With more people working from home, a common question has come up – how do I get more exercise and avoid eating too much when I am at home full-time? But don’t worry, it is possible to improve your physical health even while working from home, just like if you were working in an office.
Here are 10 different things to focus on when it comes to staying healthy while working from home.
1. Staying Active and Stretching
One of the best things you can do when you work from home is to stay active. Even if you sit at a desk or work on the couch with your laptop all day, there are still plenty of opportunities to move your body.
Make it a goal to move more throughout the day, not only with daily exercise, but getting up from your day and stretching more often.
Here are some ideas:
Start your day with a gentle workout session – In the morning, you can boost your energy and move your body with a gentle form of exercise. Yoga and Pilates are great for the morning, but a short walk would also be great.
Find more reasons to walk during your day – Walking is the gentlest form of exercise, and the easiest to do. You can walk your dogs a little further than you normally would, go on a family walk around the neighborhood after dinner, or walk to run errands if it’s close enough to your house instead of driving.
Add in other forms of exercise – What else do you enjoy doing? Do you want to take an afternoon spin class with a friend? Do you like getting out of the house to go on a hike or head to the gym? Find more forms of exercise that will motivate you.
2. Nutrition While Working from Home
Another pitfall that people often fall into when working from home is snacking or indulging in treats all day. If you have found that your nutrition is falling behind from working near your kitchen all day, here are some tips that can help:
Have healthy snacks on hand – If you tend to reach for chips or candy often, keep healthier snacks within your reach. Have fruit or nuts on your desk, keep granola bars on the counter, make sure your fresh fruit and veggies are visible, instead of a box of donuts on the counter.
Do meal prep – Meal prep works great when you work from home too! This does not just have to be for bringing lunch to work. The more you have prepared at home, the less tempted you will be to order food delivery or go out to eat.
Designated kitchen times – A common trap when working from home is feeling like you can walk into the kitchen at any time and eat something. To prevent this, have designated kitchen and meal times just like you would if you worked in an office.
3. Developing Healthier Habits
Staying healthy while working from home isn’t about being on a diet or trying to be restrictive. It is about balance, which starts with developing some healthy habits.
Do you eat better when you have your workout first thing in the morning? Then you know this can be a wonderful healthy habit for you! Habits don’t have to feel like a chore or something you are forcing to do. It is very small changes in your day that make the difference.
Try working on your daily routines. From morning routines to what you do in the afternoon, you can change your routines in order to be healthier at home.
Get your family involved. Sometimes, what you need is to focus on the health of your family, not just yourself. Let your kids help with meal times, exercise with the family, and find family-focused activities to get you up and moving throughout the day.
4. Finding Your Health Motivation
What is the reason you want to be healthier while working from home? This is where you can start, and will help with not just your health, but your happiness when you are at home working all day.
Make a list of everything that is motivating you to be healthier, starting with your WHY.
Answer this question in your journal or in a notebook:
“Why do you want to be healthier while working from home?”
This is important, because it helps you understand yourself a little more, and find what is going to motivate you the most. There is no wrong answer here, except one where you aren’t being honest with yourself.
5. Creating a Healthy Morning Routine
To start working on your healthy habits at home, begin with your morning routine. Don’t worry about having a perfect routine or one that you get 100% right every day. Routines are simply a collection of activities you do around the same time each day.
Everything in your routine should serve some kind of purpose and be something you want to get done in the morning, or that will help you start your day on the right foot.
Benefits of the Morning Routine
Why have a morning routine? When you are working from home, you need some structure. Without a boss looking over your shoulder or co-workers to be accountable to, it requires a lot more self-motivation. This also includes your health journey while working from home.
Some benefits of having a morning routine include:
Starting your day off with healthy habits
Incorporating healthy habits into your routine
Setting yourself up for the day
Getting in exercise first thing in the morning
Changing your mindset to a healthy, balanced one
6. Health Pitfalls to Avoid
It is really easy to think the habits and routines you have implemented in your work-from-home life are for health, but many of them are about losing weight or being overly restrictive. Here are some pitfalls to avoid when you are on a health journey:
Going on a restrictive diet – Many people think that to eat healthy, they need to be on a diet. But this is not true! Change your mindset from what you need to take away from your diet to what you can add in to improve the nutrients and fuel your body.
Focusing on the wrong things – When it comes to your health, it is more about how you feel, not what you think you should be doing. This goes for everything you do at home, from your physical activity and what you eat, to the information you consume and what your routine looks like.
Feeling like you aren’t doing enough – Any small change you make or healthy habit you incorporate into your work-from-home life is going to improve your physical health and wellbeing. It is enough.
7. Taking Regular Breaks
Make sure you have a balanced work schedule throughout the day, including taking enough breaks. Think of your work-from-home schedule just like a schedule if you were in the office still. This includes a morning and afternoon break, and a lunch break! If you would get up every hour to move and stretch your body in the office, then you should be doing that now as well.
Do desk stretches – There are stretches you can do while sitting down or standing. These give you the opportunity to look somewhere other than your computer screen, stretch your body, and hopefully stand up to stretch out your legs as well.
Walk around – Also use your breaks as a chance to get up and walk around your house or office space.
Make adjustments – Do you feel like your neck is stiff or back is hurting? You may be sitting incorrectly. Check the ergonomics of your workstation, whether you are working at a desk or your kitchen table.
8. Environmental Changes
The environment where you work at home can also make a big difference in your health and wellbeing. Here are some things you can change in your environment for your health:
Setting up your workspace – Make sure your workspace is set up for focus and productivity, including a desk or table that is comfortable, all the accessories you need to get work done, proper lighting, and a way to cancel out noise or distractions.
Having healthy resources at home – It is also good to have resources available to you at home to improve your health if this is a priority. This might be nutritious food and snacks, home workout accessories, or just some house plants in your office to get you in the healthy mindset.
Designated break areas – Taking a break at home is a little different from a traditional workplace, since you are already in your relaxing place. This is why having a designated workspace AND a designated place to take your breaks is so essential.
9. Your Work-Life Balance
Everyone needs a good work-life balance, whether you work from home or out of the home. But it tends to be a little more complicated when your home is also your office.
One of the best things you can do for your work-life balance when you work from home is to have a schedule that tells you when you start work, and when you stop. Avoid bringing your laptop to the couch or your bed to get work done before or after your work day is meant to begin.
This small change in addition to having a separate workspace will make a big difference in your work-life balance.
10. Are You Ready to Be Healthier?
Let’s summarize how to be healthier at home and make sure you are ready and on the right path.
Small habits for big changes – Remember that it is not about changing your entire life if you want to be healthier. Just choose some smaller habits, and working from home will benefit you greatly.
Find your motivation – What motivates YOU to be healthier might not motivate anyone else. Be honest with yourself about what you are trying to achieve.
Set health goals – Lastly, set some goals for yourself when it comes to your health. What are you trying to improve? What are you struggling with right now? The more specific your goals are, the easier they will be to achieve.