NEW DRAFT - Use These Five Tips to Stay Healthy When You Work from Home
Your health shouldn't suffer because you work from home.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, more people have started working from home at least part-time. As someone who’s worked from home exclusively for the last 18 years, I’m familiar with the benefits of working from home, as well as the disadvantages to it. Luckily, we can reduce the health risks of working from home by following these five tips.
Take frequent breaks to walk around your residence.
Taking frequent breaks provides many benefits:
- It helps you process and retain new information.
- You’ll get a better sense of the big picture.
- Your creativity will improve.
- Breaks can help you create healthy habits.
- They make you more productive.
You could try walking up and down a flight of stairs a few times or jumping on a mini-trampoline. You could also do a short workout — there are tons of them on YouTube.
Avoid strain and pain
Sit in a chair that supports your back, and use good posture when you work. Be sure to stretch often to avoid neck and shoulder injuries.
Stretches you can do include:
Slide with your back against the wall, feet hip-distance apart. Slowly slide your back down the wall until you’re in a sitting position. Slowly slide back up the wall.
Bridge back stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent toward the ceiling, feet firmly on the floor. Slowly raise your hips in the air, then bring them back down to the floor.
Alternative to the bridge back stretch — Standing Desk back stretch
Place both hands on top of the desk. Bring your feet together. Bend at the hips and lower the upper body between your arms. Keep your hands on the desk. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
Lie on your back with your knees bent toward the ceiling, feet firmly on the floor. Place your hands across your chest in a criss-cross position. Focus on your core and lift your shoulders off the floor a few inches, holding your neck in a neutral position. Lower yourself back down to the floor.
Alternative for those who don’t want to get on the floor to do crunches
Stand up with your hands behind your head. Hold in your abs, and reach one elbow towards the opposite knee, while lifting that knee. Here’s a YouTube video that shows what I’m talking about.
Establish a routine.
Try to work at the same time every day if you can, and practice healthy boundaries. It might be helpful to use a signal to start your day. You could switch on a certain light or close a door, for example.
Structuring your day helps you stay focused on the current task and sets boundaries with others to let them know you’re working. Don’t forget to signal the end of your workday by switching off your light or opening your door.
Stay in touch with others.
Staying in touch with others and helping them when you can has a positive effect on your mental health by reducing stress and improving your mood, self-esteem, and happiness.
One of the benefits of working in an office is social interaction with other co-workers. You may not be able to see them in person, but you can still stay in touch, If your office supports communication tools such as Slack or Zoom, set your status to Available and chat. If it does, schedule regular meetings through phone or video conferencing, or have a virtual coffee meeting. Touching base regularly will help you and others feel less isolated.
If you’re a freelancer, you can network with other freelancers by getting yourself in the right mindset, start by finding networking opportunities close to home. If you’ve got some past clients, contact them to find out if they need help or know anyone who does.
Help other freelancers when they need it.
Use social media.
There are a lot of great ways to network with other freelancers through social media, whether it’s through Facebook or LinkedIn groups, or making Twitter posts.
Attend local events.
If you want to do some in-person networking, attend local events to meet other freelancers who might need your services.
Go to trade shows.
Sometimes changing scenery can help increase your networking opportunities, so go to trade shows to meet other potential clients and give out your business card, if you have one.
Go to social events.
Even events not specifically related to networking can provide opportunities to network with others.
Find co-working spaces.
Most major metropolitan areas have co-working spaces set up where you can work in a space that supports your freelance efforts. It’s a great way to get a change of scenery when you need to get out of the house.
Think beyond work.
When you’re feeling tired or anxious, it can be difficult to stay focused on work. Take care of your whole self, with exercises and relaxation techniques you can do at home.
These are five tips you can use to stay healthy when you work from home. Working from home has a lot of advantages, but it also has some disadvantages. Following these tips will help you keep your body and mind healthy and still be productive at work.
About the author
I started writing in elementary school and haven't stopped since. I love to write about my life experiences and the hard lessons I've learned from them, as well as some of the life hacks I've discovered. I love tips for great work.