How to Prevent Health Issues When Working From Home

If you’re new to the WFH lifestyle, you might feel like you’re struggling to adapt. You stumble through your days, unsure of what to tackle next. The charm of staying in your pajamas until noon is starting to lose its luster. 

When you telecommute, your refrigerator is always right there, ready to interrupt your mental flow with the siren song of convenient snacks. Plus, you don’t have a boss or colleagues putting checks on your behavior — which can lead to unwise decisions that adversely affect your physical and mental well-being.

With these obstacles in mind, it may seem tough to make progress. But it’s possible. Here’s how you can nurture yourself and prevent health issues while adjusting to an unfamiliar setup.

1. Make a Schedule 

You love your newfound freedom. However, establishing a daily routine does soothe your mind and helps to protect your mental health. Maybe you relished the idea of sleeping in at first, but now you find yourself falling into a procrastination whirlpool that sucks away your motivation.

Choose a time to get up and get to work each day. It’s okay to adjust your day to suit your natural biological clock if you enjoy flextime, but keep your schedule consistent each week. This process eases decision-fatigue and gives your brain a sense of normalcy. 

2. Arrange Your Workstation Ergonomically 

Maybe you thought that working on your couch would prove comfortable, but you soon found that you ended up with headaches by the end of the day. Even slumping over your desk to see an ill-positioned monitor can cause chronic back pain. Placing a lumbar pillow behind your back can remind you to sit up straight and keep your feet flat on the floor.

Another option you might consider is investing in a variable-height desk. If you feel insecure parting with your hard-earned money with all the unknowns right now, a stack of boxes allows you to move from sitting to standing to give your back a break. 

3. Manage Communication With Your Team

Uncertainty breeds anxiety, and if you are worried about your job, you aren’t alone. Nearly half of all companies report considering layoffs since the COVID-19 pandemic began. When you work remotely, your stress levels can soar even higher because you can’t take the temperature of your organization as readily as you could if you still reported to the office. 

Keep the lines of communication open. Touch base with your supervisor every week, and address your concerns when you do. It’s okay to ask, “Should I be worried?” Regardless of the answer, you can brace yourself mentally instead of reacting with surprise if the worst happens.

4. Continue Meal Prepping 

When your refrigerator is only steps away, and your colleagues can’t give you quizzical glances when you reach for a third bag of chips, you can pack on extra pounds before you know it.

Keep on top of your meal prep game while you work from home. If you have nutritious paleo burritos frozen and ready to nuke, you’re less likely to grab empty carbs and calories in snack food form. 

5. Make Time for Exercise 

Gym closures are no excuse to sideline yourself — you don’t need a fancy facility to keep in shape. You can perform simple callisthenic exercises with no equipment or videos necessary.

However, if you do better with a coach, you can find a ton of fitness apps and free workout videos on YouTube. Regular physical activity decreases the risk of multiple diseases and can ease chronic pain conditions like arthritis by getting your synovial fluid flowing. 

6. Give Yourself Breaks 

Although it sounds ironic, you work more productively when you build breaks into your routine. Researchers discovered that your brain does best when you work for 52 minutes, then relax for 17 minutes.

People who followed this method were less likely to check social media or let other distractions interrupt their flow state than those who pushed through nonstop. You don’t need to idle — you can grab a 10-minute workout or perform a household chore.

The critical factor is giving your brain time to regain focus. When you can concentrate on your tasks, you experience less anxiety about getting everything done — to speed up, slow down. The less stress you feel, the lower your chances of making poor decisions that lead to adverse mental or physical health outcomes.

7. Create a “Shutdown” Ritual 

Finally, when you work from home, your career can infringe on your family time. Create a shutdown ritual at the end of each day to divide your job and home responsibilities.

Maybe you turn off your computer and shut your office door, or perhaps you take a 15-minute walk with your kids. Anything that tells your brain, “the workday is done,” will help you to relax, decrease stress and achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Prevent Health Issues While Working From Home With These Tips 

When you work from home, you can slip into unhealthy habits unconsciously. Take control of your mental and physical well-being by following these tips to achieve balance in the new normal.

Author Bio:

Dylan Bartlett, aka, “The Regular Guide,” writes about a broad variety of topics on his blog. Check out Just a Regular Guide for more, or follow him on Twitter @theregularguide for frequent updates!

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