With 2021 underway, for many of us, our daily routines are only a shadow of a resemblance to what they were pre-pandemic. While there are certainly perks to being able to work or learn from home, after nearly a year of doing so, we may be starting to feel some negative effects mentally, physically, and emotionally. Below are five simple tips to improve your working & learning from home experience and keep you feeling healthy and strong.
Move that body!
This may seem like a no-brainer, but incorporating regular daily movement into your routine can make a world of difference. We may all be guilty of spending too much time in that desk chair or on the couch, and it can be easy to fall into a stay-at-home rut. Lack of movement not only can make us feel sluggish and fatigued, but can be reflected in our heart health and even lead to circulatory issues like edema and high blood pressure.
Whether you are able to safely head outside for a walk, do some at-home yoga, or even throw yourself a daily dance party, these are all great and easy ways to get that blood flowing. Check out @isaacboots on Instagram for free daily workouts or longtime yoga practitioner Genny Kapuler who offers online yoga classes.
Set up an ergonomic WFH station.
If you are one of the many people who were thrust into working or learning from home back in March, you may not have had a designated space in your home to work from. You may find yourselves working from the couch with a laptop, or even Zooming from bed. Our posture and overall body mechanics can play a big role in how we feel each day. If we hunch over our computers or notebooks, this can affect how we breathe, cause headaches, backaches, muscle tension, and more.
Use a desk chair if possible, with your feet on the ground, and your computer at eye level to prevent hunching. Make sure your wrists are slightly lower than your elbows at your keyboard. Opt for the laptop over working for long periods of time on the phone or iPad – you’ll have much more control over your posture and your eyes will also thank you. There are plenty of ergonomic work stations available such as standing desks, adjustable laptop stands, and desk converters to help you achieve the right set up for you.
Spend some time outside.
It is easy to spend days and days inside when working or learning from home, yet there are so many benefits to stepping outdoors. While a small change of scenery is good for our mental health, and can revitalize us throughout the week, it is also beneficial to get some of that Vitamin D and fresh air in our systems. Vitamin D plays a key role in keeping us strong and healthy, especially in winter. After being inside so much with AC or forced heat, it is important to get fresh air into our lungs.
Feeling sleepy or foggy? A breath of fresh air can give us a boost of energy and mental focus. If it is cold or rainy where you live, you can still get outdoor time – just be sure to bundle up, wear a scarf around your neck, and carry an umbrella. Let’s learn from the Scandinavians – there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.
Take care of your eyes and practice 20/20/20.
Yep, you read that right. In the age of Zoom, text, FaceTime, Netflix and working virtually, your eyes are working harder than ever. With so much added screen time, eye strain is a very real thing and can lead to headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes, and even trouble sleeping. Be sure to take frequent breaks from your screens throughout the day. Try this easy tip: For every 20 minutes, look 20 feet into the distance and blink 20 times.
To further combat digital eye strain, blue light blocking glasses can be worn when doing computer work or even simply when watching tv. These lenses can help improve focus and lessen potential damage to your eyes. Blue light can also affect your sleep, so it’s best to minimize screen time before bed. Blue light blocking glasses can allow you to use your devices and still get a good night’s rest. Click here for affordable blue light blocking glasses.
Depending on your setup, you may be working or learning from home in a busy household with family members and children in the background, loud neighbors or roommates, or even a noisy city street below your window. Noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds are a great way to tune out that extra noise and help you concentrate on the tasks at hand.
Playing calming music such as nature sounds, pink noise, or Schumann Resonance can calm the brain, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and ultimately improve our work/learn from home experience. We love Brainwave for binaural beats to really promote those zen vibes while improving concentration and lowering stress, anxiety, and negative mental states.
Above all else, it is most important for us to each find what works best for our individual selves. Now, more than ever, we must continue to take care of ourselves. Simple changes to our daily routine and home space can make a world of difference in our mood, health, and experience.
Have any favorite tips you’ve found for working & learning from home? We’d love to hear about them! Reach out to us to share.