Working from home comes with many benefits, such as saving the commuting time into the office and wearing pajamas all day. It can also lead to some struggles due to a lack of in-person connection with others and a more sedentary lifestyle. With these 7 tips to stay healthy while working from home, you can get the benefits without the mental and physical health problems.
A study published earlier this year found that many work from home employees suffer from increased stress, decreased motivation, and loneliness. Working from home also makes it easy to grab for unhealthy snacks throughout the day or move your body less. By incorporating any of these 7 nature practices, you can mitigate your risk of the mental and physical health dangers of working from home.
1) Start a garden
Are you looking to supercharge your time in nature while growing healthy food to add to your plate? You might want to consider gardening. Not only are the health benefits of gardening plentiful, it’s also a mindful way to reconnect with the world around you and with nature during work breaks.
A common misconception about gardening is that you have to have a backyard to get started. While this might allow you to grow more food, it is not a prerequisite. All you need for a successful garden is some space outside or near a well-lit window. A great first step is to get one houseplant and buy more plants over time.
2) Schedule time for nature activities
Most work from home employees save commuting time, giving them on average an extra hour of leisure. While you could spend that extra hour scrolling TikTok, you could also use it to invest in your physical and mental well-being.
One of the easiest ways to do that is by scheduling time in nature, whether alone or with friends. 4 nature activities you could do this month to improve your health are:
- Hydrotherapy: This can be as easy as visiting a nearby body of water or going to a sauna.
- Yoga in nature: Why not supercharge your yoga practice by taking it outside? Multiple studies have found yoga has added mental health benefits when done outside.
- Forest bathing: Bath yourself in the healing power of trees by taking a walk in a nearby wilderness preserve or state park.
- Surfing: If you live near the ocean, surf therapy has been found to have a multitude of physical and mental health benefits.
If all of these ideas sound too ambitious, consider going to a nearby park for a walk or picnic. Scheduling in time in nature matters more than the activity.
3) Green the indoors
While spending time in nature is great, few of us can be outside during our entire 9-5. That doesn’t mean you have to cut out nature during your work hours! Instead, consider greening the indoors.
Greening the indoors is all about bringing the many health benefits of nature inside. A few of my favorite ways to green the indoors are having houseplants throughout my home and including images of nature in my space, whether that be a laptop screensaver or a hanging photo in my living room of my comfort nature place.
4) Take dancing breaks
Whether you shut the door and close the blinds to move to the beat of your favorite tunes, participate in a formal dance class, or simply “get jiggy” with your kids, dance isn’t just fun — there are health benefits for the mind and body too!
Next time you grab a phone during a work break, consider clicking on Spotify instead of Instagram. Put on one of your favorite songs and see what dancing can do for your mental and physical health. Odds are it will do more than scrolling through the feeds of social media friends you barely know.
5) Eat foods that are healthy for your gut
The mind gut connection is real. What you feed your body determines your overall health and even your mood. Consider grabbing for foods that help balance your gut microbiome. A beloved herb which tastes sweet and makes your gut happy is cinnamon.
Research shows that cinnamon supports the optimal environment for “friendly” gut bacteria to thrive, while suppressing the growth of “unfriendly” bacteria. This effect appears to be adaptogenic, meaning the bioactive chemicals in cinnamon adjust to your body’s specific needs.
For more tips on eating a diet that supports gut health, check out my blog post on 4 things you can do about a gut imbalance.
6) Cultivate friendships virtually and in person
Other studies have found that older adults with rich social lives are actually likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections. “Good, close relationships appear to buffer us from the problems of getting old,” says Dr. Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
It can be hard to see your friends when working from home, but there are ways to make time for your friends. If you’re vaccinated, it’s safe to meet up with friends outside. You could schedule time for one of your favorite nature activities and bring a friend along to increase the health benefits.
If your friends live far away or you have health concerns, you can schedule virtual game nights or Facetime calls with your friends. The important thing is to make time to maintain and grow your connections with others.
7) Exercise outside
If you’re sitting at your desk for 8 hours (and most likely spending more time on the couch watching Netflix), it’s important to make time to move your body too.
One of the best ways to counteract a sedentary lifestyle is exercise. If you want to supercharge the benefits of your work out, consider exercising outside. While the physical benefits of indoor and outdoor exercise are the same, studies have shown that outdoor exercise increases endorphins and boosts your mood more than indoor workouts.
Working from home doesn’t have to be isolating and lonely. By spending time in nature, moving your body, and making time for your friends, you can make the most of working from home, whether you plan to be a full-time remote employee or go back into the office eventually.
What are some of your favorite ways to make work from home healthier and more meaningful?