The feeling of restlessness, both mentally and physically, is something that people find themselves struggling with. Mental fatigue is easy to achieve, as we have to juggle various questions and tasks throughout the day. “Do I have enough food to get through the week?”, “How are my parents doing? Are they staying inside?”, “What will happen next week?” These barrage of questions (accompanied by many more) can create a feeling of physical restlessness, as many of us are unable to do anything except stay inside. How can we stay healthy, both physically and mentally, while working from home?
Strategy #1: Set a daily exercise goal
Keeping a goal for daily physical exercise (that is not too ambitious) will help you stay healthy. The exercise in general could take just 15 or 20 minutes a day, as it is not necessary (or realistic) to do 1 to 2 hours a day if you are not used to it. Try not to bite off more than you can chew (e.g. trying out a 10-minute plank when you have never even done a plank), as you will just end-up feeling sore and de-motivated the next day. Keep it simple. There are various bodyweight exercises that can be done indoors (or in you balcony/backyard). This time would also be a great opportunity to tap into a new kind of exercise, as there are various kinds of guides that can be found on YouTube.
Strategy #2: Create a support network
Having a likeminded group of people who you share common goals with, can keep you motivated and energized. If you do not have a group yet, then you can form one with your colleagues. Within this group, members can share their exercise stats and encourage each other (and in most cases push you out of your comfort zone). I am part of one such group, and have found it immensely rewarding. We egg each other on and keep the group updated with a daily tracker of everyone’s goals and exercises. In order to motivate members and bring excitement to the group, we made some creative awards every month for people who have logged-in different kinds of exercises. This kept everyone in the group interested, engaged and devoted to their own health goals.
Strategy #3: Meditation and Mindfulness
I have found that meditation has helped people of all kinds calm down, as long as you let it into your life. If you have not yet gotten into the habit of meditation, then now is the perfect time to do so. There are various meditation apps that can guide you such as Headspace, Inscape, Calm, etc. Mindfulness is also something that can help you stay present in the moment, and keep your mind active. I’m sure many can relate to being home and just being on autopilot, whether it be snacking or scrolling through social media. Taking an extra 5 or so minutes to be present in the moment, can provide you with the presence of mind to think about what you are doing and ground you.
Strategy #4: Keep things in perspective
Social media is awash with conspiracy theories, stories and rants. It can be fun to see what everyone else thinks about what it happening, but too much time on social media can cloud your judgement and deflate you. There is still merit in staying on-top of the news and being aware of what is happening elsewhere, but it is best not to allocate more than an hour or two reading posts online. I do have to admit that it is easier said than done, as WhatsApp is currently the biggest drain on my ‘Zen’. Rather than connecting online, I have found that connecting with my family has been a great way to spend my time. It has kept my sanity intact and relieved building stress. I have two boys, and they definitely keep my feet firmly planted on the ground.
Strategy #5: Eat and drink right
I love munching on snacks. With more time spent at home, there is much greater access to snacks. However, I have also found that this is a recipe for weight gain. Try and surround yourself with healthy snacks, such as fruit or nuts (and maybe hide the chips), as they can help keep your die on track. Additionally, it is even more tempting to open a can of beer or pour a glass of wine (or pour a glass of whisky in my case). However, try to drink water instead, as you do need 2 to 4 liters of it a day.
Following these strategies has helped me make the most out of working from home. Although some may require a little more effort than the alternatives, now is the time to keep your mental and physical health in-check. When things get truly tough and challenging, leaning into my family and support network has gotten me through it all.