As the world continues to try to get used to the new normal that has been born out of the coronavirus pandemic, individuals all over are seeking ways to improve life while working from home. After lockdowns were announced and offices began to close, many employees suddenly found no need for the daily commute, no need for a walk to the shops at lunchtime, and no need for getting up to communicate with colleagues across the office.
Working from home has, overall, lead to less physical activity. Especially with the enforced closure of gyms as well. To remedy this, remote workers need to devote time and energy to wellness strategies, to stay active and minimise stress amid the coronavirus outbreak. Read on for five ideas on how to do this.
1. Spend time outdoors
Whether this is reading on your balcony at lunchtime, gardening in the evenings, or a gentle walk in your local area, it’s never been more important to ensure you spend some time outdoors every day. Before the spread of COVID-19, most of us spent some time outside, even if this was merely taking a short walk on our lunchbreak. Now, however, it’s all too easy to go from your at-home work station to your sofa at lunch. This means no exposure to greenspace, and no exposure to natural Vitamin D.
According to research carried out by the University of East Anglia, ‘exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress and high blood pressure’. Being outside also exposes individuals to Vitamin D, which is needed for healthy teeth, bones, and an effective immune system.
2. Stay in touch with colleagues
Many of those who have found themselves working from home are suddenly feeling very isolated. Going from a bustling office where colleagues are in constant, face-to-face communication, to an eerily quiet house with only the tapping noise on your keyboard to keep you company, it’s natural to start feeling lonely.
Remote workers need to make an effort to keep communicating with colleagues, both professionally and socially. Consider arranging things like 11am video coffee breaks, end of the day catch-ups, or simply just phone colleagues during the day to have a conversation about a project. Regular communication while working alone at home is absolutely vital to maintain a sense of teamwork, and to remind yourself that everyone is in the same boat.
3. Create a routine
Working from home likely means that you’ll fall out of your regular routine, and each day will start to feel like the next. Without a routine, time can seem to become irrelevant, as you forget which day it is and begin to wonder whether lockdown will ever end. To avoid this kind of despair, and regain a sense of normality, create a new routine for yourself. A study published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal revealed that those who maintained a regular routine during the day had healthier sleeping cycles, which in turn means improved mental health.
Employees who usually work a 9-5 office job should continue to wake up at the same time they ordinarily would. Without the commute this time can be spent doing other activities to benefit health and wellness. Consider exercise such as a walk, run, or at-home yoga session, prepare a hearty breakfast, or make time to read or write in a journal in the morning. A new routine can be achieved throughout the day with regular coffee breaks, lunchtime activities, and your normal after-work practices.
4. Healthy Eating
Another common problem while working at home is the temptation to snack on anything and everything you have in the cupboards. As supermarkets all over are running out of things like flour and eggs, it’s clear that more people are baking at home. While this is certainly no bad thing, it does mean more cakes and goodies in the house to indulge in.
According to the Health Survey for England in 2014, those who eat more fruit and vegetables are reported to have high levels of wellbeing. This means not only a lower prevalence of illness, but also lower stress levels and generally better mental health; three hugely important factors while working at home in isolation.
Whether it’s through boredom or genuine hunger, it’s likely that you will find yourself snacking more at home, so be smart and make sure you keep in lots of healthy options. Stay stocked up with different kinds of fruits, carrot sticks, nuts and seeds, and so on.
5. Recognise Your Emotions and Take Time for Yourself
When it comes to taking care of your mental wellbeing, a helpful tool is to be able to recognise and accept how you’re feeling. Spend time relaxing, and if you can create a tranquil spa environment at home. This should be a soothing environment in which you can feel peaceful and contemplate your thoughts.
Those working from home, particularly if they live alone, are likely to feel lonely and bored before long. It’s important to realise that this is perfectly normal – and there are in fact many people feeling the same way. Repeat the mantra, ‘it’s ok not to be ok’, and recognise that it’s fine if you’re finding this new way of life hard.
To pull yourself out of a negative headspace, try to focus on the fact that this is all temporary. Brighter days are ahead, and soon we will all be able to get back to normality, working alongside our colleagues and socialising as we choose.
Spending time focusing on your own health and wellbeing at this time is important, to avoid sinking too far into feelings of loneliness and unhappiness. By actioning some, if not all, of these wellness strategies it should be possible to retain a sense of normality and even positivity. Such methods will help you find new ways to stay motivated while working from some, so that you can keep pushing on and delivering your best work.
The article was produced in collaboration with Foxhills, the UK’s leading luxury country Spa resort.