A survey conducted by The Institute of Employment Studies during lockdown found that people forced to work from home are living less healthily.
Of the 500 workers surveyed, half were exercising less and a third were eating less healthily. Up to a fifth of the participants said that they were drinking more alcohol and the majority were having problems with their sleep patterns, along with aches and pains in necks and backs.
There’s a very real cause for concern at the moment as we continue to plough through unchartered waters.
Many workers have been furloughed and there’s a general air of uncertainty about the short and medium-term future. We’re all worried about the risks to our health from the virus, as well as the over-riding impact on the economy and what that will mean to us all financially.
Added to this, there are feelings of isolation as movement is restricted, along with access to friends, colleagues and loved ones. No surprises that sleep is being affected.
Many who are working from home are feeling compelled to work longer and sometimes irregular hours to make up for the impact on concentration that these shared concerns and changes to circumstance are having.
A balanced approach
It’s important to keep to a routine where possible as establishing a sense of regularity naturally lowers anxiety and keeps us balanced. Working longer hours is not the answer right now.
Regular exercise is necessary.
There are a plethora of free online tools and sites that can help with this and provide some guidance for anyone who can’t get out and might be struggling with where to start, not to mention those who are operating in a limited amount of space.
If you have a garden, use it !
Fresh air and natural light are most beneficial to health and wellbeing and one of the bonuses of working from home, for those with their own outdoor space, is the ability to access it.
Take five minutes out to clear your head and be mindful.
Be aware of your breathing and step into the moment. Tuning into our breathing is one of the easiest ways to combat feelings of agitation. There are a variety of meditation apps available however mindfulness can be as easy as simply focusing on counting your breaths, which will automatically block everything else out.
It is possible to stay healthy during lockdown.
Working from home can actually make it easier to make the right food choices, which are sometimes difficult when eating on the go or in a canteen.
As we establish a routine during this unfamiliar period, we can review our choices about what we eat and what we drink and embrace this new, temporary normal.
The key is not to come down too hard on ourselves. We’re all on a learning curve during this challenging time and a degree of acceptance is necessary to see us through.