Many of us dream of working from home. But dreams rarely become realities unless we plan and work hard to make them come true. And sometimes, the reality of what we actually achieve is far from what we had envisioned! If this has happened to you, don’t be discouraged. There are always ways of shaping your world into the one you desire.
In my current series of posts, “The Art of Working from Home,” my goal is to share my personal experiences and hopefully help guide you through some of the challenges you will no doubt face working “virtually.” I described the art of traveling while working from home, autonomy in your work-from-home job, and, in my last post, how to maintain your social skills.
But what about your physical health? This is an important, yet often overlooked, factor when you are about to experience a new day-to-day reality. When your new job is as a remote employee, be prepared for a whole new set of circumstances that can impact your health.
When I first started working from home, I was so overjoyed to be at home that I unconsciously placed my personal health habits on hold. I mean, COME ON! Who needs to brush their teeth and take a shower in the morning, when you can simply roll out of bed (if even that) and open your laptop, in order to be “at work”? Right?
You might think I’m being a bit over the top here, but it’s very easy to forget about the small details, like hygiene, your health, or a dress code when you have no one around you to “judge” you.
Never fear. With a bit of consciousness and effort, you can create a healthy routine that will keep you comfortable, looking good, and feeling good about yourself. Hey, you could even get into better shape. Because, on the flip side, working from home does afford you flexibility—and more time, since you won’t be stuck in commuter traffic—to factor in some healthy habits during your day.
Here are some of my personal mantras for keeping a healthy routine.
Set daily reminders. I often get up early, hit the computer, and then sort of forget that my regular morning routine—the one I would surely follow if I were going to the office—fades away. I am talking about brushing my teeth, eating a solid breakfast, walking the dog, showering, and attempting to look good. If the same happens to you, I suggest you create as many reminders as you need and use as many services as you like, so you truly don’t forget. Google Keep and Google Calendar are my favorites, but there is a huge selection of apps and services out there. Don’t be shy. Create reminders for any small thing that usually slips your mind, like personal hygiene and the list I put forth above. You might laugh at some items on my list, but we each have our challenges! For me, reminders make the difference between wanting to do something to physically detaching from my mouse and keyboard and doing them.
Healthy body, equals a happier and more energized camper. Sitting in front of a computer is definitely going to get you in shape … a round shape! Being able to incorporate exercise into your daily routine is, if you take advantage of it, one of the greatest aspects of working from home. Get your daily dose of exercise, which is, according to the Mayo Clinic FAQ page, “for most healthy adults … at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, and do strength training exercises at least twice a week.” Regular exercise is proven to positively impact your energy and mood. Also, try to eat as well as possible. One of the best parts of working from home is having all of your kitchen space and tools available to make a healthy lunch for yourself. However, there are definite vulnerabilities to having your kitchen steps away and the flexibility to snack all the time. So beware: You need to take positive advantage of your new access to food. If you need extra help in this area, regular visits to a licensed nutritionist can be the best guide to a healthy diet that fits your particular needs.
Believe in yourself and manifest that confidence on the outside. Sometimes it’s easy to put ourselves last on the list: “I’ll clean myself up after I finish this one thing!” So, there should also be a time to put you first—even if just for a few minutes—and show the world that you are worth it. As long as you are doing a great job, nobody will object to you taking a break to do yoga or walk the dog. Simply changing your mentality a little bit can help you accomplish great things in life. So, make your bed, clean your house, take a shower, shave (or groom), organize as much as possible, and try to dress up a bit. Of course, it’s a balance, and sometimes working in your PJs is the right thing to do … but just keep things in a healthy balance for you. Remember that although no one is actually looking at you (unless you’re on a video call!), YOU are looking at you, and looking good will boost your self-image and keep you in a healthy state of mind.
Go ahead and try some (or all) of these and let me know in the comments below if you feel any difference.
Establishing a healthy routine is as much about ensuring a healthy mind as it is a healthy body. You (and your coworkers) will find that you are more alert, attentive, and generally pleasant to work with, which will validate that working from home is good thing. It will also allow you to be more in control of your work-from-home routine, since no one will complain about you abusing the system—quite the contrary.
In any case, when you take control of your work-from-home reality, and set goals and achieve them, you’ll end up feeling great, and a happy person is also someone who thrives in all areas of life, including work. So, gain control of your daily life. Use the strength within you and become a rock star at the art of working from home.
I’m excited about working from home; it’s opened up a new life/work reality for me. Please share any thoughts, comments, or questions you have on the subject, so I can learn from you as we all continue on this journey together.