Hit Refresh - Healthy Ways to Break Up the Monotony of Working from Home
Working from home feeling a bit monotonous? Struggling to stay motivated? Try these healthy ways to hit refresh and shake up your work-from-home routine.
Are you a work-from-home veteran, found yourself pitching up at your kitchen-table-come-desk, or have you adopted the buzzword of the moment, ‘hybrid’ working? Whatever your work status, it can be tough to separate that home/work divide and remain focused and motivated.
It can be all too easy to slide out of bed in the morning, switch on your laptop and still find yourself glued to it by the evening. Maybe you’ve been using your much-needed ‘break time’ to throw on an extra load of laundry or catch up on some life-admin, so it’s no wonder that by the time it gets to “blursday”, you’re exhausted with zoom fatigue and tech-neck.
It will come as no surprise that boredom can affect our overall wellbeing and leave us feeling sluggish, tired, and lacking motivation in other areas of our lives. And, with an increased amount of time spent indoors over the past two years, it’s had a significant impact on mental health. For example, a report from the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) found that longer and irregular working hours caused an increase in symptoms of fatigue (60%). Alongside this, there was a significant increase in back, neck and shoulder pains.
So how can you both break up that work-from-home monotony and, at the same time, keep your mind and body healthy?
Walk It Out
Without a regular commute to work, life can feel pretty sedentary. So why not create your commute by going for a walk? Even if that means walking straight back to your kitchen table, it’s a chance to start the day in a healthy way and make sure you get some fresh air.
You could even combine it with mindfulness by practising mindful walking. Pop on our mindful walking playlist. Or, why not arrange to walk with a friend? Brew up a herbal tea, pour it in a KeepCup and start your morning with a walk and talk!
Make a Meal of It
If you’ve found yourself eating breakfast, lunch, and even dinner at your desk or taking a break only to open the fridge door in search of inspiration, why not make a meal of it instead? Give yourself a good start with a hearty breakfast, such as a delicious breakfast bowl or smoothie. And don’t forget to take time for a nourishing lunch, such as a soup or salad. Plus, these can be prepped in advance so you can take make time to relax and enjoy your lunch.
A great way to kick-start your day and give you a healthy dose of motivation is to set an intention for your day ahead. So why not swap scrolling through your phone first thing, which only adds to negative feelings and turn your attention to positive awareness? Light your favourite candle, brew up a delicious tea, and decide how you want the day to feel.
Take a few moments to move your body, stretch, and breathe. It can be so easy to get engrossed in your work that you don’t take a moment to pause. Long periods of sitting can affect your energy levels and keep us sedentary.
Sitting hunched over your desk or laptop doesn't do your neck and back any favours, so it’s essential to check your posture and introduce some gentle neck stretches regularly.
- Shrugging the shoulders - take a deep breath in and roll the shoulders up to your ears. Then, gently roll your shoulders back and down as you exhale whilst lifting the chest.
- Breathe in and gently tilt your left ear towards your left shoulder; notice the stretch in the right side of your neck. Repeat on the other side.
- Start by gently rolling your chin towards your left shoulder, breathe in and allow the shoulders to relax as you exhale. Next, roll your chin back to the centre and repeat on the right side.
Suzy Reading, psychologist and health coach, has written a practical 28-day plan to transform your relationship with sitting, how to add simple breath work and movement into your day and restorative moves for the end of the day.
A great way to take five is to pop the kettle on and allow yourself to be more mindful as you make your tea.
Select a tea that helps your mood; maybe you could do with some focus, an energy boost, or something to soothe and calm, consider what you need at this particular moment and opt for a tea infusion to suit. Then, before rushing straight back to your desk, take some time with your tea and enjoy the warmth and soothing qualities it has. Try our tea meditation.
If you find that working from home feels a little lonely, you’re not alone. Create a calming office atmosphere by tuning into a podcast or audiobook. Some of our favourites are:
And don’t forget to switch off at the end of the day. Whether that’s rolling out your yoga mat, heading out for a run, or making up a cup of tea and enjoying a good book, once your laptop is closed, create time to unwind after a busy working day; even if that’s just a couple of deep breaths!