6 Tips to Protect Your Mental and Physical Health
We are currently living in unprecedented times. Social distancing and staying home have become the new normal during the worldwide COVID-19, or coronavirus, pandemic, meaning everyone is home – kids are home from school and parents are either working from home or not working at all. That’s a lot of time together. And all that time together can be both a gift and a hardship, especially if you’re trying to work from home and providing childcare, all at the same time.
Here are 6 working from home tips to keep your productivity – and your mental and physical
health – high during the coronavirus outbreak.
Tips for Mental Health
- Get Dressed -“Look good, feel good” has never rang truer than it does right now. Without having to go to school or work or see anyone other than your immediate family every day, why not hang out in your pajamas all day? Because, unless you’re truly feeling under the weather, taking a shower and getting dressed every morning can have a positive effect on your mental state. Getting dressed can set the tone for your whole day. It can make you more productive, motivated, and help you feel more confident and ready to take on whatever comes your way. Even if no one is going to see you, put on a fun outfit or wear something that makes you feel good (except pajamas). If nothing else, it will break the monotony of days that tend to blend together, which, in turn, will help give your mental state a boost.
- Break out the Planner – To help you feel mentally motivated, another tip is to create a schedule.
• Setting your alarm and waking up at the same time
• Getting showered and dressed.
• Scheduling meals, office hours, school hours, and
• Carving out time to exercise.
Most people thrive on structure, whether they admit it or not, and creating a schedule can offer predictability and stability, which can alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety.
3. Make Every Meal Family Meal – Something else that can alleviate anxiety and create stability is scheduling mealtime and sitting down together as a family. Everyone is home right now, and the kitchen is one, easily accessible room away. Grazing and excessive snacking can not only start to impact you physically, but can do a number on you mentally, as well, when your clothes stop fitting the way they used to. Scheduling time to eat a full meal will cut down on those all-day snacking sessions and give you and your loved ones time to sit around the table and communicate with each other. Plus, this is a wonderful opportunity to try new recipes and cook together as a family!
4. Take a Breath – …of fresh air. By now, you’re likely well-acquainted with the concept of social distancing and all that
entails. In case, you are not, the CDC has the following recommendations:
• avoid gathering in large groups
• stay away from places where large crowds gather
• maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others
Just because you must maintain that 6-foot distance between yourself and others, doesn’t
mean you can’t go outside. It’s important to take breaks throughout the day, whether you’re
doing office work or housework. Take a walk, run, or even sit on the porch or in your yard.
Getting some fresh air and a little vitamin D will do wonders to boost your mood and improve
your overall mental well-being.
Tips for Physical Health
- Create an ergonomic work space – Not only will that blur the lines between work time and downtime, but you could be setting yourself up for a lot of pain from the “comfort” of your couch. Instead, try these tips to create your own ergonomic work-from-home space that will keep aches and pains at bay:
• Standard desk height is between 28 and 30 inches, depending on how tall you are.
When sitting at your desk, your forearms should be parallel to the floor, and, again,
your feet should be flat on the floor.
• Position your computer monitor or laptop about an arm’s distance away
• Position your computer monitor or laptop at a 10 to 20-degree angle, with the screen
comfortably in your line of eyesight without needing to tilt your head.
• Place your monitor perpendicular to a window to avoid glare – avoid sitting with your
back to a window or facing one.
• Choose a comfortable chair that allows you to sit with your feet flat on the floor, your
thighs parallel to the floor, and provides adequate back support. Having a high quality ergonomic chair can also help you avoid tech neck.
• Your arms should rest on your keyboard at a 45–degree angle.
If you don’t have an official office with a desk, you can create makeshift standing desk by
stacking books or boxes so your screen is at eye-level and your arms rest on your keyboard at
the 45-degree angle.
2. Exercise – Taking breaks from work and finding time to go outside and engage in some sort of activity is great for your physical well-being as much as it is for your mental well-being. During the coronavirus outbreak, it is so easy to stay planted behind your desk during the day. It’s also extremely easy to run into the kitchen and grab a snack all day long.
Instead, why not step outside and do a quick workout? If the weather isn’t nice enough yet or you don’t have an outdoor space available, there are plenty of workout apps and programs available that will help you workout from home.
There’s something for everyone – yoga, HIIT workouts, Pilates and even walking workouts you can do in your living room. Try and get at least 30 minutes of physical activity in each and every day, and since you more than likely have more time on your hands, there is no excuse to not get physical! Your mood and body will thank you!
Is Your At-Home Set Up Causing You Aches and Pains?
Even if you do find time to exercise daily, create a comfortable office space for yourself, and do everything you can to preserve your physical and mental health while working from home, you may still experience a few aches and pains (especially if you’re also chasing your children around all day). Ways to find relief from minor aches, general tension, and muscle soreness include:
• Practicing self-massage or doing some gentle stretching
• Taking a bath with some Epsom salts and essential oils
• Using a foam roller or tennis ball to give yourself some myofascial release