Make working from home into a healthy lifestyle

The pros and cons of a home office


Working from home is on the rise all over the world. While this brings benefits as well as possible penalties across aspects of our lives, it can pose a challenge in maintaining 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 desk-bound professions. So how we make use of this additional time will be crucial in designing a healthy home office routine, considering how easily 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 if you incorporate some simple 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.

Banish New Business Blues

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when embarking on a start-up. It has much in common with becoming a new parent, with the infant business easily taking over most of your day, night and 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 wellbeing and ultimate success. Don’t neglect to create wellness support structures. Sometimes you may need to miss the gym for a breakfast briefing, or answer just one more email, but is it really necessary to check your social media stats AGAIN rather than getting up from the desk to move around? And if you have missed your morning gym slot, is it really a sound idea to head out for drinks to network in the evening, rather than make up for the lost session?

It really doesn’t take a lot of effort to convert from a conventional working day – 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 straightforward, and even easier if you download Just Routine App, but here are some tips to get you started and help boost your performance in the home work sphere and in the gym.

  • Always start your day with a nutritious breakfast. This kick-starts the mind and metabolism, while the right choice of food means you won’t feel hungry through the morning, helping you to focus on business. 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, otherwise you 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.

Increasingly science is confirming we really are what we eat, with direct impacts on our health and wellbeing. Working from home, ordering your food online, you can plan and control what you purchase, so embrace the opportunity to make the real food choice over processed alternatives. Most healthy people can meet their nutritional needs through real food, if chosen wisely.

When it comes to sweet treats, if you are a sugar addict, working at home can pose a challenge. Once again, planning and monitoring what you eat will be important, so not to lose control. And there are ways to get through the day. Try a piece of 70% dark chocolate. Not only will it help satisfy a craving, it could also help you refocus and improve your attention span if you hit an afternoon energy slump. For the really sweet-toothed, substitute with fresh fruit, or try a spoonful of 100% nut butter, a quick and great filling snack, rich in nutrients.

Second rule: Exercise daily

In this internet age of convenience, by working from home you might lose the opportunity to exercise at all. With Public Health England (PHE) recently reporting 4 out of 10 (41%) adults aged 40 to 60 in England walk less than 10 minutes continuously each month at a brisk pace, this is a genuine problem. So, no matter how hard we may be working, or how reluctant we may be to cross over the threshold to engage with the outside world, 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.

It’s a bit of a no-brainer, bearing in mind starting the day with an exercise session that includes weights is commonplace amongst some of the most successful entrepreneurs and business 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, helping 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 (I really don’t care for ‘olderpreneurs’ as a term) it’s also worth considering that for older aldults regular exercise can be as effective for health as quitting smoking.

Even if you can only afford 15 minutes a day, schedule some daily exercise. 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. If you do hit a patch of business meetings continually conflicting 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.

The rationale whether you are an Entrepreneur, Home or Gig Worker

We live in a time of change that is requiring rapid adaption and adoption of new routines to make our way in the world of work. Yet whatever the work/life balance we strike, one thing has become more important than ever; the necessity to stay as fit and healthy as possible. A thoughtfully designed routine nutrition and fitness regime will help you make the most of the opportunities that come your way whatever your endeavour. For those of you embarking on new enterprises, working from home or juggling many roles it will bring benefits. 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.

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. Don’t neglect to pay attention to stress and be sure to create some downtime at the end of the day to fulfil the final rule.

Third rule: Sleep sound…


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Iris is the founder of No Targets Just Routine. She has researched food since 2009 and believes “Happiness is real food shared with loved ones.”

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