1. Get up and move
Research links sitting for long periods of time with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. But even moving just a little can help! In the privacy of your own home, feel free to move your body. Try stretching, running, or walking in place while you’re on a muted meeting. You can also invest in a standing desk to give you the option to stand rather than sit. Standing burns 100 to 200 calories per hour, while sitting burns only 60 to 130. Use this calculator to estimate your own calories burned during a day of sitting compared to standing. Do you find it hard to remember to get up and move? Set a timer or drink lots of water so you’re forced to get up and go to the restroom.
For even greater benefits, make time in your day for outdoor exercise (weather permitting). Research shows that physical activity outside has far-reaching benefits for your body and mind, helping you burn more calories than you would doing the same activity indoors, but also improving your mood. Something as simple as a walk through the neighborhood can have positive effects.
2. Improve your ergonomics
Whether you’re sitting or standing, if you’re working at a computer, you are engaging in movement that can result in “microtraumas” — a buildup of small strains on our muscles, nerves and bones that can come back in the form of major stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
To prevent these injuries, assess your setup with your computer and keyboard. Your monitor should be at or just below eye level and at arm’s-length away, with your wrists straight and hands at or below elbow level. If you’re sitting, your knees should be level with your hips. If your current setup doesn’t match these criteria, try using a stack of books or a box to raise up your monitor. Invest in a separate keyboard for your laptop, as this makes it much easier to keep your elbows at the recommended angle. You might even think about upgrading to an ergonomically-designed option that will give your wrists some relief. You can also roll up a small towel or cloth and place it under your wrists and lower arms. Many companies will reimburse for office equipment you need to do your job effectively, so be sure to ask your supervisor if that’s an option.
3. Take care of your eyes
Are you experiencing more frequent headaches or do your eyes feel tired by mid-day? According to the American Optometric Association, viewing a screen makes our eyes work harder. Fortunately, there are some simple preventative measures you can take. Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen for 20 seconds and focus on something in the distance to give your eyes a break from the close view of the screen. You can also experiment with your screen display. Most devices have a brightness adjustment – make sure the screen is not brighter than your surroundings. Some devices also have a night light option that will turn down the blue light and turn up the red. You can adjust these displays in your device settings, or download an app like Twilight to change your blue light. A matte screen filter can reduce glare, and moisturizing eye drops can help if your eyes are getting dry.
4. Watch your visits to the kitchen
If, like a lot of people, you’re working from your kitchen table or in the next room, then the snacks available just steps away are a great temptation. Try to resist multiple visits to the kitchen, and stock your cupboard and fridge with healthy, low-calorie options, so that when you do need to step away and munch on something, chips or candy aren’t the first thing you grab. Consider planning out your daily snacks in advance so you don’t reach for those cookies on impulse.
5. Set a routine
It can be nice to think you could lounge in bed a few minutes longer or try to do housework in between work tasks. But a lack of routine has been shown to have negative health effects. Set a schedule for yourself and all of your tasks, including time not only for work, but also grocery shopping, housework, food preparation, exercise, and bedtime. A routine can help to reduce your stress levels, contributing to better sleep, improved mood, and overall better health.
As so many of us continue to enjoy the perks of working from home, don’t forget to consider your health. And when you do get back into the office, these tips will help you no matter where you work. Establishing healthy habits now will serve you well long into the future. Tell us what you do to stay healthy while working from home — share with us on social media @CenturyLink. Stay well, carry on, and look at our Discover blog site for more great articles.