When working from home on your computer it is easy to neglect your health and spend too much time focusing on work. Sitting at a desk all day can have a negative impact on your body. What can you do about it? How do you stay healthy while working from home?
Work To A Schedule
When working from home it is so easy to overwork and get burnt out because your work is at home with you 24/7. So that you can separate work and home time it is a good idea to have a work schedule. When planning your work schedule set yourself a start and finish time. Also plan what time you will have lunch and how long your break will be. Other times you may like to include are morning and afternoon tea times.
A schedule will help your body to adjust to a regular routine. It is also good for productivity which in turn is good for your motivation.
Having a schedule will help you get up in the morning and avoid over sleeping. It is easy to stay in bed and sleep when you don’t have to be somewhere at a certain time.
Don’t be inconsistent. Stick to your schedule and take all your breaks to avoid overworking. Have a real break. Don’t take your breaks at your desk. Sit somewhere else, watch some TV or read a book.
Avoid working on weekends unless it is required for your job. Keep a log book of your hours to see how much time you are spending on work.
Because of the great deal of time spent sitting in a chair while working on a computer it is very important that you have the right chair. A good chair will help you to stop hunching over and keep a good posture. It will also help you avoid back and neck strain and other joint problems. Your office chair should be comfortable and adjustable.
Don’t stay seated at your desk for long periods of time. Get up at least every hour. Use a timer to remind you that it is time to get up. Have a stretch or do some quick exercises such as sit ups or light weights.
If there are any tasks that you can do while standing or moving around then that is good. Things such as talking on the phone or filing paperwork.
Work Standing Up
These types of desks have been found to not only reduce diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer but also to increase productivity.
Healthy Food and Snacks
You would think that when working at home you have your full home kitchen at your disposal to make yourself some healthy lunches and snacks but this isn’t always the case.
Working from home makes it too easy to go and grab something quickly and get back to eating it at your desk so that you can get on with your work. This is not a good thing.
You need to eat well. Don’t just grab whatever is fast and quick. Plan your lunches and your snacks if you have to.
Avoid stocking your kitchen with chocolates and unhealthy snacks. Consider alternatives such as fruit, vegetables and nuts.
Remember to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water per day.
A regular workout or exercise routine will keep you healthy and fit. Exercise is good for preventing diseases and depression. It builds self esteem and stamina and keeps you feeling great and motivated to do your work.
Working from home means that you don’t have to commute to your workplace. Perhaps that time could be spent on a workout routine.
You don’t have to have a home gym. You could go for a lunchtime walk or put on an exercise video.
If you can’t do a full 30 minute session you can break it up into 3 x 10 minutes sessions throughout your day. This is just as effective. Vibrating platform machines are ideal for this. Some of them include resistance bands so that you can work your upper body as well.
Working from home means that you have the flexibility to choose when to do your workout. Take advantage of this and you will be doing a great thing for your body and your health.
Ensure that your environment is comfortable. Open your windows for some fresh air if you need to. Make sure that you have enough light so that you aren’t straining your eyes. Don’t sit there and freeze. Use a heater or a fan if it is warm. It is hard to work when you are too hot or too cold.
You are spending a lot of time looking at your computer screen. It is important to look after your eyes. Take a break from your computer at least every hour to give your eyes a rest from the screen.
Have regular eye check ups to ensure that your eyes are healthy and that you have the right prescription if you wear glasses.
If you wear contact lenses don’t keep them in for prolonged hours. Take them out and wear your glasses for a while to give your eyes a break.
Avoid Loneliness & Isolation
It is important to have others to talk to so that you don’t feel lonely and isolated. This can lead to depression. Especially if you live alone you need to have someone that you can perhaps talk through ideas with or discuss disappointments. Have a network of friends or other coworkers that you can call or chat to online or on the phone.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
Repetitive strain injuries cause pain in the fingers, hands, wrists, arms and back. They result from constant repetition of the same hand movements. This can happen from using a keyboard or a mouse. To avoid injury ensure that you do not do the same thing for hours at a time. If you need to do a lot of typing them break it up into sessions and do other things in between. You could also consider getting some dictation software.
It is important to mentally separate yourself from your work after your work day is over. You need to take time out to relax, enjoy family and your home. It is easier to forget about work if you are away from your work area. Have a separate room or a dedicated work area. This will help you to balance your work and home life.
Sunshine is important. You need it’s Vitamin D to stay healthy. Try and go outside during the day. You can eat your lunch out there or do some stretches during your breaks. Maybe just have a quiet moment sitting and watching the birds and butterflies or engaging with your pet.
If you do laundry while working then hang your clothes outside instead of using the dryer.
Make The Most Of Working From Home
If you are a focused person who doesn’t get easily distracted by housework then you can use your breaks in between tasks to move around and integrate your workday with some small house chores such as putting on a load of washing, doing a quick sweep of the floor or cleaning your bathroom basin. Just remember that you need to get back to work. Use a timer to keep you on track.
I hope that these ideas will help you improve your work day to make it as healthy as possible.
My motivation for writing this post was my lower back pain which seemed to get worse the more time I spent sitting and working at my desk. There is also occasional pain in my finger joints. I realized that I really need to start looking after myself so I decided to do some research on how to stay healthy while working from home. I am going to use these tips to change the way I do things and I will post a separate post on my experience in a couple of months.
If you have any ideas or advice to share you are welcome to leave a comment.