The fast-changing government advice has required us all to adapt quickly and for most of us, working from home has become the new normal. The initial sound of this seems perfect; flexible hours, working in your pyjamas and more time to make homemade meals. However, working from home can present a number of challenges, especially when it comes to our health. The temptation of the snacks enticing you into the kitchen, low motivation and the lack on social interaction can make it difficult to stay healthy whilst working from home.
Here are some tips to help you stay healthy when working at home:
EAT BALANCED MEALS
Maintaining a balanced diet is important especially during lockdown as eating well, benefits your physical health, immune system and mental health! There are lots of nutritious recipes you can whip up and lockdown can give you the opportunity to spend more time with the family by making home-cooked meals together. Try to incorporate lots of vegetables in your meals, varying your protein and carbohydrate sources and drinking more water. These are some examples of small healthy changes you can make. Restriction will get you no where and often leads to bingeing and restricting. Try and respect what your body wants and focus on nourishing yourself. You can find lots of balance recipes on my recipes page!
Practising mindful eating and listening to your body can help you be more in tune with your body.
As the days are normally grey and sunshine is a rare occurrence at the moment, taking a vitamin D supplement is something you might want to think about. The main source of vitamin D is from the sun and is vital for bone health and strength. There is also evidence that shows that taking vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of respiratory infections, which can be beneficial given the current climate with COVID.
It is also important to note that you don’t need to earn your calories! It is inevitable that you won’t be moving as much as you normally do but remember, your body needs to be fuelled regardless!
It can be difficult and demotivating to get our body’s moving during lockdown especially since the weather is cold and wet. Due to the new lockdown rules, we are only allowed to leave the house for an hour of exercise a day which is difficult. However, there are lots of things we can do at home to stay active.
Get up and find something that you feel comfortable doing and are able to do. Find something that you enjoy doing and make it fun; you are more likely to stick to it if it is something that you actually want to do. Anything from going on a run, going on a stroll listening to your favourite music or podcast, yoga, dancing around your house or even gardening. If you’re looking for a workout or exercise inspiration, you can find it on nearly every social media platform; YouTube, Instagram and Facebook are examples. Facetiming your friends and doing a workout together can help to motivate you or you can try do things as a family too which can help to encourage each other as well as having some family bonding time.
It is important to note that there is no extra pressure to move more than you usually would and you shouldn’t feel as though you need to exercise more as others are. Try to focus on you and do what you can! Moving your body can also improve your mental health and help to improve your mood, even doing as little as going on a walk!
LOOK AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Many difficult emotions may have arisen from coronavirus and lockdown. Fear of getting ill, overcoming COVID, government restrictions, feeling lonely due to the lack of socialising or feeling hopeless and the uncertainty about when things will be back to normal.
Be kind to yourself
The situation we currently find ourselves in is unusual and having moments where we feel low, fed up or unmotivated is normal. It is okay not to feel okay. How you are feeling is valid. You are allowed to feel upset. Don’t disregard how you are feeling because you feel as though some people might be going through something worse. Some days it might be harder to carry out simple tasks and that is okay. Practising self-care and having time for yourself can help you feel better. Self-care isn’t just painting your nails and doing a face mask, it is also acknowledging how you are feeling, finding things you enjoy doing such as reading, catching up with friends, workouts, spending time with the family, drawing. Prioritising sleep is also important and giving yourself time to switch off can help you to wind down- limiting screen time before bed can also help.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to people about how you are feeling you can always journal your thoughts and feelings. Or alternatively, there are lots of charities and organisations that are there for you to offer you support e.g. Mind, Samaritans, BEAT. Please don’t suffer in silence, your feelings are valid regardless of the circumstances.
Importance of a routine
Sticking to a routine can bring back a sense of normality for you. Structuring your days may benefit your mental health as it can help to motivate you and keep you focused. Whilst you won’t be able to completely replicate your normal routine, you can try doing some things such as showering and getting dressed as if you are going to work, going for a walk in the evening or watching a TV series with the family. Planning your meals can also structure your days and make your food shops more efficient. It is also important to try to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Working in a different room from where you relax can be helpful to switch off from work and means you can separate home life and work life.
Remember: things are difficult right now but this situation is temporary. Things will get better!
Contribution from Zoe Panaretou ANutr