How to Stay Fit (and Sane) When Working From Home

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woman working from home

Whether you're working from home permanently or only on occasion, the set-up can be jarring at first. Eliminating the commute and water cooler talk can definitely add some flexibility to the day, but it's also a little too easy to procrastinate or forget about self-care. As you settle into your home office, use these tips to stay healthy, productive and sane.

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Stick to Your Routine

Rolling out of bed and working in your pajamas sounds like a dream...for about three days. Eventually, a lack of routine can leave you feeling disoriented and unproductive. While working from home offers some distinct comforts, it's key to stick to a schedule whenever possible. If you thrive on early morning strength training, keep it up. If you prefer an evening jog, make a point to shut down your computer and get out the door. 

Set Boundaries

With no commute to mark the beginning and end of the day, it's easy to end up working odd hours. To give yourself a much-needed mental break, adhere to normal work hours whenever possible. Let co-workers know you'll be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (or whenever you usually work). Make an effort to be "on" during your shift—no TV marathons or errands allowed. And when you're off the clock, set work aside and focus on other things (like the foam rolling you always skip!).

Schedule What's Important

With so much time spent at home, it's easy for the hours and days to blend together. If something is a priority, whether that's a long run, a trip to the grocery store or a client meeting, make sure you pencil it into your calendar. Jotting down what needs to get done and assigning it a time can free up some mental space. 

Get Some Fresh Air

When you're working from home, it's easy for days to go by without leaving the house. But fresh air and sunshine will do wonders for your mood and productivity. Take a break from work and plan a short lunchtime run, or if you have a phone meeting, consider taking it while on a walk. If you return a bit sweaty, no one has to know!

Eat Real Meals

Some work from home employees forget to eat all together while others nibble on junk food all day long. Without set meal breaks, it can be tough to meet your nutritional needs. Instead of mindlessly eating in front of the computer, step away from your work and make time for meals. Wholesome meals don't have to be complicated—try quick and filling options like avocado toast, smoothies, grain bowls or scrambled eggs.

Don't Forget About Your Mental Health

Regular exercise, solid nutrition and adequate sleep will keep you physically healthy, but without regular interaction with co-workers, you'll want to pay special attention to your mental state. It can be easy to feel isolated when working from home, so make a point to schedule phone or video check-ins often. Create new traditions, such as virtual happy hours or Monday morning "coffee catch-ups" to stay connected. If you're feeling stressed, consider starting a meditation practice or using an app such as Headspace or Calm.

Working from home isn't always easy (especially during a pandemic!), but as long as you set boundaries and make time for self-care, you'll thrive.

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