Since COVID, working from home has become a regular occurrence for many of us. Even with offices back open, flexible and home-working seems to be something that is sticking around – potentially for good! This is preferable for many people, but I also know that sticking to routines and wellbeing practices when working from home can bring up a new kind of struggle. Here are 7 tips to help you...
1. EAT AT REGULAR INTERVALS
2. OPT FOR LOW-SUGAR AND LOW-GLYCEMIC FOODS
If you are used to going to the gym or exercising several times per week, and your home exercise routine is not yet established, your energy output for the next several weeks will be greatly reduced. If stabilising your weight is a priority for you, remember to adjust your calorie input for your new physical routines. Keeping an eye on portion sizes and avoiding added sugar will keep you on the right track.
If you have kids at home with you, keeping routines will be challenging, and sweet treats are always a tempting incentive for finishing chores and school work. But just remember the sugar crash! Maintaining balanced energy levels is always ideal, and even more so at times when groups of people or family are sharing confined space.
Besides the obvious sugary snacks, foods with a high glycemic index (GI) increase the blood glucose levels steeply over a short period of time. After the peak comes the downfall, which will have an impact on your energy level and emotions.
3. KEEP A MODERATE CONSUMPTION OF CAFFEINE AND ALCOHOL
In the same spirit as above, keep your caffeine consumption at a lower level than usual, and be wise when it comes to consuming alcohol.
You may enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day to calm your nerves or keep your spirits up. But be aware that only a couple of weeks are enough to create a new habit that you might struggle getting rid of when things are back to normal.
4. TIME TO EMBRACE HOME COOKING
For many of my coaching clients, under normal circumstances, getting into home cooking is seen as a ‘necessary evil’. Those who are typically in corporate settings learned to rely on canteens to get their warm meals. Breakfast is often basic or forgotten, and the ‘best’ meals are usually shared at a business dinner.
With the current situation, we are all thrown back into the kitchen and, all of a sudden, have to depend on our own culinary skills to nurture ourselves and satisfy our taste buds. But before you put on your apron, take a moment to assess and re-set your belief around home cooking.
If you’ve always felt it was a waste of time, start to get excited for the opportunity to create something nourishing with your own hands.
If you dread homecoming because of your ‘terrible’ skills, now’s the time to practice! Open those cookbooks and search for ways to get creative with the supplies you have in your cupboard. It only takes a bit of imagination and dedication to make even the most basic meals delicious.
If you’re cohabiting or have family with you, get everyone to chip in. You can make it a fun experience for everyone involved.
Remember to also keep an eye on food waste. Now is not the time to bin those leftovers nor leave them forgotten in the fridge. Save both unused prepped food and cooked leftovers; remember, the freezer is your friend when it comes to preserving cooked meals for longer. With a bit of meal planning, you’ll be surprised how they all combine to make extra, tasty meals!
Whether you’re used to exercising regularly or not, now is the time to continue or start!
If you’re a regular exerciser, stay committed to sweating a few times per week. It will keep your body energised and also support you to maintain the level of fitness that makes you feel great - in your body and your mind. It’s so much harder to get back into routines once we’ve gotten out of them.
Even if you haven’t exercised much, now is a great time to welcome in some additional movement into your day. When staying at home, working from the laptop, and reducing our usual physical outputs, our body can become stiff and uncomfortable.
There are so many great exercise options, from yoga to HIIT classes, that you can find online. There are training apps, online programmes and live streams that you can participate in. Try out new equipment, such as TheraBands, which are an effective way to build your strength in your own home - no weights needed. If you are able to get outside, go for a run in nature; it’s a great way to be outside, clear the mind, and nourish the body while still respecting social distancing.
6. START LISTENING TO YOUR BODY
In the absence of many external stimuli, with no colleagues around who offer their home-made cakes, this is a good time to tune into your body and learn to listen to your needs. Which foods make you feel great? What foods make you feel low or sluggish?.
Do you crave relaxing and calming activities, such as yoga, meditation or reading? Or do you have a load of energy to release that would be better used through an aerobic workout or listening to upbeat music and even dancing?
Of course, if you’re feeling ill, this is the time to rest, rest and rest some more. Don’t try to push through, and at any sign that sickness is coming, focus and tune in to what you need and clear your agenda as much as possible of anything else but self-care.
7. MIND YOUR OWN MIND
Start paying attention to your thoughts and emotions. Do you have a morning routine that works well for you or is this now the time to review it slightly? You may find ideas here.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the news and uncertainty, or maybe feeling heightened anxiety within your body, start a meditation practice.
This is a great idea for anybody, even if you’re feeling a little bored.
If you are a beginner, you can start with a guided meditation, or simply sit and listen to calming music as you breathe in and breathe out slowly. Ten minutes every morning make a significant difference to the day. It’s also nice to meditate in the evening to wind down and prepare your mind for a relaxing and rejuvenating night’s sleep.
If at any time things feel overwhelming and stressful, take a break. Sit in a quiet room and connect in with yourself and your emotions.
Some great (and free!) apps to try are InsightTimer for guided meditations and Breathwrk for a range of calming and energizing breathing exercises. Other excellent options are also: Just Breathe, Calm, Headspace, and Portal.
If you are a generally healthy person, the next couple of weeks might be strange and inconvenient for you, but do not have to be all doom and gloom.
I encourage you to find the silver lining and focus your mind on the areas in your life which you can influence and shape.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. How do you plan to use this time at home? What do you want to practise and learn more about? Any apps or books you can recommend?
Wishing you lots of health!