Disclosure: This article was sponsored by Quincy Bioscience, the makers of Prevagen.
Most people who are fortunate enough to be able to work remotely are currently working from home to aid with social distancing efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be a challenge to acclimate to working from home all of a sudden, especially if it’s not something you’ve done before. According to the makers of Prevagen, there are four common unhealthy habits that people should try to remain aware of and work to mitigate:
- Eating too much junk food
- Not exercising
- Having poor posture
- Watching too much television
Of course, all of these habits can become even more prevalent and difficult to avoid during times of uncertainty, isolation, and boredom. Other bad habits that may come about in light of the mass quarantine and shelter-at-home orders include:
- Isolating yourself and forgetting to reach out to friends and loved ones
- Forgetting about work-life balance
- Staying inside the house all day
- Not establishing a routine
- Not paying attention to your mental health
Fortunately, once you’re aware of these potential pitfalls, you can come up with some fairly simple ways to avoid them and stay mentally, physically, and socially active during this time.
1. Maintain work-life balance.
The first thing you should do is establish a designated work area. Even if you don’t have the luxury of a home office, you can still find a space in your house that is intended solely for work. This can be difficult if there are multiple people in your household suddenly working from home, but even if you have to work at your kitchen table, you can still make it conducive to productivity. Each night before bed, make a to-do list for the next day, and try setting up your computer, notepads, and other materials so that your workspace is organized and ready to go when you wake up.
Each morning, wake up at a consistent time, shower and get ready as though you’re going into the office, and spend a few minutes enjoying a cup of coffee or tea. Throughout the day, try to stick to a pretty typical schedule, and don’t forget to take frequent breaks. If possible, try to stop working when you would typically come home from the office. It’s important for your professional productivity, mental health, and social life to separate your work life from your home life, even if you can’t do it physically.
2. Eat healthy foods.
Coming to terms with the current state of the world can lead to sadness, and being stuck at home without your friends can lead to boredom. Both sadness and boredom, of course, frequently lead to binge-eating junk food. Although the occasional sweet treat is okay, remember to focus on eating healthy snacks and meals during this time. This will be beneficial to your mental health and boost your immunity. This is also an excellent time to learn to cook or expand your cooking skills. Try focusing on whole foods, and find recipes from a wide range of cuisines to keep things interesting.
3. Invest in your local economy.
In most cities, even once with strict shelter-in-place orders, many restaurants are still providing delivery and/or takeout services, even though they’ve had to close their dining rooms for the time being. Most larger chain stores will have a lot easier time recovering from financial upheaval, so if possible, try to order food from local restaurants. This way, you’re supporting your local economy, and you get a chance to try out some new restaurants. To make it more fun, think about expanding your palate and trying out some new cuisines that you don’t usually eat.
You can also order online from small businesses of all sorts, both ones in your city and elsewhere. Not only does doing this help bolster the local economy and make sure that struggling small businesses are able to recover once they’re allowed to open their doors again, but it also gives you a sense of purpose that can be very rewarding.
4. Get outside.
Just because you’re in a state of “quarantine,” “self-isolation,” or “shelter-at-home” doesn’t mean that you have to stay literally in your house. You still have access to the great outdoors, and now is the perfect time to enjoy the beauty of nature, even if it’s just in your backyard.
Take your dog on a walk. If you don’t have a dog, walk by yourself or with your roommates or partner. Remember that most public outdoor places like parks are still open, as long as you keep social distancing rules in mind while you’re there.
If possible, work or eat lunch on your porch or balcony on days when the weather is nice. Alternatively, break up your workday with frequent walks around the block. When you’re outside, remember to take note of the beauty all around you that you might not always have the time or mental space to notice.
In most cities, public gyms have closed, and many people rely on those gyms to keep themselves active. However, there are a lot of ways to exercise without a gym, and you may even find yourself more engaged in your workouts because you’re being forced to switch things up.
First of all, remember to get up and stretch throughout the workday. This will help with your posture and keep your mind and body engaged. When you work in an office, you probably get up and walk around throughout the day, but it can be difficult to remember to get up and stay moving when you’re working in your living room.
Try running around your neighborhood or hiking a nearby trail. Start up a yoga routine in your living room with the guidance of some YouTube yoga videos. There are also plenty of at-home workout routines online that will guide you through flexibility and strength-training exercises that don’t require weights or complex gym equipment.
6. Turn off the TV.
It can be tempting to sit on the couch all day watching television. After all, this is a great time to catch up on some of the movies and shows that you didn’t have time to watch until now. However, it’s important to avoid spending all of your time in front of the TV, especially with all of the anxiety-inducing coronavirus media coverage that feels nearly impossible to escape from.
If you’re bored and looking for something with an engaging narrative to occupy the time, try picking up a book. If you’re one of the many people who feel like they don’t have enough time to read in their daily lives, now is your chance.
7. Pick up a new hobby, or revisit an old one.
Now that you don’t have to commute to work and many of your social activities have been suspended, you likely have some extra time on your hands. Take advantage of your open schedule by trying out a new hobby. Learn a new language, teach yourself to knit, or pick up that guitar that you always wanted to learn to play.
Another great option is to take up gardening, either in your backyard, on your porch, or just inside your kitchen window. Gardening has the added benefits of providing you with food, getting you out of the house, giving you a sense of purpose, and helping you connect with nature, all of which are good for your health.
8. Stay social.
“Social distancing” is a bit of a misnomer; “physical distancing” is a more accurate way of describing what we’re all supposed to be doing to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus outbreak. Just because you can’t go over to your friends’ houses or visit your family in another state doesn’t mean that your social life has to suffer. It does, however, require an approach that’s a bit more intentional.
Have video conference calls with your friends and family, and make sure to reach out to someone at least once a day. You might even try viewing this as a time to reignite relationships with people you’ve fallen out of touch with. This is also an opportunity to spend more time with the people who live in your house; you might not normally have the time to bond with them this much.
9. Take some time for yourself.
Although working from home and having to stay at home for most of the day can lead to isolation for people who live alone, it may have the opposite effect for others. Many people who live with family members, partners, or roommates may find themselves going a bit stir crazy simply because they can’t find the time or space to be alone. Set aside a time each day when you can go on a brief walk alone, or enjoy some time by yourself in the house while your partner goes on a run.
10. Invest in your brain health.
All of these activities, from staying social and finding ways to have fun to eating healthy foods and staying active, are all good for the health of both your body and brain. Activities like reading, instead of watching television for hours on end, also keep your brain nimble and engaged.
Additionally, you might benefit from paying special attention to your mental health during this time. Although feelings of sadness and anxiety are sure to crop up, remember that you can always find a reason to be joyful. Try mindfulness meditation, or pick up journaling to help you stay in touch with your feelings and enable yourself to process, in a healthy way, what’s going on in the world around you.
Prevagen is a supplement developed by Quincy Bioscience to improve memory and help reduce the effects of age-related cognitive decline.* Prevagen is formulated with apoaequorin, a protein derived from jellyfish that is known to support brain function.* In a computer-assessed, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical study, Prevagen improved certain aspects of cognitive function over a 90-day period.* Prevagen is available in over 50,000 stores across the country.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.