I work from home and recently I’ve caught myself doing a few things that aren’t so good for me. Things like forgetting to eat lunch until late in the afternoon and making poor food choices when I’m feeling stressed about something I’m working on. Luckily I am fairly self-aware and well-practiced at damage-control! Each time I’ve noticed when it’s happening I’ve stopped it spiralling out of control by drawing a line (metaphorically) and focusing on what to do next. Otherwise I know that I’d end up gaining weight and/or feeling rubbish either physically or emotionally.
Anyway I thought I’d share with you my 5 top tips for looking after yourself when you work from home.
1 – Stop regularly to eat well
Care for yourself by taking regular breaks for meals/snacks. Sometimes it’s so easy to get engrossed in your work when you’ve got nobody around you to remind you it’s lunch-time by going off for lunch themselves. The other day I realised I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and it was the middle of the afternoon already – obviously by that point I was ravenous and ended up just grabbing the first thing I came across instead of thinking through a proper balanced meal! Try to make sure you schedule breaks into your timetable and plan what you’re going to have so that you give yourself a good balance including fruit and veg instead of picking and snacking.
2 – Don’t forget to drink
Try to sip on fluids regularly throughout the day. Try getting up regularly to get yourself a glass of water or a cuppa. We should be aiming for around 2 litres of fluid per day and around 2-3 cups of tea/coffee can contribute towards this before the caffeine starts to dehydrate you. A good way of tracking how much you’re having is by measuring out a jug or bottle of water and keeping it near where you’re working. Then you can keep topping up your glass easily and when it’s empty fill it back up again.
3 – Move regularly
Try to get up and move around regularly throughout the day to stop you getting stiff and achy. You could try planning in a 30min walk as part of your lunch break. Or you could just set an alarm on your phone to go off at regular intervals to remind you to get up to do a few stretches. If you’re drinking regularly throughout the day this will help as you’ll need to get up to go to the toilet! I like to have my printer upstairs and work downstairs so that I run upstairs if I need to print something – do whatever works for you!
4 – Take a step back and do something different
This is a great tip if you’re feeling stuck, you’re going round in circles with an issue and you’re getting more stressed and anxious. Or maybe your creative juices aren’t flowing and you’re just sat staring at the screen or paper. Just stop and do something completely different. Turn off the laptop, turn off the phone and take a few minutes to do some chores around the house. Give yourself a set amount of time to take a break so you’re not getting carried away. Go for breath of fresh air in the garden, play a musical instrument for 10 minutes or watch an inspiring video. Just something to help you focus elsewhere and take yourself out of the situation to re-evaluate things, inspire yourself and get a fresh perspective. Thinking about something different helps your mind rest and often you find it easier to come up with a solution to a problem or ideas are more likely to flow.
5 – Do something nice for yourself everyday
This is really good for your emotional health, whether it’s scheduling in some basic self-care or 10 minute breaks to do something you enjoy. It’s a good way of showing yourself you value yourself. This helps you feel good and it filters down into the work that you do too. When you value and care for yourself, others are likely to value and care for you too. It could just be about regularly getting out of the house, trying to mix with others at networking meetings or parent groups. Even if you’re an introvert, it’s good to socialise with other people to bounce ideas off them and get inspiration. Otherwise you can end up stuck in a rut doing the same thing all day long and your ideas can stagnate or your emotional health and self-esteem can suffer.
What do you do to look after yourself if you’re at home all day? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments.
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