Home office lifestyle revolution
Working from home is increasingly popular all around the world. While this brings benefits and penalties across many aspects of our lives it can pose a particular challenge in designing a healthier lifestyle. The benefits in terms of time saved from long commutes is clear, but the loss of the journey can mean even less movement and increased risk of an even more sedentary lifestyle for those with deskbound professions. So how we make use of this additional time will be crucial, because it’s surprising how it can be frittered away. If working from home is combined with starting up a new business, then challenges can really begin to mount.
Yet at No Targets we take the view that by incorporating just some simple key aspects of a healthy lifestyle into homeworking or building a new business not only will this be better for your health and sanity, it will also help you succeed.
Of course it’s all too easy to become overwhelmed when starting a new business. It has much in common with becoming a new parent, with the infant business easily taking over most of your day, night and probably weekends too. It’s easy to justify prioritising its needs, but remember, this will be a time when your health will be even more important in determining your survival and ultimate success. So of course it will be tempting to ditch the gym for breakfast briefings, or answer just one more email, or check your social media stats rather than getting up from the desk to move around during the day. Then head out for drinks to network in the evening missing yet another possible gym slot. Yet it really does not take a lot of effort to convert from a conventional working environment – where travelling to and from work, or getting that little bit of extra exercise by going for a quick lunchtime stroll has been the norm – to organising a personally tailored work schedule structured around a balanced lifestyle.
First rule: Eat smart
Working from home provides you with one of the biggest benefits of all in the quest to look and feel the best you can be as it enables you to take total control of your food. This is such an advantage in building a better you. The best place to start is by replacing processed foods with whole foods. This is surprisingly easy to achieve (see Pantry Supplies for ideas) and will boost your performance in the work sphere and in the gym.
Here are some key tips:
- Always start your day with a nutritious breakfast. It kick starts the mind and metabolism, while the right choice of food means you won’t feel hungry through the morning so you can focus on the business in hand. A bowl of porridge with a handful of berries and seeds or nuts gives you the boost required. Or try eggs with 100% wholemeal toast with tomatoes and mushrooms.
- Always make time for lunch. You don’t want to risk an afternoon slump in energy, which will hit your productivity. Try to include oily fish as a lunchtime meal at least once a week, as omega-3 is a mood booster.
- Include a daily probiotic, promoting friendly bacteria and helping to boost and protect your immune system.
- Avoid sweet foods such as biscuits and cakes, or drinks such as sodas. These contain refined sugar, which can cause the body to remove magnesium via the kidneys. Magnesium is an important mineral needed for the metabolism of food, while sugary ‘treats’ will pile on the pounds as well as inflicting sugar induced mood swings.
We are what we eat and this directly impacts on our health and wellbeing. Working from home, if you order your food from a supermarket online, you are in control of what to purchase – embrace the opportunity to make the real food choice over processed alternatives. Most healthy people can meet their nutritional needs through real food as long as they chose wisely.
Forming a new routine isn’t always easy, quick or simple, but it is possible as long as you make it your choice to be in control. In the instance of sweet treats, if you are a sugar addict try a piece of 70% dark chocolate. Not only will it help satisfy the craving, it could also help you refocus and improve your attention span when you hit that afternoon energy slump. Or for the really sweet-toothed, substitute fresh fruit or try a spoonful of 100% nut butter, a quick and great filling snack rich in nutrients.
In this internet age of convenience it is clear that by working from home you might lose the opportunity to exercise at all. This is why no matter how hard we may be working it is essential to maintain a daily workout routine. Remember, less than 2% of your time is required to avoid falling into a sedentary lifestyle trap – a mere 30 minutes a day six days a week, to include 2 strength sessions, makes you an active person.
Considered from this perspective, it’s a bit of a no-brainer, while starting the day with an exercise session that includes weights is commonplace amongst some of the most successful entrepreneurs and business and political leaders on the planet. If they can make time, so can you.
If you don’t like the idea of the gym, go for a brisk walk. It gets the blood flowing, it’s good for the brain and also can help you gather your thoughts and reduce stress. During the day take regular breaks. Stand up every hour for one minute, as this can lead to a healthier blood lipid profile and body mass. And for the more mature entrepreneurs it’s also worth considering that regular exercise can be as effective for health as quitting smoking for older adults.
Schedule some exercise every day, even if it is just 15 minutes. During this time make exercise your focus and priority. Try new activities and see what will fit into your new lifestyle, but don’t neglect to keep some sort of movement in your life, and if you do have a phase of business meetings that continually conflict with your new regime, adjust the regime.
Exercise is important to manage weight, increase circulation and improve cognitive function, an even more vital element when working from home, where there is no PA to take messages and remind you of appointments. And at the end of the day stretch for ten minutes to avoid stiffness of joints and getting the blood circulating again.
What’s the rationale?
Taken together, a carefully designed routine nutrition and fitness regime will help you make the most of the benefits to be derived from working from home. And for those days when you miss the support of colleagues, or face hurdles in building that new venture, never forget to keep positive and look on the bright side of life, remembering the many advantages derived from your lifestyle choices. Don’t neglect to pay attention to stress and be sure to find time to wind down and relax at the end of the day.
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