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Staying Healthy When You’re Working from Home

Working from home might have its benefits, but it also presents some sticky issues. At first, the idea of working from home can seem amazing. You get some of your time back and you don’t have anyone watching over you while you work. But you can quickly find that there are problems that can make the experience a bit less pleasant. One of the things that you can discover is difficult to manage when you work from home is staying healthy. Maybe you used to do part of your commute on foot or by bike, but now you barely leave the house. Perhaps you’re feeling lonely without colleagues to chat to.

Looking after your health when you work from home can be tough, but there are lots of ways you can care for yourself. If you want to combat the sedentary, solitary nature of working from home, here’s how you can make sure you stay as healthy as possible.

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Eating Healthy While You’re at Home

You might think that working from home automatically makes it a lot easier to eat healthily. You have complete control over what you eat, and there’s less temptation to go out on your lunch break to buy something. You have everything that you need at home. Unfortunately, the reality is that you can end up not eating healthy at all. If you’ve got snacks in the house, it’s very easy to spend the day munching your way through them. Plus, with so many delivery apps and websites, it’s so easy to get yourself a cheeky takeaway for lunch.

The best way to eat healthy when you’re working from home is to try and plan your meals. When you have a plan, you can stick to it and make sure you have healthy lunches. You can prepare your lunches and snacks in advance or use the advantage of being at home to cook yourself something during your lunch break. Being able to enjoy a fresh lunch made from scratch can make being at home worth it. As for snacks, if you find it hard to resist eating them when you have them at home, try to save them for the weekends.

Make sure you stay hydrated when you’re working from home too, and perhaps try to limit your caffeine intake. It’s easy to keep making yourself tea or coffee when the kitchen is right there, but sometimes you need to stick to water. If you find that you get lost in your work, set reminders to take breaks and have a drink.

Getting Enough Exercise

Working from home often limits the amount of exercise that you get. A lot of people get some of their exercise during their commute. You might walk or cycle for part of it, or even just stand up on public transport for a while. Some people also spend a fair amount of time walking around the office, doing various tasks, and seeing colleagues. At home, you might not have an excuse to even leave the house. If you find that you’re more sedentary when working from home, the best way to change this is to build exercise into your routine.

Working from home means you don’t have a commute, and you often have a more flexible schedule too. Even if you still have to drop the kids off at school, you probably have a bit more time to yourself in the morning. This can be a great time to do some exercise, even if it’s just going for a walk. Your lunch break could also be a good time for a workout, or you could plan it for the end of the workday when you would normally be stuck in rush hour.

You can do your workout at home, but it’s also a good idea to get outside. Joining a gym or finding a group that you can work out with will give you somewhere else to go. You could also build your exercise into other things that you need to do. If you need to go shopping, why not consider walking or cycling instead of driving? Not only will you get exercise getting there and back, but you’ll also have shopping to carry back with you to help improve your strength and endurance.

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Combating the Effects of Deskworking

Sitting at a desk all day can be bad for you in several ways. It makes your life more sedentary, and it can have an effect on your back and other parts of your body too. And when you might not be getting as much exercise, you could find the effects of desk working take hold even faster. If you want to stay healthy while working at a desk, the best thing you can do is make sure you have the right setup.

When first working from home, a lot of people might just rig up whatever they can for the time being. However, if you’re working at home long-term, you need a proper home office space. Even if you don’t have a whole room to use, you can still set up a home office that’s comfortable for you. Instead of working at the dining table, get yourself a good desk that’s the right height or even a standing desk. Make sure you have a comfortable, ergonomic desk chair that supports your back and the rest of your body. Get a mouse and keyboard that are comfortable to use, and consider getting a rest for your wrists too.

As well as making sure you have the right home office setup, be sure to take regular breaks and stretch.

Self-care at Home

Self-care is always important, and it can become even more so when you’re working at home. You need to look after your body and mind to keep yourself on an even keel. Self-care, when you’re working from home, can often mean managing your schedule well so that you meet all of your needs. Maintaining a good sleep schedule is an important part of self-care, as is having a routine for getting ready in the morning and getting ready for bed. You might be working from home, but it’s still a good idea to get dressed properly so that you’re in the right mindset for working. Even if you dress in comfy clothes, it’s better than staying in your pyjamas all day.

Taking regular breaks is important if you want to take care of yourself when working from home. Having ways to de-stress is essential, so allow yourself the time and space to relax and let go of your work. Even though you’re working on your own all day (physically, at least), you should still make time for yourself away from your work.

Keeping a Work-Life Balance

A balance between work and your personal life can be hard to maintain when you’re working from home. Your work is always right there, so it can be hard to let go and log off at the end of the day. At the same time, all of the things in your personal life and at home can provide distractions, tempting you from turning away from your work. Getting the balance right can be tricky.

This is another issue that a clear schedule can help with. When you have set times to start and end work, it makes it easier to step away. It can also help to have separate devices for work and your personal life. Make sure you have a work laptop and phone (which will often be provided by your employer) so that you can put them away outside of work hours. It’s important to include time for your own things in your schedule, whether it’s relaxing at home, going to the gym, or seeing friends.

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Staying Connected to Others

Working at home can be a little lonely. You might have contact with your colleagues throughout the day, but it’s not exactly the same as being in the same office as them. You might rely on video chats to spend time with them, which not everyone enjoys. If you’re worried about being lonely when you work at home, you should ensure you make plans to be social with others. You can still meet up with colleagues if you’re close enough to do so. Some people even work in the office for a day or two each week so they can keep in touch with everyone and everything that’s happening.

Of course, there are people outside of work who you can spend time with too. If you have more free time when you’re working at home, you might have more time to spend with friends and family. You could also have more time and energy to meet new people and experience different social activities, including joining new groups or finding fun things to do both online and offline. Make an effort to connect with others so you’re not isolated at home.

Working from home can have its downsides, but it doesn’t have to stop you from staying healthy. Take care of yourself and you can live a healthy lifestyle when working at home.

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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