Updated: Sep 19, 2020
Whether you work from home on a regular basis, or work-from-home life is a new adjustment for you, maintaining a consistent wellness practice can be a challenge.
I’ve had many a day when I roll out of bed, put the coffee on, and immediately get on my lap-top to answer emails. Hours go by, and by evening, I realize I barely took a break, drank water, got up from the chair I’ve been in all day, and my back is aching after hours hunched over a computer. I’ve ignored my body’s cues to take care of itself and my brain’s need for a respite. The struggle is real. But there are adjustments you can make to experience your peak state of wellness, even when your home and office are one-in-the-same.
Create a routine
Establishing a habitual series of activities during the day gets your mind and body conditioned to a new norm of wellness that you’ll want to keep up with, because it simply will not feel good not to. Part of any wellness routine are regular times you commit to go to sleep and wake up. Consistent sleep times and getting the recommended 7-9 hours ensures you have the energy to have a productive work day. For tips on getting your sleep habits in order, check out my previous blog post.
Movement is obviously a big part of a healthy routine, and it keeps up your stamina and focus during the day. Everyone has a time of day when they most enjoy (and are most able to commit to) working out. For me it’s the evening. But whether you enjoy getting your dose of movement in the morning or middle of the day, choose a time, block your calendar or turn off work notifications so that you won’t be distracted.
I admit that I am one of those people who gets so absorbed in her work that she forgets to eat, then wonders why she’s suddenly foggy brained and cranky. Don’t be that person! Eat a nutritious and satisfying breakfast, choose a regular time put lunch together (I often block 30 minutes in my calendar to avoid people scheduling meetings during this time), and have a few healthy snacks on hand if needed in between meals. I understand that eating meals while working is sometimes unavoidable, but try to have a work-free dinner that allows you to unwind and enjoy your meal in peace.
Because WFH often entails waking up, jumping on the computer, then going to bed, I beg you to not be all about work all day long. Choose an end time when you can to set a boundary between your work life and your personal life. Perhaps this means you have to turn off work message notifications. But once you choose an ending time you can stick to, I also suggest adding a self-care activity before ending your day. This could be catching up with friends, indulging your painting hobby, or going on a long walk to clear your head. Whatever it is for you, do something that relaxes you, gives your joy, and makes you present to who you are outside of the job you perform.
Create an environment for productivity
Do you have a space that encourages productivity? First, make sure you have a clutter-free environment. A clutter-free space helps promote a clutter-free mind. It’s harder to be distracted when your physical work space at home is organized. Second, do what you can to have a chair, desk and any other ergonomic equipment you might need to ensure your body doesn’t suffer from the aches and pains of poor posture. Third, have the office supplies you need on hand so that it’s easy for you to take action and make decisions at any given moment. Last, have fun with the space by including pictures, knick-knacks, or other items that do not distract, but that make you smile throughout the day.
Check in with yourself
We receive signals from our mind and body that tell us what we need…if we’re tuned in enough to listen. It is important to listen to those signals so that you can nourish yourself when you’re hungry or dehydrated, move your body when it needs to stretch and be active, or do something restful or cathartic when your mind needs a break. By tuning in to your needs, you are ensuring that you can give yourself what you need to thrive. Being highly productive or a top performer requires you to take care of yourself so that you can operate at your best.
Every day won’t be the awesome, and that is OK. Some days you may fall off your exercise routine because of a particularly grueling work day, or you didn’t get to food prep the night before, or you are managing the impact that a new WFH schedule has on your household. Whatever the case is, show yourself a little (or a lot of) compassion, knowing that you are doing the best you can, while counting the small things you are able to do to make your day work for you.
Work-from-home life doesn’t have to cause our health and wellness to suffer. If you create the conditions at home for you to follow through and schedule your wellbeing as mindfully as you schedule your work commitments, then you will set yourself up to thrive daily.