We are all working from home now.
If this is your first time: welcome to having an office adjacent to the kitchen and pantry.
Working from home means taking fewer steps to coworkers’ desks to and from lunch appointments. It also possibly means eliminating steps as we no longer need navigate the walking to and from the car or subway to get anywhere.
With reduced daily steps and increased access to the kitchen, many of us are already seeing our weight tick up, but there’s no reason that we need to gain the COVID-15 or to let it settle in.
If you find yourself with some extra weight, take a breath, accept that your multi-pronged lifestyle change has contributed, and assess what changes you are able to comfortably make.
I’m a seasoned work-from-homer. My first six years in the media was the “Cameron Street Branch, Toronto” branch of a United States-based national consumer magazine. Currently, I own a movement studio (that has no office) and all my admin and computer work is conducted from the “Couch at Home” branch of My Body Couture.
Here are a few tips on how I have successfully worked from home since I was 25, without tipping the scales:
1. Get up and move! Do something regularly. We are used to getting up for coffee, a quick chat with a coworker, or walking around for lunch. The need to move our bodies at home has not changed. Whether you have a regular “exercise” routine or not (and the fitness expert in me says: “you might want to consider that”), try to get up, do some laundry, or wash a dish at regular intervals during your workday. We have home-based tasks to do, so pick a chore or a destination around the house every hour or two and go do it. Don’t sit at your desk for eight hours without a break.
2. The kitchen is not a place to be every hour. It’s a huge shift to be at home near the kitchen. But proximity to your kitchen is no different than proximity to a restaurant: you don’t walk in and out of the restaurant beside your office 15 times a day, so don’t do it at home either.
3. Our workday used to end and we would go home. Now we don’t have to quit working. Nothing wrong with that, but find a way to begin or end a day and bookend your time, as you’re used to doing already. Fitness is a great way to mentally mark the beginning or end of a workday, or you could mark it by other standard “gear changers” such as reading, cleaning, FaceTiming a friend for “virtual drinks.” This gives you a sense of schedule.
4. Clean your house. Visual clutter distracts you and creates stress (mostly in females). Take 20 minutes a day to clean and clear your immediate workspace so you aren’t distracted by clutter or mess, which raises stress levels.
5. Set regular mealtimes. Nothing has changed here, folks.
6. Manage your grocery list: you won’t eat it if you don’t buy it. One bonus of being in your house is that you have a slower flow of groceries coming in. Potato chips and crackers don’t need to be on your next grocery list. If you have junk food in your house, it got there because you bought it, so stop buying it.
7. Find a time to work out every day. This is a great time to incorporate some new fitness habits into your life. Take a walk. Set up a FaceTime walk and talk. Try an online yin class. Try an online private fitness session. There have literally never been more options, more accessibility to instructors, or more delivery of online content.
8. Try temptation bundling. A proven method for increasing your ability to effectively incorporate change into your life is to set limits for yourself: “I will only watch Netflix while using my bike trainer.” Pair something you like (podcasts, television) with something you are struggling to do (clean your house, work out).
9. Use your home gym. Most of us have stuff around the house that we aspirationally purchased. This is your moment to shine, treadmills!
10. Learn to cook. Get out your apron and craft your own meals. If you have no idea where to start? Try one pot meals such as chilies, casseroles, or soups, and consider using or buying an instant pot.
11. Eat real meals; don’t exist solely on snacks.
12. If you are stress/boredom eating, find/dust off a hobby. There’s a higher than average chance that you have something around your house that you are interested in but haven’t had time to fully delve into. Get out your unread books, abandoned board games, and set-aside projects.
13. Switch up your snacks. If you must mindlessly snack, try popcorn, carrots, celery, or other low-calorie density foods. I used to keep carrots at my desk to rage-munch.
14. Embrace carbs again. Eat beans and oatmeal to keep you satiated.
The newest branch of your office has everything it needs to keep you healthy and stave off the COVID-15.
If you have already gained weight, accept that stress, uncertainty, and change have contributed and try to pick one idea that seems like something you might commit to implementing.
What other ideas do you have? Share your tips below!