Erica Digap / Feb 16

Staying Healthy While Working From Home 

Erica Digap / Feb 16

If there’s one love/hate relationship that has blossomed over the last couple of years, it’s the relationship between workers and the era of WFH. 

Working from a home office comes with a ton of perks. But keeping healthy while working from home can be a constant struggle. Here’s why finding ways to stay moving is more crucial now than ever before, plus tips for staying healthy while working from home. 

Why working from home is bad for you

Working from home has major perks: you get to work from the comfort of your own home, you can concentrate on tasks at hand rather than being distracted by a busy work environment, and, most crucially for many, no more soul-draining commute time. 

But working from home has its definite downfalls, especially when it comes to mental and physical health. You’re stuck inside all day, which can play major tricks on your mental health and wellness, and your work responsibilities probably look pretty different, which can lead to frustration and stress. But perhaps most pertinently, the utter lack of movement while working a desk job solo means that your activity level takes a major downfall, sometimes into sedentary levels. Most recently, a survey of WFH-ers during the pandemic found that workers reported an increase in physical pain, symptoms of anxiety, weight gain, discouragement, and headaches. 

So staying fit while working from home can definitely come with its fair share of obstacles. But the good news? By planning your day out intentionally, you can definitely find ways to stay fit and healthy no matter how dreary your home office may be. 

10 Ways To Stay Healthy While Working From Home

  1. Find more time to walk.

One of the biggest issues that can get in the way of staying healthy while working remotely is the sheer amount of time you spend sitting. Even if you were working a desk job before, the freedom of working from home means that you don’t even have to walk to and from your car and through your office building to reach your desk — your “commute” is probably just a couple of steps at most. 

So if your goal is staying fit while working from home, your first step should be to intentionally find ways to walk more. Whether that means taking a quick walk around the block every time you’re taking a break, going for a longer stroll around your neighborhood before and after you’re clocked in, or just pacing around your house rather than sitting on your phone. Find opportunities to get those steps in whenever you can. 

  1. Schedule time for screen breaks.

You’re probably finding that you’re spending a lot of time staring at a screen these days, which is not great for your health. All that screen time can lead to eye strain, not to mention the constant exposure to blue light that messes with your sleep. So whenever you get a chance, take a screen break! Find other things to do on your breaks rather than stare at your phone and start trying out some other hobbies in your downtime that don’t involve watching TV. Your physical and mental health can benefit from this. 

  1. Intentionally carve out time in your schedule for a daily workout. 

Wondering how to stay fit and healthy while working from home? Don’t. Skip. Your. Workouts! 

One great way to do this is to invest in a gym membership. Not only does it give you the obvious benefit of keeping fit while working from home, but it also gives you a place to go on a regular basis that isn’t the other room. Or, if you do have the space for it, you can also build your own home gym that’s apart from your regular office! Finally, if you can’t justify the costs, just find a trainer on YouTube and follow along with their workouts. No matter what it is you’re doing, get moving. 

  1. Meal prep. 

You may find yourself with more time to cook since you’re saving all that commute time, but meal prep isn’t just for those in a time crunch. Meal-prepping nutrient-rich lunches and dinners are a great way to continue eating healthy while working from home. It also adds some predictability to your day and saves time anyway, so you can dedicate it to doing more stuff that doesn’t involve sitting at a desk or hanging out on the couch. 

  1. Get a standing desk.

Standing more often can make a huge difference in your workday. Sitting for long hours has been linked to a huge range of health problems including obesity and more than 30 chronic conditions and it even has its own name: “sitting disease.” So investing in a standing desk can make a world of difference in how to stay fit and healthy while working from home. Start by standing and sitting in alternate 30-minute increments, then increase your standing time until you’re spending the majority of your workday standing rather than sitting. 

  1. Take it one step further and get a walking pad for your standing desk. 

Walking pads have been all the rage on TikTok lately, and it’s no big mystery why. Not only does it solve the issue of sedentary sitting during your workday, but it also lets you get more steps without sacrificing your time to do it. Look for a compact walking pad that you can easily slide under your standing desk and put away when you need a break. 

  1. Make an effort to meet up with friends in real life, not just through a screen. 

Staying mentally healthy while working from home is just as important as staying physically healthy, especially since you’re probably spending most of the day alone or close to it. To keep your spirits up, make time at least once a week to spend with people in real life so that you can stay social.   

  1. Make your snack breaks intentional.

It can be really easy to get carried away with excessive snacking while you’re working from home, especially since you don’t have a deskmate to judge you for plowing through that whole bag of chips. But mindless eating can lead to overconsumption, which isn’t great for your physical health. Keep plenty of healthier snacks on hand and be mindful while snacking (that means staying in the moment, not staring at your screen lost in thought and losing track of how much you’ve eaten). 

  1. Take regular breaks. 

Finally, it’s important to give yourself plenty of time for breaks especially if you spend most of the day staring at a computer and losing track of time.

How often should you take breaks working from home? Honestly, as many as you can spare while still getting your work done! One great method to ensure regular breaks is to follow a modified Pomodoro technique: focus on work tasks for 45 minutes straight, then give yourself the last 15 minutes of the hour to move around. 

  1. Go outside whenever you can. 

Yes, introverts: sometimes it’s really nice not having to put on real clothes and leave the comfort of your home. But you need some time outdoors for fresh air and sunshine (Vitamin D!). Make a point to get outside as much as you can — start off by standing outside first thing in the morning to get some sunshine, which can help regulate your hormones. That sunshine in the morning can augment your body’s natural circadian rhythms of suppressing melatonin and increasing cortisol for better productivity during the day! 

The bottom line

Is working from home healthy? No, probably not. But it can be if you’re organizing your day the right way!