10 Tips to Staying Healthy Working from Home

With thousands of office-based employees forced to work from home since 2020 due to COVID-19, workday challenges are popping up like never before. Many kids are schooling from home, remote workspace feels limited, and tensions remain high. 

I am here to tell you that your thoughts and feelings are valid, and today’s tips were curated just for YOU! Here’s to the AT-HOME hero, who’s looking to shake things up for a better quality of life.

10 Tips to Maintain Your Mental and Physical Health

1. Establish a concrete daily routine 

• Not knowing what tasks, appointments, and personal time your day will consist of ahead of time is a recipe for disaster.
• I find that a master Google calendar works best for me to plan ahead. I can add any new Zoom/Webinar/Teams meetings, phone calls, appointments, family time to my calendar before I get my day started. I also can’t miss any of these time-sensitive obligations, because I have my calendar set to send me reminders ahead of time. 

Examples of how to master your daily routine

• Schedule all tasks that must get done on master calendar. You get extra brownie points if you share your master calendar with your household.
• Work to go to bed and wake-up at the same time each day.
• The more similar your days are, the less likely you will be to forget something important. Repetition, repetition, repetition.
• Incorporate physically stimulating (hello exercise) and mentally stimulating (insert gratitude journaling here) activities daily.

2. Create a designated workspace (don’t work in your living space)

• Working where you play, where your kids are, and where you’ll be after work is frustrating at times. I know this, because I was not prepared before COVID-19 hit with a designated workspace of my own in our home.
• Even if it’s just a nook in your bedroom or the guest bedroom, make it your work oasis. 

Examples of how to create your oasis
• Buy an inexpensive salt lamp, grab a chair, and heck – even a TV tray in lieu of a desk if you are on a budget.
• Find used office furniture for sale online
• Invest in a great pair of headphones
• Make or buy a DO NOT DISTURB sign for the room in which you are using as your office space. When the door is closed, no one will bother you.
• Welcome a calm pet into your workspace, as long as they will not become a distraction.

3. Take work breaks

• One can only focus for so long before taking a mental health minute. It is critical to our joy and productivity to take breaks, even when working from home.

Examples of ways to take advantage of your at-home work breaks
• Toss on your fav pump up song/motivational video
• Grab a cup of coffee or tea
• Get in a quick home workout
• Enjoy a meal with your family
• Take care of your pets
• Call a family member/friend

4. Get ready daily, even when working from home

• Your day didn’t get any shorter. I promise you still have time to care for your skin, put on makeup (if you wear it), and to toss on nice athleisurewear while working from home.
• When you get ready for the day, you prepare yourself mentally to take on the unique challenges of the day.

Examples of ways to care for yourself while working from home
• Apply a face mask or hair mask while you enjoy your coffee/tea
• Paint your nails
• Apply a faux tan if you are feeling nostalgic about vacation
• Apply and re-apply lip masks and Chapstick
• Brush your teeth and floss
• Put your make-up on and fix your hair
• Lotion, lotion, lotion – no scaly skin here!

5. Prepare quick, healthy meals (don’t fall prey to children’s snacks)

• We have ALL been there. Tempted by fate to grab snacks that aren’t going to help us reach our end goal. When these foods are in the house for our kids/family members, it takes willpower of steel and preparation to avoid a downward food spiral.
• By prepping salads, rice, potatoes, having carb friendly breads, and pastas in the house – we can ensure that we meet our goals.

Examples of meals that are quickly prepped/waistline friendly

• Instant pot chicken or pan seared beef/turkey paired with rice and veggies.
• Meat of your choice over salad with low fat dressing and a small serving of nuts.
• Piece of toast and a serving of your favorite Labrada Nutrition protein shake.
• Meat of your choice in carb balance tortillas and a serving of veggies.
• Meat of your choice and carb balance bread sandwich and a serving of raw veggies and low-fat dip. 

6. Get out of your house for fresh air daily

• Fresh air works wonders for the soul during a long workday.

Fun things to do outside

• Walk/roller skate around the block with dogs/kids
• Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea
• Go to a park for a picnic on your lunch break
• Stargaze
• Have a water balloon fight with your household
• Ride your bike

7. Choose out of the norm virtual entertainment options when not working 

• All work and no play makes for a very unhappy existence. Check out these exciting at home entertainment options.

Examples of at home entertainment options

• Take an online class/course with your family members (Ex. Painting class or cooking class)
• Learn about a topic of interest by following an entire “HOW TO” YouTube series
• Watch movie theatre releases from the comfort of your home
• Order a cooking kit in the mail for a chef night

8. Establish and foster relationships virtually (outside of work hours)

• In the fight against widespread anxiety and depression, communication with people who care for us/understand us is essential. 

Examples of ways to establish these positive relationships

• Join a FREE hobby group on FB or another social media platform
• FaceTime or Skype your friends and family members to keep in touch
• Play board games/video games online with friends and strangers alike

9. Do something for your mindset/spirituality daily

• When you go into the day feeling at peace with who YOU ARE as an individual, you can tackle task after task. 

Examples of mindset work

• Join a FREE online community that fosters mindset work
• Join an online yoga/meditation classes
• Join a devotional or book group
• Write daily in your gratitude journal

10. Recommend ways for your work community to better connect while working socially distanced from one another

• If you feel that your voice is heard in your work community, I encourage you to foster deeper relationships with your coworkers. Yes, this can even be done virtually.

Examples of ways to socially distanced communities are fostered in today’s world

• Recommend dispersal of snack boxes via snail mail, and/or games sent via email to staff prior to work meetings. Friendly rivalry and food are a match made in heaven.
• Share working from home reality photos with management when appropriate. These can be shared for comedic relief at the end of staff meetings.
• Recommend video chat meetings once weekly when appropriate. Let everyone know ahead of time that turning off video isn’t an option, and that pets on the call are encouraged. Who doesn’t love bring your pet to work day?

About the Author: Courtney Alcala-Herrera MS

Courtney lives in Texas with her husband and their two dogs. Courtney is a clinical research and health education expert whose life mission is to spread health and lifestyle modifications to the public. When she’s not traveling across the country monitoring research studies, you can catch Courtney counseling her fitness clients, prepping for her next bikini competition, or racing off to explore with her husband.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.