The global pandemic has meant that working from home is normality for many workers across the country. And it’s looking like the commute from our beds to our makeshift work stations. Whether this be the sofa, dining table or kitchen counter – will stick around for the foreseeable future.
Sudden drastic changes can be stressful and lead to feeling out of control, especially when your regular routine has gone out the window. But it’s vital to create healthy habits to keep both physically and mentally healthy while working from home.
Recent research by Currys PC World uncovered why being physically active helps you to become mentally stronger during these uncertain times.
Battle work stress with exercise
Work can be stressful enough as it is, without the additional factors that working from home can bring, such as having to learn how to effectively communicate online, hoping for reliable Wi-Fi, and avoiding distractions.
When asked about their thoughts on working from home, 20% of people stated that the biggest struggle of remote working is a lack of collaboration and communication, and 20% said loneliness is an issue. What’s more, 18% of people struggle with not being able to unplug, which is difficult to do when your home and office are the same.
Even in pre-COVID-19 days, 72% of Brits admitted to feeling stressed, during the average working week- leading to anxiety and lack of sleep. However, a quarter (24%) of those people said exercise helped them. Reduce work-related stress, suggesting that one way to keep your mind and body in tip-top condition is to be physically active.
Regular exercise helps manage stress and anxiety. While also making you more resilient to other forms of stressors, meaning you can easily tackle issues that crop up during the working day. Research says that that even 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous movement can reduce depression symptoms by up to 19%. Hence, physical exercise plays an essential role in protecting mental health and building flexibility against the struggles of working from home.
The dangers of inactivity
It is widely known that regular activity is good for your overall health. But even with exercise, long stints of sedentary behaviour can lead to some significant health concerns. The NHS states that being inactive or lazy can lead to obesity – i.e. type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, or in worst cases, early death. So, keeping active throughout the day is vital
Plus, it’s not just the physical benefits you can enjoy, but also an improvement to your mental health. The effects of daily exercise and yoga are thought to be equal to meditation or relaxation. This is thanks to the Endorphins that are released during exercise. Taking frequent breaks to move around or even stand at your desk can give your brain a much-needed breather and therefore lead to better concentration and improved productivity.
Daily movement is key
It might be challenging to increase your activity levels during the average 8-hour working day, but it is important to regularly get a good workout. Moreover, it doesn’t have to be an intense Bootcamp session or a 10-mile hike (unless you want to). It could be anything you love doing, like going for a long dog walk, a yoga class, or even gardening. The WHO advises that you aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week.
If you want to get some extra movement during the working day, celebrity fitness expert James Stirling, also known as the London Fitness Guy, can help with that.
He explains that even if you are stuck behind a desk all day, that shouldn’t hinder you from getting extra movement throughout the day. Some tips include:
- Talk while walking (good to have your meetings on-the-go)
- Set reminders on your phone to indicate movement away from the desk
- Make a habit to stretch while working on the desk
- Go for a run in morning or evening
Adjusting to the new normal can be difficult, but establishing good habits will set you up for success during these uncertain times. Keeping fit and exercising regularly will ensure you’re better equipped for any obstacles that may arise during the working day.