COVID-19 has changed life for everyone in one way or another, but it has probably changed how we work the most. During this pandemic, it’s been estimated that more than 60% of the U.S. workforce has worked from home. As entrepreneurs, many of us were already accustomed to working at home, but we can’t even hang out at the local coffee shop with our laptops anymore.
Working at home during a pandemic can be stressful and isolating, and this can lead to an array of mental health issues. Plus, many of us become so consumed with work that we neglect self-care. We become too sedentary and do not eat as we should. Let’s examine some of the most common health problems that we face as we work from home, whether we are new at this or have been doing it for a long time, and things that we can do to prioritize our health during these uncertain times.
The COVID-19 pandemic, stay-at-home orders, and abruptly working from home have led to conditions that are detrimental for our mental health:
These conditions have led to depression, stress, and anxiety and have contributed to some resorting to drugs or alcohol to cope. There are things that we can do, however, to make our mental health a priority:
By following these suggestions, you can prioritize your mental health and counteract many of the mental health concerns that can arise from working at home, regardless of whether you are under a stay-at-home mandate or not.
Another problem that many of us have is that we are way too sedentary. Simply put, we sit way too much, and it’s been linked to many health issues. In fact, Dr. James A. Levine, M.D., coined the phrase “Sitting is the new smoking,” and numerous studies have been performed that support his claim. An American Cancer Society study, for example, revealed that men who sit for six or more hours a day have a 20% higher death rate than men who sit for less than three hours. For women, the numbers were even worse, with the more sedentary women having a 40% higher death rate.
Getting up and moving can be hard when you work on a computer all day. There are things that you can do, however, to get up and moving a little more often:
With a little bit of foresight and planning, you can get up and move, even when you work at a desk or from your couch at home.
Diet is a concern for most Americans, regardless of whether they are working from home or not. Nearly 80 million adults in the U.S. are obese. Americans eat foods that contain large amounts of saturated fat as well as too much sodium and sugar. In addition to obesity, a poor diet can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol which can greatly increase our risk for heart disease and stroke. A poor diet may even increase our chances of getting dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Processed foods including potato chips, granola bars, cookies and crackers, and frozen dinners are easy to grab when you’re sitting at your desk and get the munchies, but with a little bit of effort, you can greatly improve your diet while working from home:
Healthy eating is important, and it is often neglected when you’re working from home. Some of these suggestions may require a little bit of self-discipline, particularly when mid-day tiredness, boredom, and hunger hits, but it’ll mean a world of difference to your overall health.
Working at home may be necessary right now, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it comes with its own array of health challenges. It is important, however, that you prioritize your health while working from home. Using these suggestions, you can maintain your mental and physical health, no matter if you are new at working from home or if you’ve been doing it for a long time.
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