Working from home as a writer or editor has its perks. After all, you get to take breaks to cuddle with your pets or kids, you can avoid fast food lunches, and your commute will be reduced to just the minute or two it takes to get to your home office. However, working from home does present a few challenges, particularly when it comes to avoiding sedentary workdays and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. Here are a few tips to help you make your health a priority when you are a work-from-home professional.
Get into a Routine
When you know that the only people who will be seeing you during your workday are your family—and maybe your mail carrier—it can be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day. Similarly, when you have no boss setting your work hours, you may find yourself spending more time lounging on your couch than typing on your computer. While these habits can be fun to indulge from time to time, they can make it difficult to get your work done and maintain a healthy work/life balance. Setting a workday schedule and sticking to a daily routine can do a lot for both your productivity and your overall wellness.
Get ready and “go to work.”
Try to wake up around the same time every day. Give yourself some time to enjoy a hearty breakfast and cup of coffee, and then get ready for the day. Get dressed in comfortable, work-appropriate clothes, and then head to your home office. By completing a regular morning routine, you’ll feel ready and prepared to tackle your work when you sit down at your desk each day.
Schedule regular breaks.
If you have a full day’s worth of work ahead of you, don’t just sit down and try to tackle it all in one stretch. Instead, plan to take regular breaks every hour or two, along with a lunch break. During these breaks, try to fit in some light activity, such as a walk around the block or a game of fetch with your dog.
Limit your working hours.
It may be tempting to alternate between completing work and enjoying fun activities, such as gaming or watching TV, when you work from home. However, doing so can make it feel as if you are always working or worrying about working. Plan what hours you will work during the day, and then make sure you finish all of your tasks during that time.
Stick to a healthy sleep schedule.
Along with waking up at an appropriate hour every morning, going to bed around the same time every night is important for your mental and physical well-being. Aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, and avoid doing any work right before bedtime, which can make it difficult to fall asleep.
Set Aside Time for Socializing
When you work from home, you may find yourself feeling isolated after a week or two. With your home as your office, you may feel as if your social circle is shrinking to just those in your household. To avoid social isolation and the emotional effects it can cause, make plans to see your friends on a regular basis.
On the other hand, if you have friends or family members who have a tendency to just drop by your house unannounced, be sure to let them know that even though you are working from home, you are still working. Setting aside specific times for socialization will help you maintain a healthy work/life balance.
Incorporate Activity Throughout Your Day
Remaining sedentary for hours on end can be damaging to your health. Even if you manage to fit workouts into your weekly routine, sitting at your desk too much can still have a negative effect on your health. To combat the effects of “sitting disease,” be sure to incorporate physical activity throughout your workday.
Whenever you take a break throughout the day, stand up, stretch, and move about your house—don’t just continue to sit at your computer and scroll through social media. You can take your daily activity level a step further with an active workspace. Using a standing desk is a simple way to boost your healthy routine, or you can stick with your current desk but replace your chair with a balance ball, which will help to engage your core muscles and improve your strength. No matter how you choose to go about it, adding in bursts of activity throughout your day can keep you feeling alert, energized, and ready to tackle your freelancing projects.
Eat a Nutritious Diet
When working from home, it can be easy to resort to visiting your kitchen to grab unhealthy snacks throughout the workday. Eating junk food can leave you feeling tired and unwell, making it harder to stay focused on your work. Sticking to more structured meal times instead of eating unhealthy snacks is a great way to ensure that you are still eating a nutritious diet.
Start your day with a balanced breakfast, and make sure you have the ingredients for a simple, healthy lunch on hand. Pick up some wholesome snack options so that you are prepared in case you need a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack to stay focused and energized.
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