By: Nav Sharma, Registered Dietitian
As many of us have come to terms with our new ‘work from home’ realities, it is now time to conquer our next challenge, keeping up with (or starting!) our workplace wellness goals in our new working environment.
With the ability to work past our typical hours, often without noticing, as well as having access to our refrigerators/pantries whenever we desire, it is clear that our discipline along with our daily routines are out the window. We also aren’t packing healthy lunches like we were pre-pandemic and access to a variety of indulgent snacks is far too convenient.
Since we are now fully in charge of our own workplace wellness programs at home how do we combat these inevitable work from home health challenges? Keep reading to find out!
Keeping Up with Your Work-From-Home Nutrition
Here are 6 tips to help you keep your nutrition on point while working from home!
1) Schedule your meals and snacks
Just as you would plan other tasks throughout the day, be sure to establish your meal and snack times and put them in your schedule. Be proactive by looking at your schedule in advance before and booking off breaks for your days get filled with meetings and other work commitments. Remember, allowing yourself small breaks throughout the day will let you stretch your muscles, refresh your mind and nourish yourself!
2) Eat your meals and snacks
After establishing when you’ll be having your meals and snacks, make sure you actually eat them. Many NutriProCan clients have told us how easy it is to skip their meals and snacks during the day since their typical office cues (such as colleagues coming by during break times) are no longer happening. Setting food alarms on your phone can help you remember to eat in case you get zoned in on an assignment and lose track of time. Eating properly throughout the day can give you some extra energy and also prevent you from overeating at night.
Bonus tip: step away from your work area and focus on eating as a way to relax and enjoy your food. Make a Zoom lunch date with a co-worker or loved one to keep their healthy nutrition on track as well.
3) Prep your snacks and lunches in advance
Pretend you’re going into the office and prep your snacks and lunches in advance. Have all of the ingredients ready to go so you can whip up your snacks and/or meal in no time. Knowing what you’ll be eating will save you from reaching into that bag of chips out of desperation. Batch cooking something you really enjoy can provide you with delicious lunches for a few days and prepping in advance will allow you to properly portion out your food.
Bonus tip: focus on balanced, nutritious foods to feel more full.
4) Drink lots of water
Not drinking enough water throughout the day can lead to headaches and feeling tired – both not great for productivity. The water cooler at work is a great reminder to drink more water but when you don’t have the same set up at home, it can be challenging to remember. Instead, make it a part of your routine to fill up your water bottle first thing in the morning and place it beside you while you work. There is a much higher chance that you’ll drink water if your bottle is visible and easy to access. Since you should be aiming for at least 2L of water a day, have four 500ml bottles filled and ready to go in the fridge the night before so that all you need to do is grab and go in the morning!
Bonus tip: If you’re still struggling, download a water app to receive frequent reminders!
5) Don’t work in the kitchen
Do you ever walk by your kitchen and all of a sudden hear the fridge calling your name? Well, imagine if the fridge was right beside you ALL DAY… Unless you have lots of self-control, working in the kitchen is equivalent to setting yourself up for a food disaster! For many of us, our fridge is our new co-worker! If possible, try to limit your time in the kitchen to meal and snack times ONLY. If you have to work in the kitchen, make sure you are using Tip #3 and only eat what you pack for yourself.
Bonus tip: Putting a sign on your fridge handle as a reminder might be a good idea!
6) Limit your junk food purchases
We know that when we have junk food in the house (and car, for you sneaky people!), we are way more inclined to eat it. Keeping junk food to a minimum in your fridge and pantry will prevent you from mindlessly snacking during the day on foods that don’t offer much nutritional value. If other family members bring junk into the house, ask them to make their own ‘junk bin’ and keep it out of sight.
6 Additional Workplace Wellness at Home Tips
Here are some more tips to help you with your wellness while working from home! (Your colleagues would likely appreciate these tips too so make sure to share this blog with them.)
1) Create an overall routine
Just like you would if you were working at the office, create a routine even if your office is in the basement. Your routine could include waking up at a set time each morning and mapping out your schedule (plus nutrition/exercise breaks!) for the coming week. This will help you stay organized and be as productive from the couch as you would be in a cubicle.
2) Make time for exercise
While mapping out your schedule for the week, be sure to set aside some time for physical activity. Working from home means far less day-to-day movement since the additional steps you would usually be taking to get to and from work no longer exist.
For a little stress relief, mental clarity or to avoid those pandemic pounds, go for a run early in the morning or use one of your self-scheduled breaks to do a quick workout. Use an app like 7 Minute Workout to get moving, or support a local small business by doing a virtual workout with a group or personal trainer.
3) Give your eyes a break
Since most of your meetings will be virtual while working from home, your eyes will be exposed to your screen far longer than before. This can increase your chances of having sore eyes, headaches and muscle tension in your shoulders, neck and back. Plan to shut your eyes and lean back several times a day to give your eyes and muscles some rest – but don’t fall asleep! Also take some time to stretch for a few seconds. Try to invest in a blue light blocking screen protector for your computer and phone.
4) Have work-life balance
If possible, try to have a designated work space in your home that is kept clean and away from distractions like the TV. If you are using a common space like the kitchen table as your office, be sure to clean up soon after to separate your work from the rest of your life as much as possible. For many of us, working from home also means working overtime since there is no dedicated time to “pack up and leave”. Be sure to set an alarm to remind yourself that work is done for the day or plan an activity at 5:30pm which forces you to shut things down for the evening.
5) Stay social
Working from home can be lonely, especially if you were used to interacting with colleagues and work buddies while at the office. To keep those interactions alive, book a virtual lunch with a colleague or schedule an activity with a friend or family member after work at least once a week.
6) Get some sleep
We know that sleep plays a fundamental role in mental and physical health. In fact, getting enough sleep can increase your ability to stay focused, make sound decisions and be creative. Poor sleep, on the other hand, can increase your risk of depression as well as issues associated with learning, thinking, working and reacting. Not getting enough sleep can also lead to weight gain.
While working from home, people often admit that they sleep a bit later which can lead to extra late-night snacking. Try to create and keep a consistent sleep schedule to get the rest you need.
Are your employees or team working from home?
If yes, it is an important time to be investing in their virtual workplace wellness while they are not in the office.
Learn more about our nutrition wellness seminars! http://www.nutriprocan.ca/seminars/
Bonus: Our live seminars are delivered online!
Are you an employee working from home?
Take a wellness break and request a 20-minute discovery call with a NutriProCan Registered Dietitian today to find out how we can help keep you on track.