A Remote Worker’s Guide to Self-care

Remote work is great for our personal and professional lives. The ability to wake up late, stay in your PJs, not worry about traffic – there are many benefits. But while these advantages may come easy, taking care of ourselves and keeping ourselves healthy sometimes don’t. Since we have all dipped our toes into the waters of remote working, now is a great time to consider some simple ways to practice self-care while working from home.

🍓 Eat healthy

Research has shown time and again that eating healthy helps you feel well and boosts your performance throughout the day. Inversely, a diet rich in salt and sugars can increase the feeling of anxiety and lethargy. Cook your meals instead of ordering takeout. Snack on nuts, seeds and fresh fruit instead of reaching for that box of cookies. Keep your water bottle near you so you don’t binge on diet soda. Chew your food slowly, and make sure you take your full lunch break to do so.

If possible, have your lunch with your family, roommates or even with your pet by your side. This is an excellent way of connecting with people around you and combating the loneliness that remote workers might experience.

💪🏼 Get moving

With over 50% of Irish adults found to be physically inactive, it is a no brainer that physical exercise is vital when it comes to taking care of yourself. Studies also state that people who engage in at least 150 minutes of exercise weekly show an increased productivity level of about 70%. In addition, their sleep quality is also proven to improve by a whopping 65%! These statistics show us that both productivity and adequate sleep are tough to attain if you haven’t moved your body enough. 

Let’s be honest, with restrictions on movement and our hectic schedules, we may not be able to commit to working out. So what can you do? 

Hitting the gym is not the only way to be physically active. Taking walks, doing some desk yoga poses, stretching, playing with your kids or your pet or even doing these “secret” exercises while you’re at work! Combine this with a sit-stand desk, and you are on your way to hitting your activity goals for the day!

💤 Get enough sleep

Ireland is known as the ‘Sleep-Deprived Nation‘ because surveys show only 20% of our population thinks they are getting enough sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is like hitting the reset button daily. It clears our mind from the day before, recharges our batteries and helps us perform well the following day. We are all familiar with how we feel when we haven’t slept enough. We move slower, become forgetful and might feel irritable all day. So how can we practice better sleep habits?

Start by taking regular breaks during the day and switching off on time. Limit your screen time too close to bedtime and avoid stimulants like caffeine after 7 pm or so. As much as we would like to binge-watch our favourite show on Netflix, it is essential to sleep on time and wake up on time to feel refreshed. If you feel like you haven’t slept well, aim to take a mid-day nap for about 20 minutes. This will give you that much-needed rest and allow you to resume your work with maximum concentration.

💻 Create a comfortable home office

Contrary to what you might have heard, implementing ergonomics is not hard or expensive. Simple changes in how we do things can go a long way in ensuring our safety from aches, pains and other musculoskeletal disorders. A foldable desk can be set up at the start of your workday and can be folded down when your workday is over. You can also use a laptop riser to work off a laptop, monitor arms if you have two screens, and an extended keyboard set to make sure you aren’t slouching. If your feet do not touch the floor while sitting, you should also be investing in a footrest

In addition to this, getting an ergonomic workstation assessment done even before you have any problem can prevent musculoskeletal disorders in the future. 

✨ Declutter often

We can get ourselves the best equipment and the latest tech pieces, but we will use none of it to its potential if our spaces remain cluttered and untidy. Start by wiping your desk down with disinfectant. Then, make sure every item on your desk has its own place. Plan out the layout of your desk in such a way that all of your important things are within arm’s reach. Don’t just rely on your desk space to get your home office organised. Hooks, baskets, drawer dividers, and pinboards are great ways to keep the clutter off your desk, so you have plenty of room to work.

A great way to be consistent is to evaluate your space every Friday. You can also adopt the “One In, One Out” rule, which says that every time a new item comes to your desk, a similar item must leave.

Are you feeling exhausted, anxious or demotivated of late? Chances are, you might be experiencing something known as ‘Pandemic Fatigue’. Here is an article on Pandemic Fatigue and how to work through it.