#ZoomLife – we thought we were done with it, and then lockdown 2.0 hits...
Working from home isn’t easy for the most of us: missing out on office gossip after the weekend, the afternoon tea run, even the little things like sitting at a desk and not your kitchen table…
The fact is, this is kinda our new normal now, so let’s make the most of it! Without further ado, here are our top tips for navigating WFH to keep us as healthy as possible:
1) Exposure to morning sunlight
Waving goodbye to our morning commute has pretty much waved goodbye to our chance of morning sunlight. No – opening your curtains doesn’t count. We mean that 5 min brisk walk (/panic dash) to the tube in the morning, in the fresh air, out in the real world- remember that place?!
Here’s the sciencey bit:
Exposure to full spectrum natural light in the morning is brilliant for regulating our body clock, and getting our brain and body prepared for the day ahead. Morning sunlight can even help with sleep!
We have increased levels of cortisol (our stress hormone) in the morning, which helps us to wake up and stay alert during the day. It also probably explains why that 5 min run to Waterloo is such a stress. As day turns into early afternoon, cortisol levels start to fall, and melatonin levels (our sleep hormone) start to increase. However, if we don’t get our morning or daylight natural sun exposure, and are instead exposing ourselves to lots of artificial lights in the evening (hello phones, laptops, TVs- we’re looking at you), our body clock and natural rhythm may start to shift towards that of a “night owl”.
The solution is pretty simple- try and get outside in the morning for 20 minutes and soak up the natural sunlight. Combining this with some movement such as a brisk walk will be even better and can also boost your productivity for your day ahead. Oh, and that last episode of Black Mirror before bed? It ain’t worth it.
Say it with me- H2O is my friend.
Not drinking enough in the day to keep adequately hydrated is SUCH a common error when it comes to health. You know like when that 3pm migraine hits, and you realise all you’ve had today is an oat milk latte? We’ve all been there.
You might also be finding it harder to drink as much as before due to the colder weather, but hydration is so important for optimal energy and productivity levels. Aim to consume about 2 litres of fluids a day, in the form of water and herbal teas. To help you keep track of your consumption, try keeping a large bottle on your desk to sip throughout the day. On the go? Try to carry a bottle around with you as a reminder to drink.
P.s.- Adding a slice of lemon or cucumber in can make things slightly more excited (and make you feel like you’re in a spa) – we highly recommend.
3) A Healthy Breakfast
You know that saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? Well, we feel that’s pretty meal-ist, and like to treat all 3 meals* with the same level of love. However, starting your day with a nutrient dense brekkie or brunch is a key way of getting in carbohydrates and proteins to fuel your work, and keep blood sugar levels balanced.
When blood sugar levels become unbalanced in response to food, you may start to experience tiredness, lethargy, mood swings, energy slumps and further sugar cravings. Starting your day with some fruits or vegetables, some fibre rich carbohydrates (like oats or rye bread), and a source of protein (e.g. nuts or eggs) will help you remain balanced and focused.
*or 4... or 5… who’s counting, really?
4) Meal planning
This works for both people who are super organised, and also people who really cba at the end of the day. Planning your main meals ahead of the week can be such a great tool to help you eat a more healthy and balanced diet.
It’s also one of the easiest ways to factor in different elements, such as 2 portions of oily fish or 10 different vegetables, across a week. We love eating hummus and crisps as much as the next person, but something tells us that doesn’t quite hit all of our food groups.
Try spending just 20 minutes on the weekend or at the start of the week to plan your main meals, and then shop accordingly. It’s a time saver, a money saver, and helps reduce food waste. Win win.
5) Batch Cooking
If you can nail tip 4, then you’re one step away from nailing tip 5 – the batch cook. It’s a bit like when your mum planned out your tea for the week, only this time you pick the food, so there’s no disappointment on a Wednesday when it’s Shepherd’s Pie.
This can be a game changer for freeing up time during the week when it comes to cooking meals. If you batch cook on a weekend, you’ll have lunches, dinner and maybe even some breakfast sorted ahead of time. Great batch cook breakfast options include egg muffins (made with whisked egg and a mixed of veg and spices), overnight oats and breakfast oat bars. For lunch, we love to roast a mix of vegetables (think sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, onions and broccoli) with a little olive oil and seasoning, to store in the fridge and add to salads or pair with protein throughout the week. The same can be said for batch cooking protein sources such as fish fillets, a roast chicken or some tofu pieces, as they’re great to throw into vegetable-based meals for a protein hit. Finally, soups, stews, curries, bolognese, ragu and chillies are all fantastic meals to make in larger quantities and either store in the fridge or freeze. The possibilities are endless!
So there you have it – five tips to help working from home become that little bit easier, and keep you that little bit healthier.The most important tip of all? Be kind to yourself. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we’re all more adaptable than we ever thought. Trying to find a balance and happy medium can be tricky, so remember- it’s ok not to be ok, and you’re totally killing it right now.