Thursday, May 6, 2010

Staying healthy while you work at home

This is a topic I can relate to personally. Between children, a disabled husband, cooking, doctors appointments, grocery shopping and a host of other errands, plus working, it is easy to neglect your own health. I’ve been guilty of going a hundred miles an hour and living on coffee.

So here’s a check list of what we all should do, to stay healthy and not burn out.

• Drink plenty of water, just because the espresso machine is within reach of your laptop, don’t overdo the caffeine. In the afternoon try having a piece of fruit for the late day pick me up.

• Take regular and frequent breaks. This means getting up from the computer and taking a walk. If you can get outside, awesome, but it not, throw a load of laundry on, not exactly fun, but it changes the scenery and works a different set of muscles.

• Eat healthy even while you’re working. Start with a healthy breakfast, I like yogurt, but whatever works for you. Make a lunch for yourself in the morning or the night before, so you have a healthy lunch ready. It’s too easy to grab the box of cookies or leftover pizza, because you don’t have time to make lunch.

• It’s tempting, especially if you freelance, to work any and all times. This can be fine, but you can neglect your family/spouse/pets if you’re not careful. There’s also burnout and isolation. Try to set times when you do not work, be it holidays, extended weekends or just one day a week. Make it time for you and your loved ones. Spend time off of your computer, get out of the house and have real world interactions. Have lunch with your mom, sister, the ladies from church, or take the dog or kids to the park, and make it a point to talk to someone. Spring is here (or in my case summer); spend a Saturday visiting yard sales, flea markets, your local museum or go to a lake or the beach. Any of these things will rejuvenate you.

• Develop a regular exercise routine. You’re sitting all or part of the day at your computer. Your short walk to the laundry room is not going to be enough, get a regular routine going.

• Just because you work from home, don’t assume you’ll never catch another cold or flu virus again. Take your vitamins; get your annual checkup and flu shot if needed.

• Finally, scientists have noted that one of the most germ filled areas is your computer keyboard, telephone headset, and surrounding areas. Be sure to clean your work at home space frequently. I vacuum the whole surface, then wipe everything down with alcohol.

English Poet Leigh Hunt said: “the groundwork of all happiness is health.”

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