As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation unfolds around the world, people everywhere are quarantining, social distancing, and altogether staying home. This means that as businesses adapt to these changes by shifting to remote work, more people than ever are working from home.
Working from home certainly has its benefits (No pants! No commute!), but it can also be an adjustment for those not used to working remotely. As people who have held remote or digital nomad jobs will tell you, it’s easy to neglect your fitness and get stuck in front of your computer.
With that in mind, here are a few tips for how to stay fit and healthy while working from home.
1. Schedule a time to work out (and stick to it!)
Making a schedule is one of our tips for staying productive while working from home, but it’s also helpful for staying fit while working from home.
When you’re working from home, it’s easy to let time get away from you. Normally, you have a routine that tells you when to hit the gym – most likely on your way to or from work. But when your home is your office, there’s often nothing to signify that it’s time to work out.
By planning ahead and prioritizing time to work out, you’re more likely to follow through with it. Even if it’s not your usual hour-long sweat session, a quick 20-30 minute home workout is enough to help you stay fit while working from home. You can do bodyweight exercises like pushups, crunches, and squats. Lightweight equipment like skipping ropes, resistance bands, TRX bands, and pull up bars are all great ways to take your home workout to the next level.
And if you’re not sure what to do, YouTube and Instagram are filled with home workout plans that can be done with or without equipment.
2. Prep plenty of meals and healthy snacks
This work from home hack actually has two benefits.
First, having healthy, energy-boosting foods stops you from wandering into the kitchen searching for junk food during the workday. True, you may not have to worry about the office vending machines filled with chips and sodas anymore. But if you keep your kitchen stocked with those same sugary snacks, it’ll be even easier to mindlessly indulge.
The other benefit is that meal prepping saves you valuable time, since cooking can be a bit of a process.
Odds are that you’re not following your usual work schedule, so your days are probably starting and running a bit later than normal. Having to cook breakfast or start preparing dinner only complicates an already altered schedule. Batch cook some meals and stock up on plenty of fruits and nuts.
3. Walk it out
When the longest part of your commute is going from the bathroom to your kitchen table, you need to be intentional about keeping your body moving.
Aim to get out and go for a walk (at least 15 minutes) once a day. This could be in the morning, mid-day, or before you call it quits. Walking daily is a great way to clear your head, boost your metabolism, and improve your mood.
4. Stand up and stretch
As you’ve probably learned from a long Saturday of binge-watching Netflix, it is way too easy to spend hours in front of your laptop without realizing it.
That’s why it is important to schedule breaks throughout the day – about every hour or two – to simply stand up and stretch. This will do wonders for both your sanity and your posture.
Want to set a reminder like a work from home pro? You can use Slack, one of our favorite tools for remote work, to schedule automated healthy habit reminders for yourself or members of your remote team.
5. Choose the right chair (or skip the chair altogether)
Speaking of posture, choosing the right work station will save you a lot of back pain and health problems in the long run.
Instead of sprawling out on the couch, find an ergonomic (or the closest thing to it) chair to do most of your work from. If you have a spot in your house that will allow you to occasionally stand while working, even better!
6. Mind Your Mental Health
When you’re working from home, you need to be prioritizing your mental health as well as your physical health. Fortunately, this is a bit easier than lacing ‘em up and going for a run.
First, remember to take breaks throughout the day and to give yourself permission to stop working at a designated time. When working from home, it’s easy to fall into the habit of working all the time. Avoid burning yourself out by knowing when it’s time to close the laptop. Or to at least open a new tab for Netflix.
As for your social life, don’t forget that working from home doesn’t need to mean completely isolating yourself. When you’re used to working alongside friends and coworkers, remote work can feel pretty lonely. In fact, that’s why one of our top pieces of advice for working nomads is to connect with other nomads. It really helps!
Fortunately, there are a number of social-distancing-friendly apps to help you stay virtually connected with friends without the daily water cooler chit chat. Some of our favorites are Zoom, House Party, and Netflix Party.
Finally, adjusting to working from home, especially given the current situation, can be stressful. If you find yourself in need of some extra help unwinding, destressing, or going full zen-mode, there are a number of great meditation and mindfulness apps available.
You can’t go wrong with either Headspace or Calm, the two most popular options out there. They both offer free features in addition to their paid subscriptions. For a more budget-friendly option, Insight Timer, the world's largest free library of guided meditations, is another great choice.
Find what works for you
It may take you a bit of time to fully adjust to maintaining your fitness while working from home. That’s completely ok. Just as in the gym, where some lift weights while others hit the treadmill, everyone works from home differently. The good news is that you now have more flexibility than ever when it comes to balancing work and fitness. Be sure to take full advantage of it.
If you’ve always wanted to try working out at lunchtime instead of after work, now is the time to try it out. Think you can save time by combining your morning walk with your morning meeting over the phone? Go for it.
If you use these tips, you’ll have a better balance of work and fitness that will stick with you even when you’re finally back in the office. Or when you decide to stick with the remote work life and become a digital nomad. Like we said, whatever works for you!
BY: ZACH ANDERSON, CONTENT MARKETING & FLIGHT EXPERT
Zach is a digital marketer, copywriter, and flight deal expert at Dollar Flight Club where he helps 1 million people travel more. As a digital nomad, he is deeply passionate about location independence, Thai food, and helping others see the world affordably.