5 Steps for happy & healthy home working
We live in unprecedented times and many of us are having to embrace changes beyond our control. These 5 steps will help you to keep a healthy mind and body if you're experiencing your first bout of home-working.
With more and more employees being asked to work remotely it’s time to look at how best to cope with the impact of forced isolation. Change can be hard, especially when it's beyond our personal control. These 5 steps will help you to maintain some control and normality, helping you to stay strong.
I’ve worked from home for the past ten 10 years, so I'm no stranger being the only person "in the office". I've been through a myriad of emotions, from being disheartened by the deafening silence that comes when there are no colleagues chattering in the background, felt the loneliness of having no one to share wins with to the joy of working with music on in the background to being able to work in shorts and t-shirt when we were caught in a heatwave.
I've experienced a multitude of highs and lows over the years, and I've found a few simple steps that always help me to stay mentally and physically well. I'd like to share those with you below in the hope that one or all of them might help you too.
While many people resent the daily commute, there’s no denying that having a reason to leave the house can have a massive impact on mental well-being. Working from home isn’t always as easy as it appears!
Here are my top 5 tips for making sure that you emerge from enforced isolation happy and healthy.
Set up coffee break calls with other remote/home working colleagues.
The tendency at home is to work without breaks. Don’t underestimate the power of taking regular breaks when you work from home. These will keep you motivated and refreshed. Chances are that you’ll be missing the chatter, so why not agree set times to have a Skype, Zoom or FaceTime call with one or two colleagues where you can share a coffee and chat about your day.
Exercise is even more important!
Working from home means you’re doing much less physical activity. There’s no walking around the office, walking up and down stairs, or walk from the carpark or bus/train/tram stop to the office. Physical movement is essential to mental and physical wellbeing so be sure that you make time to exercise. Try walking for 15 minutes two or three times per day. It will be easier to do it in short bursts than trying to cram in a whole hour of exercise. Maybe you could walk to work by leaving the house and walking around the block at the start and end of the day or walk up and down the steps once every hour. Whatever you choose, be mindful while you're doing it. Allow your mind to focus solely on the movement, this will help to destress your mind as well as your body.
Watch what you eat.
Don’t be tempted to snack just because you’re at home and close to the snack drawer! You’ll be using fewer calories by working from home so be sure that your calorie intake doesn’t increase. Keep healthy snacks close for example vegetable batons rather than biscuits. Increasing the amount of water that you drink will help to curb your sweet tooth and will help keep your body hydrated which will positively impact motivation and the feel good factor.
Create a playlist of your favourite tunes
Play upbeat music in the background. It doesn’t have to be loud but some background noise can very positively affect productivity and mood. There are also websites and apps available that play the sounds of coffee shops so that it feels as though you’re surrounded by other people. Silence isn't necessarily the best 'noise' for working, so mix it up by experimenting until you find the perfect combination to help you through your day. Here are two sites where you can play coffee shop sounds: https://coffitivity.com/ and https://mynoise.net/NoiseMachines/cafeRestaurantNoiseGenerator.php
Wear something that makes you feel good.
Get dressed for work. Working in pjs is not an option. If you want to stay upbeat, optimistic and mentally resilient then be sure to dress for the work you’re doing. In times of crisis it’s important to maintain as much normality as possible. You can do this by staying clean, wearing makeup if that’s your normal practice, and dressing in a way that helps you to feel ‘at work’.
I’d love to hear how you stay healthy and happy working from home. Share your tips with me in the comments below.