Health Tips for Remote Work Life | San Antonio LASIK
How to Practice a Healthy Lifestyle While Working From Home
According to the Pew Research Center, around a third of U.S. employees work from home full-time. This is a large portion of employees, and it’s only expected to grow. While job functions may not change, the difference between working in person and working from home can be drastic. Not only do you have to get used to new, completely online work processes, but you also have to get used to literally bringing your work home, which is something you may never have done before the COVID-19 pandemic kicked off remote work life.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle while working from home is different than maintaining a healthy lifestyle while working in person. While the basics are the same, there are certain considerations you need to account for. This guide will help you adjust to or improve your remote working lifestyle.
Acknowledge the Challenges of Remote Life
The first step in creating healthy habits, or improving your health and wellness during remote life, is to acknowledge how it isn’t always ideal to switch to full-time remote. Especially if you live with other people, it can be a struggle to build a productive workspace around a busy household.
If you have other responsibilities in your day, such as child care or housework, figuring out how to balance working from home can be difficult, and your physical and mental health can suffer. This is why it’s so important to be proactive about your health within your remote lifestyle, and start healthy habits right from the get-go. Not only will preventive health practices improve your experience working from home, but they can also increase your physical and mental health along the way.
Create a Designated Workspace
Having a set workspace in your home has several benefits for remote workers. It can help encourage a “working” mindset when you’re in that space, and a “home” mindset outside of it. This separation between your workspace and personal space may improve your work/life balance, focus, and even your efficiency.
A designated workspace can be anything from a spare room to an area with a desk. Here are some tips for getting the most out of it:
- Face your working area away from the rest of your home, or at least out of view.
- Get a designated desk and chair that you only use for work.
- Ensure that you have adequate lighting in your space.
- Don’t clutter your area with things that may cause distractions.
Curating a designated workspace can be especially helpful if you’re new to remote work, and can help revitalize your work routine as a remote employee.
Develop Social Connections
Establishing social connections is one way you can make your work environment feel more enjoyable and personable. These connections are especially important for remote employees looking to practice a healthy lifestyle. There are several ways you can start to foster social connections, either with local or online coworkers, neighbors, or a coworking community.
Look for meetups in your area based on your hobbies and interests. For example, there could be hiking groups, table game and chess clubs, running groups, book clubs, and sports leagues. Or try volunteering for a cause you love and be proactive about socializing with your fellow volunteers.
Networking events for professionals in your industry, as well as online communities, can be a great outlet for social connections related to work. These connections help you feel supported, and a part of a community, while you’re working in a more isolated environment.
Monitor Your Screen Time
Too much time staring at a screen while you’re working from home can have a detrimental impact on your eye health. You could experience dry eyes — possibly due to the prevalence of incomplete blinks. Or you could have ocular migraines, which may be exacerbated by looking at a computer screen that emits bright blue light all day. Therefore, keep tabs on your screen time, especially since you probably are also using a cell phone.
You could set a timer to go off every 20 minutes, at which point, spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away. This gives your eyes a much-needed break. There are also apps to limit the amount of blue light your screen emits.
Ensure you’re keeping regular appointments with an eye doctor to monitor your eye health over time. If you find that your vision is bothersome and you don’t want to constantly fill new eyeglass prescriptions or wear contacts, LASIK surgery will help optimize your vision for years. Additionally, there are other health procedures that can help you live your best life as you engage in an occupation highly dependent on clear sight.
Eat a Nutritious Diet and Stay Hydrated
Because remote work is often very sedentary by nature, a healthy diet is all the more important. Foods for vascular and heart health can help counteract some of the side effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Remote work also typically involves a lot of screen time, which can damage your eyes. Certain foods can help increase eye health, and reduce screen-related symptoms like fatigue and headache.
A healthy diet will look different for everyone, but you can make a great start by incorporating more good fats, like avocados and fish, into your diet, increasing your intake of leafy green vegetables, like broccoli and kale, and reducing your sodium intake. On the same note, most people are more dehydrated than they think.
According to the National Library of Medicine, 75% of American adults are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration can increase fatigue and make it harder to focus, and more serious dehydration may even require hospitalization. The most popular medical advice is to drink somewhere between six to eight cups of water a day, however, you can calculate a more precise formula by multiplying your weight by 0.5 ounces.
Exercise is often the companion to a healthy diet, because of the tandem benefits they provide. Because remote work can be very isolating, exercise is a great way to get out of your house, socialize, or spend time outside. Even if you work out inside your home, you can still reap the benefits of exercise. Online video platforms like YouTube make it easy to take classes, from pilates to kickboxing, right from your living room.
According to the CDC, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week. Moderate activities may include a brisk walk or casual biking pace, while vigorous activities include swimming, jogging, and most sports. Creating a regular exercise routine can help improve heart health, brain health, and even reduce symptoms associated with mental illness, as well as help improve other aspects of your life, such as your body image, or posture.
Maintain a Good Posture
You’ve probably heard that good posture is important — but may not know exactly why. Maintaining good posture is beneficial to both your physical and mental health. Physically, good posture can reduce inflammation in the joints, help maintain spine health, and help you maintain core wellness.
Mentally, maintaining good posture can help improve confidence, reduce stress, and even help you perform better under pressure. This is why practicing good posture in the workplace is such a boon, for both in-person and remote workers. Here are a few ways to maintain good posture, according to Harvard Health:
- Keep your chin parallel to the floor;
- Engage your core;
- Aim for a neutral spine;
- Distribute your weight evenly to both feet;
- Keep your knees pointing straight ahead.
Getting into the habit of maintaining good posture can have a host of lifelong benefits, for both your professional and personal life.
Sleep is an incredibly important part of your overall health, and poor sleep can have a marked effect on your work performance. Some people who work from home may find it difficult to create and maintain a restful sleep schedule, when work is so accessible. It can be hard to create boundaries, and a feeling of peace. This is where creating a designated space is important, as well as fostering other sleep health habits. Good sleep health habits include:
- Limiting screen time before bed;
- Going to bed around the same time every night;
- Keeping your room dark and quiet;
- Avoiding large meals and caffeine before bed;
- Creating a wind-down routine that signals to your brain it’s time to sleep.
It’s important to note that there is a difference between sleep, and restful sleep. Poor quality sleep can leave you feeling just as unrested as no sleep at all. These habits will help you increase the quality of your sleep, which has several benefits, such as reducing overall stress, thinking more clearly, and improving engagement with tasks.
Set Work-Life Boundaries
We can’t over-emphasize the importance of work-life boundaries while working from home. Resist the urge to engage in any sort of work activities outside of regular hours, and set boundaries with your employer. When you’re off the clock, fully immerse yourself in activities that keep your mind off of work. When you set your routine, do your best to delineate non-working hours and stick to them. Doing so will keep you from burning out.
Stick to a Routine
There are several benefits to creating and sticking to a routine, especially when it comes to working from home. Because you’re accountable for your own workflow and productivity, having a routine can make it easier to “manage” yourself throughout your day. To get started, try making a log of all the things you do in a day, and when you do them. Analyze what’s working and what isn’t; make adjustments and keep the ones that feel best based on your sleeping, eating, and exercising habits. Following this natural pattern can be a great start to creating a work routine.
Following and sticking to a work routine can also make it easier for you to start new personal routines, such as workouts, hobbies, and skills, as you can transfer the skills or mindset that you use.
One of the hardest things to remember, especially if you’re new to remote work, is to take breaks. Because you’re at home, it may not feel like you need a break, or should be taking one. However, breaks are good for your brain, and can improve your performance and attitude, as well as make you feel refreshed when taking on your tasks for the rest of the day. When working from home, try to keep your break away from your working area, so that you keep those work/life balance lines well-enforced.
For example, you could take a short walk, do some yoga, or get a drink of water. Anything that gives you a break from your current task, and lets your brain reset. Try not to think about these breaks in terms of how you can be productive, and think more about what will help make you feel refreshed, to tackle the rest of your day.
Whether or not working from home is your first choice, you can make it work for you in a healthy and productive way. With a few lifestyle adjustments, you’ll be able to create helpful habits that can improve your physical and mental health.
Be sure to talk to one of our doctors about not only the benefits of LASIK, but also any risks of LASIK that may pertain to your individual needs and circumstances.