As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many of us are carrying on with remote work. Whether you are pulling your hair out from sharing your home 24/7 with your spouse and kids or live alone and are starting to brainstorm work ideas with your dog, the lines between work and personal life have become a blur.
1. Take breaks and use them wisely
Scheduling intentional breaks throughout your workday can not only boost your productivity, but help you recalibrate and reduce stress. It can be difficult to pause in the middle of the project you’re working on, but it’s important to give your brain (and eyes) a break from the computer screen.
Get up and stretch, go for a short walk, meditate, or play with your pet. Whatever you do, it’ll boost your overall energy and prevent you from that feeling of burnout we often feel after hours of sitting in the same position, staring at the same screen, and using up our mental energy.
If you were in an office, you would take breaks to visit your coworker pals, get some fresh air, make tea or coffee, and go to the bathroom. Don’t treat remote work any differently! A variety of timer apps exist to help you structure your breaks and remind you to pause.
2. Spend time outside
It’s not a myth that fresh air can do wonders for your health. Whether you’re going for a walk around the neighborhood during your lunch break, riding your bike after dinner, or just taking your work outside with a cup of coffee, spending time outdoors can help reduce anxiety, improve focus, and boost your productivity.
More exposure to sunlight increases your production of Vitamin D, which benefits your immune system, and is good for your blood cells and bone health. Make it a habit to get outdoors every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Crack open a window, sit on your porch or deck, or sit outside your favorite coffee shop. The possibilities are endless!
Instead of chugging cup after cup of coffee to make it through yet another zoom meeting, try to alternate with water to maintain hydration throughout your day. Besides being essential to your body’s functioning, water has a wide range of benefits including keeping your skin looking healthy, regulating your body temperature, and energizing your muscles.
As you use up your mental energy during the workday, you may find yourself forgetting to drink water. Keep a water bottle at your desk and make sure you have a beverage with every snack and meal. Drink up!
4. Fuel Your Brain
Similarly to keeping yourself hydrated, making sure to eat structured meals and healthy snacks throughout your day will keep your blood sugar and energy levels balanced.
The midafternoon slump is real! Keep sleepiness at bay by making sure to eat breakfast, choose high-energy carbs, choosing a healthy variety of low-sugar, low-fat snacks like fruits and veggies, yogurt, or nuts.
5. Separate Your Space
Our work space and personal space have blended together this past year, affecting the hours we work and our productivity. If you’re finding yourself anxiously looking at your closed laptop on the kitchen table, or feeling as though you can’t relax at the end of your workday, consider creating a designated work space in your home. You can purchase an inexpensive desk online or transform a corner of the living room into your ‘office’. Add plants, good lighting, and any office supplies you may need.
At the end of your workday, make sure to close your laptop and put it away so you don’t feel pressured to work into the night. And don’t forget a good chair! Choose seating that helps your posture and prevents those back aches and pains you’re experiencing after a long day hunched over your computer.
Taking care of yourself, even while working, is especially important during this time. Make time for self-care to avoid losing momentum and energy throughout the day. With these five easy health practices, you can adjust your workday to fit your needs best.
Working remotely can be an easier experience with less stress when you adopt these changes, and self-care is rewarding to not only your productivity levels, but also your emotional and physical health. Keep that in mind next time you tackle your workday!