm for your mind. Maybe take up meditation or get lost in a good book. And as a reminder, therapists have gone virtual as well. If you need a mental health check-up, I recommend checking first to see if your job offers an EAP (Employee Assistance Program). You can get a certain amount of therapy visits at no cost.
- Know when to shut work off — Remember how I mentioned routines earlier (tip #1)? It’s so easy to forget to put work aside now that we’re not commuting to an office and we all sleep with tiny little computers by our sides. Regardless if you’re salary or hourly, set standard work hours for yourself and don’t work outside of those hours. Let your colleagues know by saying something like, “I will respond between the hours of 8am and 6pm.” And maintain that boundary by NOT checking your phone/emails. If you set those boundaries and keep them strong, those trying to contact you will eventually get the message, that you have a life and are just not available during off hours.
- Plan your meals — Keep your nutrition plan going. It is essential to get proper nutrients especially during a global health crisis. I know it’s been easy to just order take-out and support your local restaurants, but try limiting that to one night a week and cook all your other meals. It will be better for your health and your wallet in the long run.
- Take time for yourself — You may or may not have a lot of other people at home right now living, working, and schooling, so make sure you get the opportunity for some alone time and practice self-care. Spending time alone on a regular basis has been proven to help reduce stress and increase mental wellness. Try making this part of your routine as well (tip #1) like reserving Saturday afternoons for a solo hike, or something else you like to do by yourself).
- Get outdoors — There’s one thing for sure we still need and that’s our daily dose of Vitamin D. Get moving outside or simply relax in the backyard. Find a new outdoor activity that you can enjoy. With the gyms closed, my partner and I started teaching Zumba classes outside and we’ve formed a community with the new people coming to our classes. You can check our schedule here in Sunnyvale, CA or search for outdoor fitness classes in your area.
Feel free to leave a comment below about how you’re keeping yourself healthy while working from home. Happy sheltering!