When working at home, it is important to maintain your health and well-being, especially during these stressful times. Here are some tips for how to stay well while working from home:
- Guard your sleep by keeping a regular schedule: Set a regular schedule for getting up and going to sleep. It’s ideal to continue to get up and go to bed at the same time as you would if you were still going in to the office. Also keep in mind that stress takes a toll on your body; you may need more sleep than usual, and that’s okay.
- Eat healthy: You now have more access to your food supply than you would in your office, so be conscious about how and what you are eating. Remember the 80/20 rule – 80% healthy foods and 20% “want” foods. It can be easy to fall into the pattern of grabbing a little food every time you are in the kitchen, but those little nibbles can pile on a lot of extra calories. Instead, set yourself regular snack times and have a healthy snack, such as piece of fruit, a lowfat yogurt or a cup of popcorn. Drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day, as even slight dehydration can make you feel tired.
- Beware of the chair: It’s important not to sit for long periods of time as it is not only good for your heart health, but it drains your energy. Try getting up and moving around once an hour to sustain your energy throughout the day. Put on some music and dance for 10 minutes, lift weights or household objects, walk up and down the stairs or take a quick wellness walk outside. If you’re home with your children, ask them to join you. You can construct a standing desk at home by piling up books or putting your laptop on a low stool on top of a table.
- Shed stress regularly: Instead of waiting until work time is over, try to release stress regularly throughout the day so that it doesn’t build up and wear you out. Try a five-minute meditation, take five slow deep breaths at regular intervals throughout the day or write in a journal about what is on your mind. Start each day by counting a few people or things you are grateful for and read five minutes in a positive thinking book. This “me” time will help you be more present for others. If you are stressed or anxious to the point that it is starting to interfere with your functioning, reach out to your healthcare provider or employee assistance program.
- Monitor your social wellness: Feeling isolated? Miss talking to people?Pick up the phone and call a coworker instead of sending an email. Have a virtual lunch with a friend. Don’t wait until feelings of loneliness become overwhelming—try to get a little “social time” by video conference or phone every day after work so that you can keep your spirits up.
Finally, help to prevent the spread of infection. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, maintain physical distance from others and do your part to keep the coronavirus from spreading.
Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, EBP-C, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN
Vice President for Health Promotion, University Chief Wellness Officer
Dean and Professor, College of Nursing
Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, College of Medicine
Executive Director, Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare
The Ohio State University