In parts one and two of our Home Office Health Series, we looked at ways to support our cognitive health and our emotional health. With part three, we’ll explore some methods for supporting our body while working from home with tips for healthful eating, hydration, and movement.
Build a Meal Routine
In the same way that we plan other aspects of our routines (showering, feeding pets, working out), it helps to establish when throughout the day we’re going to eat. This helps to keep us from grazing all day and helps the following tip as well.
Make Sure to Actually Eat
This sounds overly simple, but it helps us make sure to actually eat. It can be easy to get so immersed in a project that taking a break and eating becomes challenging, but it’s important to recognize our hunger cues and understand that not eating can affect our alertness and productivity.
Working at home, it’s amazing to not have to microwave leftovers or eat take out for every meal, but sometimes the freedom of being able to cook whatever we want can be overwhelming. Meal prepping our lunches, whether that’s assembling a fully prepared meal that’s ready to go straight from fridge to reheat, having all the veggies pre-cut to and rice cooked to whip up a quick grain bowl, or just simply having a plan so we don’t have to make a decision about what we’ll we eating, allows us to prepare something quickly and easily.
Go for Nutritionally-Dense Foods
Alongside planning ahead, the more time we have, the more likely we are to be able to focus on getting some nutritionally-dense foods onto our plates. I’m sure I’m not the only person who, since transitioning to working from home, has found themselves standing in front of the pantry eating dry cereal out of the box for lunch.
Be Mindful of Portions
Working at home, it can be easy to eat all of our foods directly out of their original packaging or container—it’s fast, simple, and results in less clean up—what’s not to love?! However, it’s much harder to comprehend portions this way versus transferring our food to a plate or bowl.
Avoid Working in the Kitchen
If the fridge is constantly in our line of vision, it’s tempting to go check it out every five minutes. Whenever possible, try to keep your workspace separate from your kitchen
When You Eat, Just Eat
It’s tempting to work straight through a meal when the office is at home, but we’re doing ourselves a disservice here too. Being distracted during a meal can lead to overeating and decreased satisfaction and fullness from the meal. Whenever possible, we can take a break from work to sit down at a table and savor our lunch while relaxing for a few minutes. We’ll enjoy the meal more, and the mental break may even help us feel more prepared for the rest of our work day.
Just like you might keep a water bottle at your desk in an office, it’s helpful to keep one at our desk at home. If we have water available—and it’s in our line of sight—we’re more likely to drink it.
Be Mindful of Caffeine Intake
Initially, one of my favorite things about working from home was the quality of the coffee. I’m very lucky, and a bit spoiled, in that my husband is a bit of a coffee nerd and I suddenly had endless access to delicious bean juice all day long. However, more is not always better when it comes to caffeine. It can cause headaches, anxiety, digestive issues, and even, ironically, fatigue. Dietary recommendations suggest no more than two per day (and if you’re a troubled sleeper, avoid it altogether after 2pm!).
Make Time for Movement
Our bodies LOVE to move, and they NEED to move. They might not always feel like it, but more often than not, they will reward us with a boost of energy and fewer aches and pains throughout the day. Movement doesn’t have to a sweat session in order to “count”. A walk around the block or a quick stretch session will leave our bodies so much happier than sitting at our desk straight through the day.
Making changes and establishing routines can be tough. Rather than going for the complete overhaul, try starting with what feels exciting and doable for you, and then build on that success. Change can feel less daunting when we have support and accountability. Your Wellview Health Advisors, Dietitians, and Personal Trainers are here to help you create the changes that you want to see in your life.
Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– ERIN ALLEN, NBC-HWC, CPT, SFG1