You don’t need a reminder that these are extraordinary, dark times.
Due to COVID-19, more people than ever are forced to stay indoors, changing their whole routine to work or study from home.
Whether working or studying from home is a heaven-sent gift, or you feel it is the worst thing ever, staying indoors for so long can have a negative effect on your health, both physically and mentally.
But, it doesn’t have to!
We’ve prepared a list of best tips on how to stay healthy while working or studying at home, so you could be your best self even during the lockdown.
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Here are 10+ ways to stay healthy while studying or working from home:
1. Get Some Exercise 🏋️♂️
One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself while working or studying at home is introducing some physical activity into your daily routine. It is especially important, as you are not only spending more time each day sitting in front of your computer, but also deprived of such luxuries as the fast-paced walking you do when you’re running late to work during your daily commute.
Right now, you might not be able to hit the gym, but there are other ways to get some physical activity! Invest in a yoga mat, weights, resistance bands, or an ab wheel to get a gym-quality workout at home. If that’s not possible, do some body weight exercises at home, such as push ups, situps, and squats. You can even get some walking in by jogging in place or strolling about your apartment.
Not only will it help you stay healthy physically, but it also helps to boost your mood and lets you stay positive during these challenging times!
2. Eat Healthy 🥑
If you are stuck at home all day, it’s easy to walk to your kitchen every 10 minutes in search of something to munch on (and no, this isn’t the kind of walking exercise we recommend!).
When working from home, snacking is just too convenient. For starters, remove all snacks from your working or studying area, so you won’t be tempted to eat mindlessly as you type away. Reduce the amount of junk food you consume, and, if you do feel like snacking, aim for a fruit salad or smoothie. Also, hydration is extremely important too, so drink plenty of water! 💧
3. Get Great Sleep 😴
This might be one of the most obvious tips for staying healthy, but it is still underrated and under-practiced by many of us. Studies have proven that good sleep can improve productivity and concentration, strengthens your immune system, and helps you better cope with stress and anxiety.
Sleep is important for both your brain and your body, but it might be difficult to maintain a normal sleep schedule while working from home. Try to develop a sleep routine and go to bed at the same time each day, even when you don’t have to get up as early as you used to. If you know that you work better in the evenings, you can shift your schedule a bit and go to sleep late, but also wake up later the next morning, so you would still get from 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily.
4. Breathe In Fresh Air 🌬️
Yet another problem we face while working or studying from home, especially during the lockdown, is the lack of fresh air. Just as with good sleep, oxygen and clean, fresh air are friends of your brain function, immune system, and mental health.
Of course, right now it might be difficult to take regular walks in the park or a nearby forest, but if you have an opportunity to reconnect with nature in some way, even if it’s only your own backyard garden, take it! If you live in an apartment building, at least open your windows a few times per day to air your place out, and consider getting some greenery to put around your desk! 🌱
5. Take Adequate Breaks ⌛
It’s so easy to lose track of time when you work on something exciting! Or, perhaps you do not feel so productive, but rather remain at your desk to stay conscientious during your work hours. In any case, don’t forget to take a break every now and then! As with all the other items on this list, breaks are a multipurpose tool, helping to boost your productivity while also benefiting your health.
Ever heard about the Pomodoro technique? 🍅
In a nutshell, focus on your work during a short sprint (25 minutes or so), and then take a 5-minute break. After a few successful sprints, take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. This is a great strategy for helping you focus when necessary, while also getting you the advantages of timely rest.
Also, on top of the regular benefits of taking a break to get up, move around, stretch, etc., it’s always a good idea to take your eyes off your monitor, as well.
6. Don’t Forget Your Vitamins 💊
We have already mentioned that it is better to snack on fruits or smoothies instead of junk food, but there is more to this! In times of lockdown and social distancing, people are paying greater attention to the canned foods aisle when doing grocery shopping. Sure, canned foods last longer and make it so you don’t have to go out shopping so often, but it is important to get fruits and veggies to balance your diet, as well! 💪
To counter the nutrient desert that many canned and processed foods might be, consider buying some vitamins and nutritional supplements in your local pharmacy. However, talk to your physician or pharmacist first to find ones that will work best for you.
7. Stay Connected With People ❤️
It is so easy to become a hermit while studying or working from home! During the period of physical distancing, your contact with people is (should be, at least) practically non-existent. But, no matter how introverted we might be and how much we enjoy spending time alone, we all need other people.
Social interaction is critically important for both your physical and mental health! Yes, you will live longer and happier simply by being in touch with the people you love. So, pick up your phone to call your family, schedule a video chat with your friends, or simply go and hug your roommate or family member living with you during one of your Pomodoro breaks.
8. Deal With Your Stress 🧘🏾♀️
It is a difficult and uncertain time for all of us, and there is nothing wrong with feeling some anxiety or stress. However, these can be your biggest enemies when it comes to occupational or educational productivity. You need a lot of energy to fight those feelings, and, oftentimes, you’ll end up feeling exhausted and beat without accomplishing much at all.
Invest some time in finding something that works for you to help relax, clear your mind, and brush off that stress. It might be meditating, keeping a stress diary, using a coloring book, or just taking a few deep breaths.
9. Find Time for Hobbies 🎨
One of the problems you might face while working or studying from home is difficulties in managing your work-life balance. Despite that, it is important to have something to do besides work that makes you happy and always find time for your hobbies.
If you are regularly involved in a creative activity that you enjoy doing, no matter what it is, playing a musical instrument, knitting, or drawing, you are less likely to suffer from stress and low mood. It also makes you more well-rounded and sometimes the most creative ideas will come as soon as you relax and dive into doing something monotonous.
10. Do Something Nice for Yourself 🤗
One other person you should stay connected with?
It might be difficult to find some spare time in between work or school, family, and everyday activities and affairs, especially when you don’t get a break from your home environment. But remember that you’re going to be around yourself for your entire life, so it’s best to make friends 😉 That is why it is important to have some “me” time to set the foundation for a well-balanced relationship with the person you see in the mirror.
Take a nice long bath, read a book you enjoy (physics textbooks don’t count!), sing along to your favorite song, or have a late start one day and make yourself a delicious breakfast. There are multiple things you can do to make yourself happier! And with happiness comes productivity and stronger mental health.
11. Get Some Sunshine ☀️
Getting an inadequate amount of sunlight is another danger of working from home or studying from home. Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, which we need both for our mental and physical health. That is one of the reasons why, during the winter, many people feel more depressed, and this problem is aptly known as SAD, or seasonal affective disorder.
To prevent this from happening, spend at least 15 minutes per day outside or, in our reality of the COVID-19 outbreak, try to work or read on your balcony, patio, or simply in front of the window when the sun is out. Don’t forget the sunscreen 🙂
Well, that’s our post on how to stay healthy when working from home, studying from home, or just generally forced to stay indoors. We hope it helps you face the weeks and months ahead!
Got any questions, feedback, or other tips for staying healthy while WFH? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!
This post was written by Mariia Kislitsyna, a master’s degree student in business strategy and a former IT recruiter.