7 Healthy Living Tips & Tricks for the Remote Professional
Adjusting to the daily highs and lows of remote working (i.e., barking dogs, restless toddlers, technical difficulties mid Zoom call) has posed quite the challenge for working professionals since the early days of 2020. Although lugging stacks of paperwork, bunches of tangled charging cords, and piles of office essentials into your sacred living spaces may have felt uncomfortable at first, now it's become the new normal.
After renovating your home office and finally investing in that standing desk that spent weeks gathering dust in your Amazon shopping cart, you may have capitalized (knowingly or unknowingly) on health benefits that often accompany WFH living. Studies have shown that long commutes often lead to worse sleep quality, higher cholesterol, and the occasional depression episode. With your office space within arm's reach of your memory foam mattress, working from home often translates to more sleep and lessened stress levels, since you no longer have to worry about sitting in traffic or waiting on unreliable public transportation.
A shortened, or nearly nonexistent, commute also means you may have more time to indulge in a hearty breakfast or carve out time for a morning jog or trip to the nearest gym—both essential elements of leading a healthy lifestyle. Suppose you identify as one of the millions of essential employees still commuting to work mid-pandemic. In that case, you may notice your breakfast often consists of a to-go cup of coffee or a sugar-filled granola bar. Without time to prepare a nutritious meal, you may suffer the health consequences of an on-the-go lifestyle.
Though it may still be challenging to take full advantage of the benefits of working from home, there are several tips and tricks to make it easier to keep you happy and healthy during this extended break from office life.
Schedule telehealth appointments
With remote work, it has become easier than ever to earn a living and attend to your physical health needs by harnessing the power of technology. While carving out time for your annual physical may seem like a low-priority task for the overachieving working professional, these routine appointments are extremely vital in ensuring that you're in good health.
On top of obtaining simple health statistics, your annual exam is an irreplaceable piece in the preventative care puzzle. Not all chronic diseases or conditions are easy to detect on your own, so attending your yearly check-up might be the only opportunity to catch these early signs and symptoms and coordinate the proper treatments. Without medical intervention, chronic conditions may go unnoticed for months on end, negatively impacting your mental and physical health. Remember, reaching optimal productivity levels isn't possible when your physical health remains in a questionable state.
Comprehensive health coverage grants beneficiaries the luxury of keeping up with their regular health appointments. Studies show that individuals with comprehensive health insurance plans are more likely to use preventative care and screening services. With comprehensive insurance, you will feel more empowered and better equipped to take care of your health.
To locate qualified and non-Qualified plans that you qualify for in your state of residence, conduct a simple Google search using the keywords “shop health insurance in my state.” Once you find an insurance plan that works for you, you'll be well on your way to achieving optimal physical health in your day-to-day remote work life.
Stick to a routine
When working from home, you may find yourself working longer hours or at odd times. Remote work allows for more flexibility, but it's essential to find what works for you and stick to it. Of course, depending on what your job position requires, your schedule can vary from day-to-day. However, by enforcing a routine for yourself, you'll know when it's time to check out and unwind. After all, without a healthy work-life balance, you find yourself struggling to accomplish daily tasks with a depleted mental battery.
Though working in an office can make the trip to a local gym less unbearable, for select states, capitalizing on your gym membership (and its many amenities) may not be an option. However, the internet makes it possible for you to remotely participate in your favorite exercise classes or get in shape on your own time.
As a downfall, remote work often means spending endless hours inside your home, confined to a stationary state. However, making time to go outside and participating in physical activity can do wonders for your productivity and health. Blocking off time for some fresh air and engaging in some easy stretches or exercises can help you feel refreshed and reenergized.
Create a defined workspace
It can be tempting to work from the comfort of your bed or a nearby armchair, but doing so could be damaging for your productivity and health. By working on your bed or couch, you begin to associate those areas with work and wakefulness. These psychological associations contribute to lower sleep quality and an inability to relax with ease.
By allocating a separate space specifically for work, you can transition into a work mindset more smoothly and find a divide between your home and work life. Keeping your sleeping area a sacred space will help you separate work and play, allowing you to recharge for the eight recommended hours.
Get dressed every day
Working from home can mean a more relaxed dress code. Despite how enticing it may be to stay in your sleepwear, getting dressed can help your brain understand that you're entering productivity mode. Even if you're inclined to change into another set of comfy clothes, merely slipping on a clean pair of pajamas or loungewear can help you stay motivated and productive while you tackle your to-do list.
Making time throughout the day to stand up and stretch can help you stay focused, thus improving your work performance. Taking breaks also allows your eyes to rest and recover from the hours spent soaking up damaging blue light.
One way of scheduling breaks is to utilize the Pomodoro Technique, which alternates focused work sessions with frequent short breaks. This cyclical system can conform to your needs and ensure that you can stay focused on the tasks at hand. By implementing short recesses to refresh and refocus, you can avoid a mentally-taxing case of burnout.
Use your PTO
While taking breaks throughout your workday helps with your day-to-day productivity and physical health, prioritizing work-life balance is non-negotiable. The first step in becoming a more well-rounded working professional is taking advantage of your allotted PTO. After all, these long weekends and tropical vacations keep you from burning out and allow you to dive back into your work with a renewed vitality.
While traditional vacations may not be an option mid-pandemic, it's still as important as ever to take time away from your work to relax and care for yourself. Surveys show that workers who take vacation time report feeling an increased sense of positivity and improved productivity.
The bottom line
Remote working has been a breath of fresh air for so many professionals. Despite its benefits, you'll maintain a sense of normalcy while taking advantage of these WFH benefits. By scanning the tips and tricks mentioned above, you remain happy and healthy while achieving optimal work productivity.