For almost seven months now, the world has held its breath as a new infectious disease spread like wildfire around the globe. First detected in the city of Wuhan in the Hubei province of China, the virus now known as SARS-CoV-2 has to date infected almost 13 million people in over 180 countries. The drastic impact of the virus has brought the globe to a standstill. With no known cure and a vaccine yet to be developed, governments have imposed widespread lockdowns and advised everyone to stay home in order to prevent or slow down the spread of the virus. Working from home, in particular, has been implemented by companies as a means to continue business operations without risking health.
While working from home due to quarantine may seem easier than commuting to your workplace every day, it is not without its challenges. Prolonged isolation has been associated with a number of health effects, from decreased physical health to psychological distress. Effects of quarantine on mental health include boredom, anger, confusion, frustration, sadness, anxiety, decreased motivation, irritability, and emotional exhaustion. Going through quarantine may be more difficult for those who have been diagnosed with mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and depression. With countless people beginning to feel the effects of prolonged quarantine, many have asked how we can maintain our physical and mental health. In this piece, we look at some of the effective ways to maintain physical and mental health while working from home.
Maintaining Physical Health
Working from home has prevented many people from following their daily routines. These quarantine tips are also applicable to students, especially now that more and more universities are implementing online courses to avoid the risk of spreading the virus. If you are one of them, you may be wondering how you can stay healthy if you are stuck at home. We came up with a list of simple and practical tips for maintaining your physical health. In fact, they are not much different from the things you can do to minimize stress while you are studying or working.
- Eat a balanced diet. One of the best things you can do to stay physically healthy is to eat a balanced diet. This means eating your recommended daily intake of the major food groups. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables, in particular, will provide you with the nutrients that boost the immune system. Eating a balanced diet has also been associated with improved mental health. Consuming healthy food while limiting intake of unhealthy food promotes a sense of wellness.
- Exercise at home. Trying to find the opportunity to exercise may be a little trickier when you are under quarantine and working from home. It does not help that gyms and sports facilities are closed and the streets are off-limits. But if you have equipment at home, you can do your exercise routine during your free time. Even if you have no equipment, the internet is filled with tutorials on how to exercise without them. Regular exercise benefits the health by keeping the body in shape and reducing the risk for chronic diseases. Studies also show that regular exercise lessens stress and promotes positive emotions by encouraging the release of hormones that regulate emotions.
- Maintain personal care. Just because you do not have to go anywhere for months does not mean you should skip your personal care routine. Keep your routine despite working or studying from home. This will give you that vibe that you are to accomplish something for today like you did before the pandemic. Take a shower, brush your teeth, and wear clothes that give off that "game on" energy before you sit down on your work or study space. This will help transition your body from any lethargic tendencies you took with you from your sleep. That feeling of being fresh and energetic will go a long way in maintaining your physical wellness.
- Get enough sleep. It can be tempting to stay up late at night when you are working from home. After all, you get to have more time for yourself since you do not have to spend time getting ready or commuting to work. But do not yield to this temptation. Lack of sleep and an irregular sleeping pattern are both associated with decreased health. Establish a regular sleeping pattern and make sure you get enough sleep every night, since these have been shown to improve health.
- Take a quiet time. Many people underestimate the power of meditating. In fact, there is no need to roll down a yoga mat to do this. You can actually maintain your personal quiet time by simply clearing your mind and focusing on one point such as your breathing as you water your plants or as you make your bed upon waking up. This moment will do wonders to your physical health as meditation is known with many benefits to the body. This includes stabilizing your blood pressure which consequently reduces a strain in your heart - meaning, you can avoid any impending issues with your blood pressure. Furthermore, this quiet time can reduce your stress significantly. Stress brings a lot of problems not just to your physical body, but to your overall health. Those few minutes of peace and quiet should be your first step to maintaining your overall wellness.
The good thing about these tips is that you probably have already been doing these even before COVID-19 emerged. Eating a balanced diet, exercising, and getting enough sleep are all ideal practices regardless if there is a pandemic or not. Take these basic tips to heart and add on your personal favorites such as your usual workout. Even cooking can be a good exercise for you. Now is the time to explore your hidden talents.
Maintaining Mental Health
Whereas maintaining your physical health while working from home involves familiar tips like exercising and eating healthy food, taking care of your mental health can be more difficult. Most people have no prior experience of working from home due to being under quarantine. Hence, the prolonged isolation can take a toll on a person’s mental health. Some of the tips for maintaining mental health are discussed below.
- Draw a line between work and personal life. One of the problems with working from home is it sometimes blurs the line between your working hours and your personal time. For example, people with output-based jobs or flexible working hours may put off working. But procrastinating causes more trouble, since it means they end up spending more time working than necessary. Draw a clear line between these two aspects of your life. Create a schedule and stick to it. By keeping work separate from your personal time, you will avoid the stress of feeling like you are spending your entire day working.
- Switch off your work communication lines. Similar to keeping working hours and personal time separate, switching off your work communication lines will help reduce stress. Employees are sometimes under the impression that they need to be available 24 hours a day. But this can cause a lot of stress, as being contacted even during your days off or resting hours disrupts your routine. Remember that just because you are always at home due to the pandemic does not mean you are available all the time.
- Limit your exposure to the news. Staying updated with the latest information on the pandemic is important. After all, you need to know the latest developments as part of your strategy for dealing with crisis. However, studies show that excessive exposure to the news can cause a lot of stress. Being bombarded by news on the pandemic can aggravate feelings of fear, frustration, and powerlessness. Limit your exposure to news updates a tolerable period. This way you can stay aware of what is happening around you without feeling like you are being suffocated by all the bad news.
- Connect with family and friends. Prolonged quarantine can take a toll on your mental health as it prevents you from socializing with others. The sense of loneliness and isolation can become unbearable for many and lead to depression. Setting aside some time to socialize with friends and family can lessen loneliness and isolation. Simple acts like exchanging emails, chatting, or video calling can provide you warmth, comfort, and support at a time when your mobility is limited.
- Talk to counselors who offer free services. Talking to counselors is another way to ease the negative impact of the pandemic on your mental health. Organizations that promote mental health are aware that their services are more important now than ever before. They are ready to provide free counseling to those who need it. If you feel like the mental health toll is too much, do not hesitate to call counselors to receive the support you need.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Make sure that you leave time for relaxation. Do not feel pressured to spend your time being productive. Cleaning, organizing, and fixing broken items at home can wait. Sometimes, the time you spend doing nothing in particular may prove to be the rest that your mind and body requires. So go ahead and do the things you find most relaxing, whether it is an hour of meditation and reflection, doing some yoga, lighting up scented candles for aromatherapy, or simply taking a long warm bath.
- Seek professional services. Many people who work from home also study at the same time. Torn between working, studying, and the added stress of being caught in the middle of a pandemic, you might feel as if you are drowning in all these responsibilities. Fortunately, there are companies that can help you out. For example, you can hire a professional writer to complete some of your writing tasks. You can have some peace of mind knowing that a professional writer is handling the job.
You can easily avoid numerours physical and mental health problems, including the risk of acquiring the virus, by taking these easy and simple tips. However, maintaining these healthy habits does not give you a shield against COVID-19. We are asked to stay at home for a reason. If it is not necessary, just enjoy this time of being in the comfort of your home. Your life will always be more important than any amount of hazard pay or degree.
The emergence of COVID-19 has certainly turned the world upside down. As a cure or vaccine is yet to be developed, countless companies have opted to continue operations by making their employees work from home rather than come to their workplace every day. While working from home has its benefits, it also has its drawbacks especially with regard to maintaining physical and mental health. The good this is there are ways to stay healthy without leaving your home. These include more practical approaches like eating a balanced meal and exercising. Some are more intuitive measures like taking the time to relax and connecting with loved ones. The end of the pandemic is not yet in sight, but knowing the ways to stay healthy is vital to staying afloat in these challenging times.