Stop whatever you’re doing right now, close your eyes and visualize this word: FITNESS. Jot down whatever comes to your mind. Does it include your diet, exercise, mental health, spiritual and emotional health, social prosperity? Did you miss out on something?
Well, when it comes to fitness, we often restrict our vision to a few aspects and end up feeling incapable of staying fit. In reality, fitness is an amalgam of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social well-being. You cannot miss out on several aspects and still consider yourself fit. Coming to the point, working from home has affected almost every aspect of our health and we’re here to help you out with one of the biggest questions of this year: How to stay fit while working from home?
You don’t need to have a home-gym setup, a personal nutritionist, a supply of organic produce from a farm and a spa at your home to feel fit and healthy. Despite the conventional belief, being healthy is never expensive if you do it the right way. Here’s a short guide to efficiently maintaining your fitness while working from home!
Eat well and eat enough
This might seem like generic advice but if you’d ask any healthcare professional, they would tell you that physical fitness is 80% diet and 20% exercise. Not that exercise doesn’t matter, but diet matters a lot. Your gut is literally your second brain and the way your thoughts affect your overall health, your food does exactly the same.
We understand that it is difficult to make meal plans and stick to them given the stress and workload. But hey, there’s always a way out. Most of us are more prone to ordering take out, but in the same amount you’d spend on that junk food and the same time you’d spend on just deciding on an item and ordering it, you can prepare yourself a healthy meal. You just need to challenge yourself a bit and shift your mindset a little.
Try this out. Whenever you’re free, go out and buy yourself some fresh vegetables and fruits. Buy your favourite salad dressings and sauces, but make sure they don’t have a lot of additives and preservatives. Get a few packs of pasta and your favourite bread. Some dark chocolate, nuts and seeds, your favourite herbs, your preferred varieties of cheese and some milk as well. If you get your weekends all by yourself, just push yourself to spare an hour and chop those veggies for the week. Store them in the refrigerator to stop them from getting spoiled. Peel some garlic cloves and store them in the fridge too. Make sure you include veggies of all colours while shopping.
That’s it! This is everything you’ll need to prepare your meals. Feeling lazy? Whip up an instant salad by mixing the chopped veggies with your favourite dressing. There’s your daily dose of fibre and micronutrients. Craving something sweet? Take out those fruits, cut them, add some dates, nuts, some pumpkin seeds or chia seeds, and make a smoothie bowl. Want to make it more filling? Add oats and yoghurt to it! If you’re craving something cheesy and savoury, use the same veggies and mix some boiled pasta in, throw in some of your favourite cheese and there! You have your dish ready.
Also, keep some healthy snacks available in your kitchen but restrict yourself from constant snacking. Last but not the least, keep a check on your junk food consumption. It is okay to indulge in unhealthy food every once in a while, but do not overdo it. Stress eating is a real thing but don’t let it get the better of you!
Stay physically active
This, and we cannot stretch it enough, is important for your physical health as well as mental health. Your body is meant to move. Humans wouldn’t be gifted with such versatile motility if the plan was to keep us living sedentary lives, isn’t it? And, did you know that physical activity is important for us to release our “Happy hormones”? Have a look at this actionable list for you to stay physically active.
- Do a full-body stretch when you wake up and stretch your body while you’re working too. Take small breaks to at least stretch your hands, legs and neck.
- Your limbs aren’t the only body parts that need your attention. Set up your working space in a visually serene area of your house which is not much distractive. Look at a calm space, away from your screen to give them a little rest.
- Have an ergonomica ergonomiccomfortable chair that allows a healthy posture and doesn’t resist a properly aligned spine. If not that, get a standing desk and ditch the chair altogether.
- Take small breaks and walk for at least five minutes after every half hour. It would be nice if you could get out to do the same, get some fresh air and natural light as well.
- To do all of this, have a habit of setting timers and alerts since it is very easy to lose track of time while working.
- Get yourself enrolled in an online fitness class be it Zumba, Pilates, or Yoga.
While indulging in any kind of physical activity, make sure that you’re wearing proper clothing that fits the kind of exercise you’re doing. Your muscles are already sore from the constant sedentary lifestyle, and you need to care for your body by all means possible. Invest in clothing items that are comfortable for everyday wear, and also purchase activewear for your everyday workouts.
If possible, enrol in the nearest gym and maintain a workout schedule. If not, do not give up. Do home workouts instead. And it’s completely fine if you don’t know exactly what to do. Just start, and keep researching and experimenting along the way. YouTube, Instagram and other video streaming services will be helpful to you since a lot of fitness instructors, nutritionists, and health coaches are active on these platforms.
Take care of your mental health
This is the most ignored, yet the most important part of your health and fitness. If you are not doing well mentally, your physical health will reflect the same on your body. The first thing you need to do is to get enough sleep. Not sleeping enough can cause major harm including, but not limited, to weight gain, indigestion, lethargy etc. You could be having the perfect diet and doing the perfect workout every day but if you don’t sleep enough, all of that will only backfire and do what it isn’t exactly supposed to do. Your food won’t be digested properly and you won’t recover from your workouts either.
Setting boundaries is yet another thing you need to do. Work culture in a lot of companies has become toxic and that’s taking a huge toll on employee’s health. Always make sure to set boundaries when it comes to working. Do not allow anyone to overburden you under be it any reason. While it is good to be dedicated to your work and organization, there’s a limit to everything and you need to identify where to draw a line. Seek therapy if you feel that this phase is being a little too overwhelming for you. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with seeking help and prioritizing yourself.
Choose to indulge in exercises that help you do well by all means. Yoga practice is booming in a lot of countries due to it’s mental and physical benefits. It gives you a sense of mental stability and peace.
Give yourself a break and indulge in some self-care
Most of the time we’re under the impression that not doing anything is not productive. Let us tell you one thing, resting is productive. Taking a break is productive. It is only by taking a break that you deserve, will you feel more energetic and enthusiastic for the next day, week or month.
Do not let the addiction of productivity consume you. For you to work efficiently and wholeheartedly, you also need to care for yourself. If you enjoy doing skincare, have a skincare routine for yourself. If you love a sport, take out some time to play during the week. If you are a fan of reading, make it a point to read a few pages every day. Your self-care routine is subjective to you and you don’t have to play by any rules when it comes to caring for yourself. If you love doing makeup, dressing up and clicking photos, or going out, do that. If you love cooking, by all means, go for it. The sky is the limit. Whatever you do should make you feel good about yourself. You are worthy of all the happiness and your self-care activities should make you feel just that way.
A little make-believe never hurt anyone!
It is very important for you to be in the work mode if you are working from home. Always take a shower and dress up for your job to raise your morale. Have a cup of your favourite beverage and set aside all the distractions that could limit your productivity. Set up a separate workspace if you get easily distracted. Behave as if you’re at your workspace and not at home while you’re working. How is this related to staying fit? It is!
When you are in a comfortable and cosy working environment such as your bed, you tend to spend a lot of time procrastinating the work. When the deadlines are nearing, you try to crunch in a lot of work and stress yourself out over the same. Instead of doing that, wouldn’t it be better to keep a productive mindset and get done with the said work, and then do whatever you want? Sure, small breaks are necessary but do not let the fact that you’re at home, affect your work quality.
Staying fit is obviously a choice but if you choose not to look after yourself, the consequences won’t be of your choice. We’re definitely not going back to the normal working model for a considerable time and if you keep ignoring our health for long, you’ll be out of solutions to reverse the scenario. Lifestyle disorders are a result of a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits in most cases. And deciding to lead your life in a healthier manner will keep you away from these diseases even if you have a genetic predisposition to them.
Remember that each component of your health is equally important and looking after a few and ignoring the others won’t take you anywhere. Also, working from home could be a little hectic and difficult at times. Do not consider yourself incapable of balancing your work and personal life. Know that everyone is facing the same problem and make sure you’re not too harsh on yourself. Cheers!