Whether you’re working remotely for the first time in your career or you’re one of the 4.3 million Americans who already work from home at least 50% of the time, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be challenging when you’re free to work anywhere, eat anything, and even wear anything (hello yoga pants). But staying healthy isn’t any less important. Adopt these six healthy habits to keep yourself happy and productive while working remotely.
1. Keep Moving!
Our bodies were built to move. When we ignore that need for up to 12 hours a day (the average daily time an adult spends sitting in the US), a huge chain reaction occurs.
Prolonged sitting and improper alignment hurt your entire body, starting with your brain. Active muscles pump fresh oxygen and blood to your brain, which in turn triggers the release of mood- and brain-enhancing chemicals. On the flip side, when you become sluggish, so does your brain. Blood flows more slowly due to inactive muscles, allowing fatty acids to clog the heart more easily.
Luckily, there are easy ways to keep your body in good shape without leaving your desk.
- Schedule consistent blocks of time to get up and move around. You could take a standing break at the top of each hour or go for a quick walk after your morning conference call.
- Do desk stretches targeting parts of the body most affected by prolonged sitting.
- Develop a short fitness regimen. It has been proven that short bursts of high-intensity exercise can help people burn more fat and increase fitness levels faster. There is even a scientifically backed seven minute workout you can do!
- Purchase an exercise ball or backless stool to sit on while you work. This requires your muscles to be engaged constantly.
- Purchase a standing desk, or alternate between sitting and standing. Set an alarm for every 30 minutes to change your position.
2. Healthy Eating
If you’re working from home, chances are you’re right next door to your kitchen. It’s more important than ever to purchase healthy foods to stave off the inevitable snacking (or at least improve it).
Here are some suggestions for snacks to perk you up during an afternoon slump:
- Whole grain, high protein granola bars
- Yogurt and granola
- Dried fruit and nuts
- Whole grain crackers with hummus
- Sliced bananas or apples with peanut butter
3. Social Contact
While it may be tempting to hunker down behind your computer and only interact with your colleagues via chat, you do need some social interaction every day. In fact, a study indicated that too much isolation can be as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
As a remote worker with a flexible schedule, you have a lot of options! Plan a lunch with friends or a trip to the grocery store to both break up your day and give you a little face-to-face interaction. Or, hop into a common area in your team’s Sococo online office for a virtual water cooler chat when you need a break.
4. Morning Routine
Hey! I see you pulling your phone and laptop into bed with you! Don’t do it!
Developing a morning routine is incredibly important. How you begin the day sets the tone for the next 24 hours. After all, an athlete wouldn’t start a race without stretching and warming up their muscles, right? Eat a proper breakfast, read a chapter of a book, or try meditating. The benefits of meditation have been cited time and time again—in fact, a group of Harvard-associated researchers have even proven that meditation rebuilds the gray matter in our brains.
5. Separate the Workspace: Physically and Mentally
Keep your workspace separate both physically and mentally. Set up a space that is used for work and only work, whether that’s a spare bedroom or just a special spot in the living room. This allows your brain to maintain structure and boundaries. You can even try spending a few days a week at a library, coffee shop, or coworking space to switch things up and stay balanced.
6. Follow a Schedule
Do yourself a favor: stick to a schedule. If you have children, you understand how important it is for little ones to have structure in their lives. It anchors them and makes them feel safe. You need that structure, too.
Go to sleep at the same time every night. Stick to the same way of greeting the day each morning. Work regular hours, don’t work on the weekends, and set the same boundaries for your remote work day that you would if you were in an office.
Working remotely rocks, but it requires a different kind of routine than working in a physical office. Learn more about virtually co-locating in Sococo to stay productive and engaged.