Ways to Stay Healthy While Working Remotely
Picture this. You’ve written yourself a resume, applied for a remote job, and you’re preparing yourself for your first time fully working from home. Your hours are your own. You wanna take an hour-long lunch break? Have at it. It’s freeing. But with that freedom requires the discipline to keep your focus. Sure, you think to yourself, “You did it in school with homework, it’ll go fine.” But what about when you’re spending 8 hours sitting in the same place.
Today we’re going to go over some ways I’ve learned to keep myself healthy while working remotely.
Having a Schedule
Not everyone is like this, but I live for a schedule. Waking up at the same time everyday, planning my schedule beforehand to give me peace of mind, and then being able to get started without thinking. I’m not even talking about work projects. I’m talking about “When am I going to wake up”, “This is how long I’m going to sit down and work”, “This is when I’m going to stop working”. This does a couple things for you. I’ve found it helps me stay productive and stress less about getting things done, and it helps me feel accomplished about the things I am doing. Even basic things like waking up, and getting dressed in the morning. It helps me set boundaries and expectations for myself through the day.
I developed this mindset using an app called Habitica. It’s Dungeons and Dragons themed, so you’re a character with different skills and stats, and by checking off your dailies, or things on your to-do list, you gain points. It’s super simple, and there are a lot of different apps out there that are very similar. The goal of it is to keep track of what you’re doing, stay on schedule, and feel good about it.
I developed chronic pain from a previous job that affects my hips, so sitting wrong, or sitting too long, can impact me for days. I also play guitar, so I try to be very thoughtful of my hands, and my posture, as that impacts my back, and my hips as well. You’d think that sitting really wouldn’t be that bad for you, but it can have a pretty serious impact. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to remedy that.
Here’s a quick disclaimer. Simple is not easy. And remedy does not mean fix. Staying active can be a lot harder for some than others (especially if you’re dealing with a mental or physical block), and your body is going to have wear and tear. That’s just how it goes. The important thing is taking precautions to protect it as it gets that wear and tear.
One of the most simple and low impact forms of exercise is walking. It can also be very good for your mental health. Taking 20-30 minutes to go outside, focus on your posture, and focus on your breathing can really clear your mind and get your blood flowing. Yoga can be used similarly, and help stretch out those muscles you aren’t used to using. I think people are often intimidated by yoga, but there are a lot of really simple stretches out there, and google has a lot of good resources for whatever skill level you are.
Listen to your body, too. If you feel like your arm, or your leg is particularly sore, take a second to stand up and shake it out, or research some stretches to remedy that specifically. Don’t wait until it really hurts to start taking care of it.
Create Your Space
Your work environment is just as important to your brain as it is your health, and that can look different for everyone. I live in a house with two other roommates, and I have the big room because I need office space. That essentially means I’m living and working in the same place, which can get boring fast. It seems like “being bored” is just something to deal with, but by doing a few things you can really make a difference in how much you enjoy being in your space.
I usually try to keep things clean and organized, so I don’t have my brain filled up with a lot of clutter, and I’ll make things interesting. My desk has a color scheme, and I’ve bought a few things to keep up the aesthetic. It also has a subtle music theme. Nothing crazy, they’re just small things that bring me joy. Or, if I feel like I need a change of pace, I’ll go and work in the living room, or at a coffee shop or something instead. I know not everyone has this luxury, but there are a lot of small things you can do to keep your brain happy and comfortable in the space you’re given. Listen to your brain, and be creative.
I wish you the best of luck as you start your remote working journey, and congratulations! This is new and exciting. Be kind to yourself, and take it one step at a time. You’re gonna do great.