Adjusting to the pandemic-induced changes to our routines and finding the motivation to stick with the habits you built earlier can be challenging. At the same time, there are other challenges of remote working, such as the blurred lines between one’s job and home life.
But the great news is that we can still get back on track by building healthy habits that align with the current environment. As offices and places start opening up, a hybrid working model is here to stay. So how can you make the most out of it while ensuring that you’re in the pink of health? We spoke to MSc. Health Psychologist & Habit Expert, Pooja Naik to dig deeper.
Seven healthy habits to enjoy working from home
1. Nourish to flourish
Feeling overwhelmed with meetings and not having fixed breaks to eat your meals on time can make you frustrated. If you catch yourself eating in your bed, at your desk or skipping meals altogether, it’s time to take charge of your health.
Healthy Habit: Block your calendar to break for lunch or tea time and meal prep the previous night.
Keep a bottle of water at your desk, commit to taking a sip after every meeting or every hour. While work commitments may never cease to exist, your body requires fuel, aka the proper nutrition, to be efficient. By eating a wholesome meal at fixed times, you’re less likely to mindlessly snack and feed your feelings.
2. Maintain a daily routine
If you find yourself waking up early, sleeping very late – feeling like there’s never enough time to get things done – it’s a sign to spend some time planning your day. Having erratic schedules can have long-term effects on your health, leaving you feeling exhausted to engage in any activities outside work.
Healthy Habit: Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.
Relaxing post-dinner is essential to wind down, turn off all electronic devices an hour before bedtime. Similarly, wake up at a fixed time and finish your morning ritual before you get to work. While you can be flexible with these timings when you have guests over or out at a party, following this strictly on weekdays becomes crucial for you to feel energetic to handle what the day has in store for you. Your daily practices will allow your body to repair and restore balance to be productive.
3. Bid goodbye to Zoom fatigue
Do you find yourself sitting for long hours, not working out and engrossed in work? – Then you’re living a sedentary lifestyle which can increase your risk for health issues such as heart disease, diabetes amongst many others. Our bodies are built to move, and research suggests that doing so for at least three minutes every hour is beneficial for our well-being.
Healthy Habit: Set reminders on your phone to stand up every hour.
You can either try some static stretches while you are standing or if you have a smartwatch, leverage the reminders you receive every hour to stand up and stretch a little. You could also attend meetings or work using a standing desk. Give yourself time off from staring at the screen for long hours.
4. Reduce the pressure to perform
It’s likely to feel like you must get more done when working from home since you’re not spending time travelling to work or going out to lunch with your colleagues. When you pressurise yourself to perform more than needed in a day, feelings of frustration and fatigue are likely to kick in.
Healthy Habit: Take shorter breaks frequently.
A short 10-minute break can help you be more productive and prevent burnout. Listen to some music or take deep breaths during that time to feel energised.
5. Find work-life balance
Do you wake up in the morning, and the first thing you do is check your work emails on your phone? Even before you’ve had your cuppa or breakfast, you’ve already put yourself in a state of work work work. Were you able to talk to your partner, parents or children and enjoy your meal before you sat down at your desk? If you resonate with this, it’s time to focus on finding a healthy work-life balance.
Healthy habit: Have a dedicated workspace.
A mini home office is critical for creating boundaries between your work and personal life. Whether it’s a desk in the living room or elsewhere, having a designated workspace becomes an anchor for work time or else you may find yourself working all the time. This way, your workspace becomes an area where you work and step away when the workday is over. You’re less likely to feel overwhelmed and have time for yourself and your family at the end of the day.
6. Social connections matter
Not having coworkers to talk to or scheduled lunches can make you feel alone while working from home – especially if you’re living away from family. Having strong workplace relationships matter for several reasons, such as productivity, innovation, collaborating or brainstorming new ideas. If you feel low because you’re unable to have such conversations as much as you used to, there’s a way to fix it.
Healthy Habit: Seek out connections.
Connect with your colleagues, find new people who share similar interests in your local area. You can schedule a time to meet up with them over the weekend. During weekdays, you can initiate and fix a time to participate in conversations with your coworkers or connect with others in your organisation. Maintaining good social connections can reduce feelings of stress and isolation.
7. Break-free from being available all the time
WhatsApp is no longer a medium to connect with just your friends. Today, you may use it more than ever to clarify any doubts regarding work with your colleagues. How do you stop feeling overwhelmed by the number of texts you receive from friends, family and colleagues?
Healthy Habit: Set boundaries about work discussions on WhatsApp.
Trying to reply to every text message to show your productivity and commitment can make you dread using the app. Some queries may need immediate attention; however, perceived urgency can cause you to feel burnout and frustrated most of the time. Use different lines of communication — Gmail, WhatsApp, Slack etc — wisely to reduce feeling stressed out.
Our Final Thoughts
Working remotely may involve specific difficulties that you may not encounter in an office environment. Building healthy habits to address some of the challenges you may face can be a great start to make the most out of this new setup. Remember to have self-compassion when you slip or have setbacks; it’s all right not to have it together all the time. Start with taking tiny steps, and these practices will eventually become a habit that will serve you well.
If you currently feel stuck and find it difficult to build healthy habits into your routine, why not give Cult Transform a try.