7 Ways to Maintain Your Health While Working from Home
Many of us have been working (or looking for work) from home during the pandemic. Even with the vaccine rollout moving along at a blistering pace, we still don’t know exactly when pandemic restrictions will end. All this uncertainty can make it hard to maintain your health and mental wellness. Even after the so-called normal resumes, plenty of people who transitioned to remote work will keep working from home, so it’s critical to maintain your health while doing so. And health extends beyond the physical – mental health is just as vital.
One benefit of lockdown (silver linings!) has been how technology has stepped in and stepped up to keep us safe and maintain something that resembles a pre-pandemic routine. Technology has helped us stay fed, employed, occupied, connected, and active as we manage everything from the safety of home. Health is not one-dimensional. There a many pieces that make up the healthy whole, and each on is as important as any of the others. Let’s consider each of these aspects of staying healthy while working remotely — and using tech to do so.
Start with a Secure and Healthy Household
When you spend most of your time at home, it’s a good idea to give your house some extra attention. That may be one reason why construction costs are through the roof these days! Home should be a place of sanctuary and reprieve. But when you’re working from home, it also needs to be a productive place. Both traditional and smart tech can help you keep your household safe, secure, and healthy.
- Look into a home security system and monitoring app. Many are plug-and-play now, and can provide increased peace of mind.
- Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries if necessary. Ideally, you should inspect your each of detectors monthly, and replace batteries once a year.
- Add an air purifier as a further precaution against respiratory illness. Those that are HEPA certified will filter out just about everything, from virus to allergens.
- Consider a generator to provide backup power in case of electrical outages. This is especially important if you live somewhere that experiences harsh weather or if you’re on an aging power grid.
Taking precautions associated with the finer details in your home can make the difference between health and illness. And can even mean the difference between life and death! Knowing that you’ve taken these safety precautions can help you relax and rest easy, knowing you’ve made your home a safer place.
Make Smart Nutrition Choices
Even during quarantine, you’ve got to eat. But grocery stores are often crowded, and many people still aren’t quite comfortable with indoor dining. Sure, it’s easy to Postmates some pizza or your favorite takeout, but over time, this diet can have negative effects on your overall health (and not to mention your wallet!).
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t keep all the benefits of ordering food from your phone. You can still take advantage of mobile apps to order groceries for delivery. You’ll have healthier options, and it’s easy to do. Plus, you can sometimes get discount by setting up recurring orders of the products you use the most.
If your local grocery store doesn’t have what you need, you can look to InstaCart or Amazon Fresh for healthy, fresh food options. And if you’re one of those people who dreads the question “what are we having for dinner?” consider exploring a meal kit service! It’s perfect for nights when you just can’t figure out a menu. Plus you don’t have to measure or hunt down odd ingredients in advance.
Designate an Exercise Spot
Too hot to go for a walk or run? Rainy weather keeping you couch-bound? Making time to work out, stretch, or meditate is harder if you don’t have the indoor space for it. Start thinking about designating an exercise spot so you can continue workouts if your gym is still closed or you aren’t comfortable being indoors in public. A home fitness corner doesn’t need to dominate your living room – a small corner is all you really need.
Start by clearing out the clutter, donating anything you don’t need, and throwing out extraneous junk. Channel your inner Marie Kondo! If you’re having trouble letting go (sometimes, everything sparks joy…), you can rent a storage locker to help you hang onto things you just aren’t ready to say goodbye to yet. If you want, you can go hardcore and convert an extra bedroom or basement into a home gym. But it’s not necessary!
Once you get your space set up, create a routine. From stationary cycling to weights to yoga, creative online options can keep you exercising. Apps and YouTube videos are great resources to get you into a good groove.
Many companies include wearable fitness trackers that provide access to coaching and workout advice as well as your body’s biometric data. Others offer a social media platform to help you connect to your workout community. Getting active is great because it will boost your immune system, increase your overall health, significantly reduce your risk of serious COVID symptoms, and boost endorphins.
Don’t Forget Your Finances
Stressing over resources is one of the longest-standing health detriments that humans still experience. Thousands of years ago, we fretted over finding enough firewood and food, but these days, money tends to cause the most stress. By getting your money under control, you’ll be able to reduce this major stress point. There are dozens of platforms, services, and apps that can help you work toward financial security. But there are 5 key ways to keep your money matters in check.
No matter what tool you use to manage them, have a way to work on:
- Creating a household budget.
- Tracking your daily expenses.
- Setting and meeting goals for your savings.
- Improving your credit.
- Making solid investments.
Getting a handle on your money issues can cut your stress in half. Start by setting financial goals, then begin taking the proactive steps necessary to achieve them. Soon you’ll be on your way to financial freedom.
Connect with Telemedicine
Telehealth options have expanded exponentially during lockdown, allowing more people to access medical care without going to an office or clinic. Connect with doctors for exams, diagnosis, treatment, and prescriptions from the comfort of home. You’ll enjoy the convenience and safety while helping lighten your health care provider’s in-person workload.
Get Enough Sleep
Living on the same schedule day in and day out during the pandemic can get monotonous. As we’ve seen, this can diminish your motivation and lead to quarantine fatigue, which creates other mental health issues. These can negatively impact your sleep. But technology (or limiting it, in some cases!) can help maintain your health this area, too.
Consider these methods for curbing your screen fatigue and getting better sleep:
- Limit screen time and set a hard-stop time for the workday, hours before bedtime.
- Minimize blue light with a light-adjusting app or blue-light-blocking glasses.
- Banish screens from your bedroom at least an hour before you go to bed.
- If you can, keep your devices in a separate room from where you sleep. If you use your phone as an alarm, turn on Do Not Disturb mode before turning out the lights.
- Track your patterns and address disruptions with a sleep-monitoring app.
Stress and a disrupted daily rhythm can rob you of sleep, which can diminish your overall health. Take proactive measures to combat sleep problems before they become problematic.
Keep Mental Health at the Forefront
Like we said – health isn’t just about the body! The mind matters too. You need to stay healthy on the mental health front. Isolation can lead to depression, anxiety, and the kind of burnout many remote workers have been experiencing. But it doesn’t have to. There are many ways to combat it, thanks to technology.
Use a combination of tech and traditional methods to maintain your mental health. Too much tech leads to information overload (especially if you’re spending all day on your laptop), but the connectivity it allows can be a literal lifesaver. Try these methods for bolstering your mindset:
- Alleviate boredom by finding music, podcasts, books, movies, or games online.
- Stay connected with loved ones via text, chat, video calls, or voice calls.
- Don’t forget to go outdoors for some fresh air and physical activity in the “real” world.
- Set aside time each day to meditate and focus on what matters most.
If you’re still struggling despite efforts to improve, that’s okay. Consider reaching out to a certified professional and starting therapy. Many therapists offer virtual therapy sessions and can provide new and personalized methods for working through any issues you have. The pandemic has been hard on everyone – it’s okay to reach out and get help if you need it.
Technology offers amazing and creative ways to stay healthy while working from home. Use it strategically and wisely. And remember to take breaks! Overwork is a primary symptom of working from home, since you never really “leave the office”. Organize your day, scheduling both work and home tasks. Be sure to give yourself a healthy balance between work and play to maintain your health while working from home.
This blog was written in partnership with Jessica Larson, creator of SolopreneurJournal.com, a resource for anyone interested in pursuing entrepreneurship, working for themselves, and striking the best-possible balance between passions.