As more and more people are choosing to replace the fixed hours in an office for more flexible home office conditions, the state of the business in general is changing as are the lives of the people who work from home. Although it may seem like a favourable option for many, it most certainly has its downsides. Many freelancers and remote workers find it refreshing and beneficial at first, yet as the time goes on, they tend to notice how their health starts to suffer tremendously.
This is especially seen in workers that are new to the working game and strive to develop a great portfolio, or the newly employed remote workers that want to prove themselves to their superiors and the company. The most prominent health threats have to do with the sedentary lifestyle which causes back pain and many other health issues, as well as some mental health issues that are mostly caused by spending the majority of time alone.
Anxiety, depression and a loss of motivation are among the most common problems for people who work from home, due to a lack of physical activity, socialising with colleagues and face-to-face meetings and feedback. For all of you that enjoy working from home, yet feel like your health shouldn’t suffer in the process, here are some tips on how to make healthier choices while earning that paycheck from the comfort of your home.
Plan Your Meals
Tired of ordering greasy takeout that makes you feel tired and sleepy and has no nutritional value? Not to mention the extra weight it has helped you pack in a matter of days. We get it, it is stressful enough that you have to sit before a screen and work enormous hours on a short deadline, and you simply cannot bother to cook and try out different healthy recipes.
Luckily, you don’t have to take time out of your busy weekly schedule to do that. All you have to do is pick one of your off days and prepare meals in advance. You don’t have to become an expert in meal prepping in order to have a healthy and balanced diet throughout your work week. It doesn’t take much effort or culinary knowledge to go to a local market, buy your favourite vegetables, meat and some fresh fruit. Get your biggest pan and prepare large portion of soup to last you a couple of days. Prepare a couple of different balanced meals with vegetables and meat. Stock up on fruits, dried fruits and nuts to replace processed and unhealthy snacks. Make it a weekly routine and watch how your health, weight and focus improve.
Not alcohol, of course. As we all know, water should be the number-one choice on our list of drinks and we should always have a bottle of fresh water at our desk to remind ourselves to stay hydrated. Especially while working on challenging projects, our brain requires valuable nutrients from water to stay alert and highly functioning for hours. Replace coffee with healthier options such as matcha green tea which is rich in antioxidants and L-theanine, yet, unlike coffee, it keeps you alert and focused for longer without causing you to feel down after the effect of caffeine wears off. According to studies, the benefits of matcha include improving attention and memory, without the harmful side effects.
Change Your Workplace
Working alone from home can take a toll on your mental health and productivity as well. We all need to feel like a part of the group and to have spontaneous chit-chats with like-minded people from time to time. Get proactive and visit some networking events near you to meet other freelancers and people who work remotely. You can arrange to meet at a local coffee shop and work together every once in a while, just to change up you routine and enjoy each other’s company during a coffee break. Moreover, you can look up different places in your town that provide quiet office-like spaces specifically designed for freelancers and remote workers.
Upon starting working from home, most people report that they tend to forget to exercise, or simply can’t find the time to schedule a gym session after working longer hours. However, as most freelancers admit, it’s easier to switch to the sofa once you are at home, which severely affects your posture, back and muscles. There are a number of ways to help your body to stay in shape even when you are working odd hours, when you are getting little sleep, and spending most of your time stuck to a screen.
Make a weekly plan and stick to it. Even if you are working on various projects, you can still plan your time at least one week ahead. Plan your workout routine and treat it like an important appointment you can’t miss. If you prefer lower-intensity workout, you can try doing yoga at home, or even at your desk, on a chair, while taking a 15-minute break from work. Another important activity you should include as someone who works from home is proper stretching at least each half an hour. Similarly to exercising, stretching is crucial not only for your blood flow but for improving you focus and efficiency for better overall results.
Get Enough Fresh Air
Spending time in nature and enjoying the fresh air, beautiful scenery and amazing sounds is another healthy activity that most people who work from home fail to implement in their weekly plans. Apart from being good for the physical wellbeing, being in the natural environment benefits your mind and mood as well. It energises you by providing a fresh dose of oxygen for fueling new ideas and improving productivity. Make short, 15-minute walks to the nearest park your daily task, and plan one longer walk in the nature at least once a week during your off days for better work, health and life results.