#WFH: Ways to Stay Active, Healthy and Functional Working From Home!
Updated: Jan 10
2020 has been a whirlwind of a year to say the least. With the pandemic came a lot of changes to the way we interact, exercise and work. Hour-long commutes to work have now been replaced with rolling out of bed at 8:59am, putting on a dress shirt (paired with pyjama pants of course!) and hopping on Zoom meetings all day long. Working from home definitely has it’s perks, but with the weather changing, ongoing pandemic and uncertainty of when you’ll be heading back into the office, I want to provide a few tips and tricks to keep you moving well, functioning well and living well while you #WorkFromHome!
Before jumping into it, let me introduce myself! My name is Dr. Dana Hames (@thefnctnlchiro on Insta!) and I am a chiropractor in Hamilton, ON. I currently practice at Heal Health & Performance – an absolutely stunning clinic in Hamilton and your one-stop-shop for all your chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage and osteopathic needs. I am a strong believer in exercise as medicine and it is my goal to get my patients moving well and moving often, pain-free of course! I strive to empower my patients by giving them the advice, education, exercise and tools they need to better understand and feel strong in their bodies.
Enough about me, let’s get to the good stuff:
#WFH Tips & Tricks
1. MOVE your body – regularly & consistently!
To avoid achy muscles and stiff joints, remember to M O V E. It is recommended that we give our bodies and minds a break from sitting at least once every hour. Stand up, stretch, walk around, go to the bathroom – whatever you need to do to get some movement back into your body. I suggest taking a 10-minute stand & stretch break after every 50 minutes of sitting! So set that phone alarm, make a post-it note reminder or listen to your Apple Watch when it tells you it’s “time to stand!”. I promise you’ll feel less sore and burnt out by the end of the day, and your body will thank you!
2. Adopt a DYNAMIC & CHANGING posture
In addition to regular movement breaks, be sure to change your working posture frequently. Posture is definitely a #buzzword and can be confusing for most – do you need to sit up straight? Suck in your belly? Stand instead of sit? The “advice” goes on and on. Let me be the first one to tell you that no single posture is inherently good or bad. A perfect posture is one that is constantly changing. If you’ve been sitting for a while, switch it up and stand! If you’ve been sitting with one leg crossed over the other, switch sides! Whenever you start to feel that achiness in your neck, shoulders and lower back, your body is telling you to CHANGE POSITIONS.
3. Separate your WORK space from your LIVING space
I know, I know, I know. It can be super tempting to work in bed all day but I promise you’ll feel better and be more productive if you designate a space in your house to work. This will give your mind that change of scenery it needs to focus and will allow you to leave your work “at work” once you’re off the clock.
4. Use a COMPUTER MONITOR – or at least prop your laptop up (your neck is begging you!)
Bending your neck forward all day long to look down at your laptop can put a strain on your spine. It may also be the cause of those nagging headaches! You don’t need a fancy desk or workspace to set up your screen properly (seriously, I’ve been using a box from an Amazon delivery). My recommendation is propping it up high enough so the top of the screen is just below eye level!
5. Aim for at least 30 MINUTE OF EXERCISE per day
Shocked about this point? Neither am I. I could list the NUMEROUS benefits exercising has on the body, productivity levels, mental health, etc. but I’m sure you know these things already! But I will say this: choose a way to move your body that you enjoy whether it be lifting weights, biking, walking, hiking, practicing yoga – whatever it is that you genuinely ENJOY and will get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day, do that. Every. Day. Take the time to focus on YOU and appreciate your body’s ability to move!
6. Get your Zzz’s in
Sleep is underrated and yet, the most important thing we can do for ourselves. Sleep gives our body and mind the opportunity to recover, rejuvenate and rest. With adequate sleep quality and quantity, our bodies feel less sore and our minds feel less cluttered allowing us to function at our best. If you’re looking for tips and tricks to improve your sleep, scroll down to read the “Getting a Good Night’s Sleep” blog post!
7. Prep NUTRIENT-DENSE snacks
Your body and brain needs GOOD fuel to be able to work! To avoid reaching for that bag of chips, try cutting up some veggies at the beginning of the week to snack on during your work day. That way, it’s effortless to get a healthy and delicious snack in while working (and it’s totally fine if you aimlessly end up eating a LOT of veggies). Other snack ideas include protein balls, nuts, avocado toast, frozen grapes or overnight oats.
8. Remember: living a HEALTHY, BALANCED and FUNCTIONAL lifestyle is not an all or nothing approach!
So you had a bad day at work. You ended up snacking on cookies all day long, sat for 8 hours straight and your only water intake came from the 3 cups of coffee you’ve had. Don’t sweat it. Take the time to decompress after work, watch your favourite Netflix series, go for a leisurely walk or cook your favourite meal. And know that tomorrow is a new day! Remember that little, consistent changes add up and there will always be bumps in the road. Refer back to these tips & tricks when you need a little push to get back on track and back to feeling your best.
These tips and tricks are by no means groundbreaking, but I hope they serve as easy how-to’s to keep active, healthy and functional while working from home! If you have any questions or looking for chiropractic care, feel free to reach out to me over Instagram (@thefnctnlchiro) or check out www.healclinic.ca!
Remember to move well, function well, live well, and always reach for the clouds!