The flexibility to adapt to new circumstances is one of the hallmarks of great athletes and inspirational leaders. When our environment shifts dramatically, each of us is called upon to transform in creative ways, to respond intelligently to the new terrain.
The transition to working at home can be challenging, but also a great opportunity to discover new and innovative ways to stay active and healthy. Here we provide some essential tips along with inspiring activities and stress-reduction techniques to keep you healthy and fit.
Tips for Staying Healthy & Motivated While Working from Home
It’s totally possible to stay healthy and happy while working from home. While each of us has our own unique style, with varying needs and preferences, these tips will be helpful for most:
1. Create & Maintain a Structured Routine.
Having a daily schedule helps keep you on track, with both your work life and personal care routines.
2. See the Challenge as an Opportunity.
Approach your new work-at-home circumstances as a precious opportunity rather than a burden: as a chance to experience and explore new rhythms and ways of being. Some positives associated with this new routine include, for instance, a radical decrease in commute time!
It also gives you more time to spend with your family or other housemates. If you’re living alone, you now have more time to develop that yoga or meditation practice you’ve been meaning to get to, or participate regularly in online fitness, exercise or dance classes.
3. Stay Socially & Emotionally Connected with Others.
Maintaining a safe physical distance from one another doesn’t mean that we have to isolate socially and emotionally from our friends and loved ones. Quite the contrary, in fact … It’s even more important now to nurture these connections! The good news is that we can stay connected via Skype, Facetime, Zoom, or Facebook video chat.
4. Get A Good Night’s Sleep.
Adequate sleep nourishes and protects our body and mind in myriad ways, from building muscle to being happier; from making better decisions to staying fit more easily. So getting your recommended 7-9 hours nightly is a good thing.
5. The Mental Game: Activate Your Superpowers with an Inner Smile.
A simple attitude adjustment can ripple out to every aspect of our experience. And such is the case with “yoga of the mouth” more commonly known as smiling.
How so? As it turns out, science has confirmed that there’s genuine magic in your smile:
“Each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.”
Smiling naturally elevates our mood and creates a sense of wellbeing, along with activating other superpowers by altering the body’s biochemistry. A variety of feel-good neurotransmitters—e.g. dopamine, serotonin and endorphins—are released each time that we smile. In combination, these internally produced chemicals relax your body and can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
So don’t be shy about breaking out a gentle smile and letting its energy infuse your entire being.
Activities to Maintain Health & Vitality at Home
With the above tips and positive attitudes as your foundation, you’ll be primed to receive maximum benefit from home-based activities such as …
* A Modified Morning Workout
Start your day with a brisk walk or jog around the block. Upon your return (or midway through the walk) do some calisthenics—e.g. jumping-jacks, sit-ups, push-ups—or a couple yoga sun salutations.
This will get your breath, blood and lymph fluids flowing in a healthy way, setting the stage for an enjoyable and productive day.
* Lunchtime or Mid-Afternoon Strength Training
Get yourself a pair of dumbbells, or a couple of kettlebells, or some exercise tension bands. Devote ten or fifteen minutes sometime during your workday for a strength-training interlude.
According to the Mayo Clinic, strength training such as this helps to develop strong bones, reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass, and maintain our ideal weight. It also just feels really good!
* A Housework Dance Party
Who says house-chores have to be boring? Before beginning the dishes, dusting or mopping, cue up your favorite music. Now, let your body move in whatever dance-like ways it wants to, as you complete your chores.
Dancing reduces levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and increases endorphins (the body’s feel-good chemicals). It boosts our mood and can also provide a sweet and gentle workout for the body.
Awesome Yoga Stretches to Keep You Healthy & Relaxed
These three yoga stretches can be repeated throughout the day, whenever you feel the need to release tension, energize your body, or calm your mind.
The table pose is a variation on the classic Downward-Facing Dog yoga pose, and delivers similar benefits. It’s simple:
1. Clear off some space on a flat surface, e.g. your desktop, a countertop, or the seat of a chair. If using a chair, place it next to a wall to avoid slippage.
2. Place the palms of your hands on the flat surface, about shoulder-width apart. Stretch your fingers wide and long—as though they were the petals of a flower, blossoming.
3. Now, step your feet back and allow your hips to hinge. At the same time, let your head drop down between your extended arms. Your arms and back have now become an extension of the desk, countertop, or chair-seat, with your feet directly below your hips.
4. Take several deep, slow breaths, and enjoy the lengthening along your spine. Feel the skin on your palms stretching open and continue to reach actively through your fingertips.
This wonderful pose relaxes the muscles of your neck and shoulders, and resets the thoracic spine. It’s great when you need a break from computer work! Here’s how:
1. Lie down on the floor, on your back. Your head can be directly on the floor also, or on a pillow if that’s more comfortable.
2. Hinge your knees so your feet are also flat on the floor, hip-distance apart.
3. Now, interlace your fingers behind your head, and allow your elbows to relax toward the floor. They may touch the floor, or float a couple inches above it, either is fine.
4. Take several deep, slow breaths, saying “ahhh” with the exhalation.
5. Become aware of the sensations in your neck, shoulders, and upper back—and allow tensions to melt away, by relaxing more and more deeply into the support of the floor.
6. After a few minutes in this position, release the interlace of your fingers, and roll gently to the side.
Health & Happiness, Right at Home!
By following the tips we’ve provided here, your work-at-home routine can be one that supports your overall health and wellbeing!
Questions or comments? Please feel free to leave one in the comments section below!
*Please consult with a medical professional if you have any medical issues that may be affected by the suggested activities.