Working from home can be a dream come true for some, but for others, it may lead to difficulty when it comes to healthy eating and exercise habits, or even mental health.
To find out what we can do to stay healthy, happy and motivated while working from home, WellTuned spoke to exercise, nutrition and mental health experts at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee to get some quick tips for work-at-home newbies and veterans alike.
1. Move your body.
It doesn’t have to be a typical workout. Commit to stretching your muscles at least 2-3 times per week, especially if you’re sitting all day. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends targeting each muscle group for 10-30 seconds and repeating 2-4 times. Looking to get started? Try the figure four, shoulder stretch or forward bend stretch.
“If you are looking for an at-home exercise program, try to engage your entire household,” Kyle Bush, manager of corporate fitness at BlueCross says, “Attempting a family workout can be rewarding. Think outside the box, like playing a card game where each card suit is a different exercise and the number on the card is the amount of repetitions.”
If you prefer to get your workout in on your own, try these exercises you can do at home.
2. Make a plan to eat well.
Because your kitchen is nearby, it’s easy to find yourself engaging in mindless eating throughout the day. With distractions you won’t find in a traditional office setting like household chores and children or pets, eating healthy can help you remain focused on your tasks at hand.
“Foods that can contribute to boosting energy levels include fruits and vegetables and whole-grain carbohydrates such as popcorn, nuts and seeds,” says Erica Fleming, a registered dietician-nutritionist at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. “Those foods contribute to feelings of fullness, which can help hold off the slump” that many feel in the afternoon.
Just as it’s important to take breaks for stretching, consider taking a few minutes throughout the day to record your food intake. This will ensure you are aware of the amount of food you’re consuming.
3. Maintain your mental health.
The isolation that comes from working from home can be a challenging adjustment. But remember, you’re not the only one – so stay connected. Pick up the phone, send that message and cultivate your network of friends, coworkers and loved ones.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may be due to a lack of boundaries between your work and personal space. Even if your new desk is a box, filled with old clothes, don’t let it double as a crafting table after hours.
Others may be feeling guilty over not maintaining their routines.
“The best way to deal with guilt is to take action and search for an answer,” says Jessica Love, a case manager with a focus in our behavioral health programs at BlueCross who is also a yoga instructor. “Be gentle with yourself. We cannot control what goes on in the greater world, but we can exercise control over our personal environment.”
What you focus on after hours, may also improve your well-being throughout the day. To stay engaged, even from your home, many sites are offering:
If you’re one of many whose children are at home with you, check out the children’s book authors who are hosting online readings and drawing sessions. This will help keep them active and learning while schools remain closed.