For many of us in Africa, working from home is unusual and recent events have made it a necessity that is fastly being adopted by organizations of all sizes across the continent.
While it can give you more freedom and flexibility over our time and work, working from home can present a unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to your health. The temptation of going to the fridge or kitchen every 20 mins to divulge in the alluring snacks, the lack of sufficient physical activity and social stimulation as well as the temptation to work in an ergonomically unsound position, like in bed or perhaps even the urge to keep working all day long, can all sabotage your genuine bets worker intentions.
Here are my top 11 tips for staying fit, healthy and hearty while you work from home:
Set you Personal Health Goals
What does healthy mean to you? Is that what the doctors and your body actually says? Are you saying you need to lose more weight when you are actually at your ideal BMI and any more weight loss will take you down to underweight? Or are you overweight and saying I love my body just the way it is and I only need to manage
Being healthy as much as it is a personal definition also is a practical implication. Be sure your definition of healthy is in alignment with not only your ego but more importantly with your medical health metrics. We are all sometimes guilty of over or underestimating what habits we need to develop to live a healthier life, but the more practical and realistic we get in defining what those habits are and how consistent we need to be with them the closer we get to achieving that health goal.
Determine what you need to do to be healthy and hearty
How much more or less protein or carbs do you need to eat ? How much calories does your body need to achieve the ideal level of physical and mental health standard you want? How many steps and calories do you need to burn? What type of exercise will get you there fasters? Many at times it’s easy to settle with what is comfortable, just like a bodybuilder whose heart is very weak because all he does is work with the irons, same as the yogist who is overweight and simply won’t do anything else but yoga and aerobic: be real with yourself and define what healthy means to you.
Remember we are not the same, so set your calorie consumption goals, number of steps to take per day and fat to burn per day etc.
Get a nutrition and physical health coach if you can afford one
It is possible you can achieve your health goals by yourself without any support, but be mindful of the enormous amount of time you will spend doing trial and error before you figure out what works for you. Whether it is an exercise routine or a meal plan to adhere to, it could be a daunting task if you decide to do it all alone.
Finding a coach who is experienced, educated and has a proven track record can help accelerate your goals and possibly allow you to be part of a community that will motivate and hold you accountable to those goals.
In an Instagram world where you could be following 100s of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who some of them just lost weight and now suddenly are nutrition experts without any proper training or experience; choose wisely and limit the number of people you follow and take advice from. I highly recommend you only work with a Coach who has demonstrated to help not only themselves but others to achieve results(PS: they don’t need to have help from 10s of people before you can work with them since everyone starts from somewhere). So find a coach, stick to a program or advice for a period of time until you get some results. If you are not trying to lose or gain weight or body build: you may not necessarily need one since you might already have it figured out on what you need to do to maintain.
Create a Work From Home Routine
As cool as it sounds working from your Pyjamas all day, would no longer be so cool after you do for 2 weeks straight. Daily habits will make all the differences while working from home: whether you are a full remote worker, a freelancer or recent event have forced you to work from you: you need to develop a healthy morning routine to get your groove on.
Now that you are working from home, it's the best time to redefine and live your dream life every day, envision what a great day in your life looks like, what time do you wake up, what rituals do you practice in the morning? What time to start your work and finish it? Who and how do you spend your after-work time? Use this time to develop and practice that which you used to say you
Prepare your own meal plans (most of the time)
When you are working from home, it is easy to overeat! So how easier will it be if you know exactly the composition of what you are eating since you made it yourself or had it made at home by someone else? There are several healthy meal ideas you can learn (especially if you have a coach or enjoy watching youtube cooking videos)! From smoothies to salads to healthy African food, there are 10s of ways to use the same ingredients to make food fun, healthy and enjoyable.
Develop the personal discipline to control your urges
The fridge is close by so is the snack bar: you can either give in to your urges to visit every 20 mins or decide to stick to your dining schedule, you decide! Having worked remotely for over 3 years, I can confidently tell you that the Working From Home can be one of the best things that can happen to your Self-discipline and accountability, not only in relations to food but to work and curating the life experience you want to have.
Determine your exercise routine and stick to it
Whatever you look like or your health is, exercise should be a part of your lifestyle. Make a conscious and deliberate effort to exercise daily or at least 4 times a week. Choose a specific time of day and stick to whether you feel like doing it or not. There is something sticking to an exercise routine does for your overall health, productivity and even happiness. Don’t take my word for it. Try it whether you are working from home or anywhere else.
Take breaks, especially stretch and Vitamin D Breaks
It is easy to stick to the computer and put in 12 hours of work non-stop, especially if you love what you do or are working for yourself or building a startup. A simple way to ensure you take those breaks is set an alarm for them or simply develop the consciousness of rewarding yourself by taking a break every time you complete say 2 tasks for the day.
Here are some things you can do during your WFH Break time: take 10 mins to walk outside, drink some water, do yoga, meditate, call a friend, turn on music and dance, whatever works for you: switch things up regularly to avoid straining your eyes and overworking yourself to back pain.
Maintain a healthy work-life balance by tracking your time and setting limits.
Track your working hours and keep yourself accountable. Don’t let work bleed over into your personal time or vice versa. Avoid working on weekends if you can, and keep an eye on how much time you’re spending on work every day. This way you won’t feel burned out. Another way to make this work is by setting a different space for work in your home; no matter how small your house is.
Keep the kitchen stocked with healthy snacks
It can be easy to wander into the kitchen when you know it’s packed with treats, so keep temptation at bay by buying fresh fruits and vegetables, and keeping the candy and junk food out of sight.
Create a soothing environment and best of all a healthy mindset