Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Looking After Yourself When You Work From Home

We all know that we have to look after ourselves if we want to live long and healthy lives. We know that regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle can help us to live longer. To fight off and even prevent disease. Even to look and feel better. Most of us know that this healthy lifestyle needs to include a balanced diet filled with vitamins and minerals, lots of water, plenty of sleep and rest, and exercise. We know that we need to move more, talk about our problems and make healthy choices.

But it's not always that easy. Many people struggle to fit everything they need into their busy schedules and find conflicting advice and information confusing and counterproductive.

Those of us that work from home can have an even harder time. If you've gone from a busy job where you are always on the go, where you move around a lot and only get a short lunch break, it can be a big transition. You might not have always eaten well or made time to go to the gym when you were at work, and the expression lines might have deepened through stress, but you were active. You spent a lot of your time on your feet, you were around other people, and you couldn't snack whenever you fancied it.

Now, you work from home, and you might spend hours and hours alone. You might find that you work late into the night and sleep in. That you don't take enough time off to relax and unwind. That you struggle to sleep, you might also find that you work in your PJs and spend vast amounts of time sitting on your sofa. As times gone on you might have noticed that you don't wear makeup on even brush your hair on workdays, why would you when no one else will see you? Most homeworkers end up snacking endlessly. They reward themselves with food breaks, and spend a lot of their working hours sat next to a packet of cookies. You work hard, you're busier than you've ever been before, and you'll do whatever it takes to make your days easier, whether these things are good for you or not.

You might be happy with the idea that working from home might mean that you gain a little weight. Thinking that it's worth it for the flexibility and freedom that working from home brings you. But, are you as happy with the idea of the long term effects of an unhealthy lifestyle? Would you be happy with mental health issues, constant fatigue, oily skin, varicose veins, headaches and eventually more severe health conditions? I'm guessing not. Let's take a look at some of the ways that you can look after yourself when you work from home.

Get Dressed

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Some days, when you’re feeling under the weather or a little down, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a PJ day in front of the TV. In fact, binging on Netflix and cookies can be a great way to recharge and treat yourself, which we all need from time to time. Occasionally, working like this can be a treat too. But, try not to do it all of the time.

Working in your PJs might seem easy and comfortable, but it’s not good for you. Your confidence will slide, your mood and behaviors will be affected, and you won’t work to your best.

Get up in the morning, have a shower and get dressed. You can dress for a day at the office if that helps you get into the right mindset to work, but even jeans and a T-shirt will do. It’s more hygienic, you’ll sit taller, and you’ll feel more focused and alert. Starting your day with this tiny act of self-care can help you to start it right.

Get Outside

Sitting inside staring at a computer all day, whether it’s at home or in an office, is bad for you. It’s bad for your eyesight. It could give you headaches and affect your posture. It can lead to obesity and poor quality of sleep. When you work from home alone, it can also lead to feelings of isolation, especially if you work like this every day.

Instead, get out when you can. When the weather is nice, take your laptop to the local park or cafe and work outdoors. Walk to the library and work there for a little bit. Or, just step out for a breath of fresh air whenever you can.

Go for a Walk

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Obesity and weight gain is a big problem for those working from home. It’s easy to eat the wrong foods, and even if you worked in an office before, without any kind of commute, you might already be burning a lot less calories.

Get up and go out for a long walk either before you start work, on your lunch break or at the end of your working day. You’ll burn more calories and use your muscles. It will boost your circulation and help you to sleep. Even a 30 minute walk every day can make a massive difference. Consider investing in an activity tracker to keep you motivated to move.

Get Up Every Hour

These long walks are fantastic, but if you are still sitting still for long periods, you should make more changes. Sitting still for hours at a time is another cause of weight gain, it can be bad for your posture and circulation and cause conditions like varicose veins.

Every hour, stand up and move around for a few minutes. Jog on the spot or pace around your kitchen while you are waiting for coffee to brew. Do some stretches after you finish each job on your to-do list, and generally try to move as much as you can.

Prepare Lunches

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Diet is another big problem for those that work from home. When you work out of the house, you are limited to the food that you’ve taken with you, or what you can buy in the local area (and at least then you have to walk for it). At home, you can eat anything that you’ve got in, whenever you want. You might find that you grab quick, unhealthy lunches, snack frequently, and eat at random times.

It can help to prepare lunches in advance. Cook some healthy meals or pack up some sandwiches and salads that you can just grab out of the fridge.

Stick to a Routine

It’s also a good idea to stick to a routine. Work the same days and times each week as much as possible. Get up at the same time every workday, have a shower and start work at the same time. Have a proper lunch break, at a regular lunchtime. Then, try to finish at the same time every day. When you’ve finished, go for a walk, to the gym or spend some time with your partner or friends to get out of work mode ready to relax.

Clock Off

Most homeworkers are guilty of working all of the time. Even when they have finished for the day, and even if they are out socializing or spending time with family, they don’t ever really clock off. They still check emails and update social media. They make work calls or search for opportunities. This kind of behavior isn’t healthy. Once you’ve stopped for the day, stop. Don’t check your phone until the next morning. Take some proper time off.

This goes for full days too. Give yourself at least one full day completely away from work each week, and take the occasional holiday.

Sort Your Office Out

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Having an office space, away from the distractions of everyday home life can be a big help. It can help you to stick to your routine and focus on work. It can also make it easier to clock off at the end of your working day.

Find a comfortable and supportive chair, keep your desk tidy and your walls light and add artwork and plants that make you feel comfortable and at peace. This can make you more productive.

If you haven’t got the room for a home office, add a desk and create a workspace in another room in your home.

Take Sick Days

Most of us are reluctant to take time off, more so if we work from home. We think that we’re at home, we can take care of ourselves and manage. But, you shouldn’t. If you are ill, take a sick day. Don’t work, give yourself some time to get better and do whatever you need to.

If you want to take care of yourself and continue to lead a healthy lifestyle while you work from home, you need to make the choices that ensure it’s possible. Don’t let your work life become an excuse to neglect your health and wellbeing, and don’t let yourself neglect your health and happiness because you are busy. Make time for yourself, take care of yourself and find the right balance. You’ll live longer, feel better and work harder.

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