Back working from home? Here are 4 tips to support your physical (and mental) health.
With the Netherlands plunging back into yet another lockdown we are once again faced with an extended period of working from home. For some of us this has become the norm, for better or for worse, with many companies announcing that they will continue with hybrid work indefinitely. For others, it may feel like deja vu, reminiscent of winter 2020/21.
We've posted a lot of information in the past about ways to optimise the working-from-home experience to best support your physical health. So, we figured that there is no better time to rehash some of the key points and consolidate a short list of simple tips that everyone can follow to support their physical (& mental) health.
1. short bouts of daily exercise goes a long way
The negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle have been documented extensively, so we don't need to elaborate on them here. All we need to consider is that incorporating short (3 min) bouts of exercise into your workday can do wonders - it has been shown to negate the negative effects associated with prolonged sitting.
Try adding a 3 minute bout of home-based exercise to your day - morning, midday and afternoon.
A little goes a long, long way.
2. Regular exercise is brain food
Exercise is the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today. It promotes the release of dopamine & serotonin (aka the happy hormones), which causes an immediate and noticeable increase in mood, cognition and energy levels. When done regularly, it changes the neuroanatomy of the brain and increases development in areas that are involved with complex problem-solving and higher-order functions. It also protects against neurodegenerative diseases, like dementia & Alzheimer's.
Try a 30-45 minute exercise program in the morning and take note of how much better you feel during the day.
Get out, sweat, and reap the brain-powering benefits.
3. Zoom fatigue is a thing - schedule breaks between meetings
Studies have shown that engaging in back-to-back online meetings causes a cumulative build up of stress in the brain, which results in fatigue, foggy memory, and lower motivational drive. This can be offset by simply allowing yourself a 10 min break between online meetings. Even as short as 10 minutes (which is best served paired with movement - i.e. a short walk) is enough to hit reset and reduce some of the negative build up of activity in the brain.
Try scheduling in a 10 minute break between back-to-back meetings
4. Sitting all day is painful
Prolonged sitting has been shown to contribute negatively to one's physical and mental health in a variety of ways. Sitting for more than 90 minutes at a time has been shown to significant increase discomfort (particularly in the low back), reduce problem-solving capabilities, and have an overall negative effect on one's mental state.
Try setting a timer or an alarm to prompt you to stand up for at least 2 minutes every hour
Negative habits implemented consistently causes compounding adverse effects. Luckily, it works exactly the same the other way. Try adding these 4 elements into your daily routine (or just pick one and start from there) and start building a stronger, healthier future.