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In theory, working from home should be much healthier than working in an office environment. You can cook healthy dinners, there isn’t the temptation of sweet snacks that coworkers bring in and you can fit in workouts before or after work in place of your commute. However, the reality is, now so many of us are suddenly having to adapt to working from home, your workday is mostly spent sat on the sofa, wearing lounge clothes and eating out of boredom.

Creating a healthy work/life balance is difficult in normal circumstances, but when you’re living and working in the same place, day in, day out, it can be hard to separate the two. There are, undeniably, many benefits to working from home. You have the freedom to work around your own home, no distracting co-workers and more time spent with family or doing household jobs, but for every benefit, there are some downsides.

When you’re working from home, it’s easier to skip your workouts, regular mealtimes go out the window in favour of getting more work done during your dinner hour and losing out on sleep. Keeping healthy whilst working from home is something many people are currently struggling with. So here are 5 top tips to keep healthy whilst working from home.

Have a designated workspace

Your surroundings will have an impact on your work mindset – fact. This is why it’s so hard to motivate yourself whilst working from the sofa. If you want to be motivated and get work done, then you must designate an area of your home where you can work in peace, whether it’s your own home office, a small desk in the corner of a room or even just from the dining room table.

You should make sure that the area you choose is to your liking – is the chair comfortable? Is it a quiet area of the house? Is there enough natural light? These factors will determine how motivated you are during the day and will minimise any stress related to your environment.

Drink plenty of water

It is really important that you keep hydrated throughout your workday. If you’re used to working in an office where there is a water cooler or fountain, then you’re likely to drink a lot more water during your working day than you would whilst working at home. However, dehydration leads to fatigue, headaches and irritability which can then compromise your levels of alertness and productivity. Be sure to drink plenty of water during the day and try to cut down on the caffeinated drinks you consume.

Prep your meals and snacks

Just like you would if you were heading into the office, it’s important whilst working from home that you prep your meals and snacks for the day. A hasty tasty meals can provide you necessary nutrition which is vital when it comes keeping focused and productive during the workday. It is hard to concentrate when you are hungry and your blood sugar is dipping and this will just have a knock-on effect during the day.

Limit the amount of sugary drinks and food that you have during the day. Whilst these give you a quick energy boost, your blood sugar levels will drop just a few hours later. However, if you want to make meal prep even easier, you can get your low calorie meals delivered. This can save you time and ensure you have healthy, balanced meals ready to go.

Also, you can plan your meals ahead of time and prepare healthy snacks, such as fruit, plain yogurt and berries, hard-boiled eggs and hummus with veggies. If you’re feeling particularly fatigued and eating an unhealthy diet whilst working from home, you might be lacking in vitamins which are keeping your body functioning properly – magnesium tablets can help with the feelings of tiredness, as can vitamin D supplements.

Schedule workouts

It’s easy to skip workouts when you’re working from the comfort of your own home all day, but making time for workouts has both physical and mental health benefits. As well as improving your overall fitness levels, research has shown that regular workouts can help to lower your stress levels too. By scheduling workouts into your day or taking an online personal training session, you’re more likely to stick to them, whether they’re before work, during your lunch hour or break time, or after work.

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Move around whilst working

Sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day has never been recommended, but when you’re working from home, you’re much less likely to get up and move around during the day. When working in an office, you’re likely to get up grab a drink or go for a walk during your dinner hour. When working from home, everything is within close contact, meaning you won’t be walking around much.

Make sure you get up for a walk around the house once an hour, at least, and stretch and get some fresh air during your dinner hour or break – even if you just sit in the garden for 10 minutes. If you want to increase your steps, walk around the house whilst taking a work call or walk up and down the stairs whilst on hold.

Don’t let the comfort of working from home interfere with your health or your work productivity. By organising your work-day and using habits from when you worked in an office, you will create both physical and mental boundaries when it comes to your work and health. This will create a happy balance which will make you feel much healthier and in control.

Jamie Costello is a legal assistant based in Manchester, UK. The topics he writes about varies from business law to dispute resolution. He uses his knowledge from education and working alongside internal litigations solicitors within his role to help collate his articles.

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.

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