Coronavirus - Top tips to stay healthy and happy while working from home

Mar 16, 2020

Top tips to stay healthy and happy while working from home

Reduce your stress: getting stressed or anxious weakens your immune system so it is good to actively work to keep stress levels in check. Taking regular breaks, getting out for a walk, doing some yoga and listening to your favourite music will all help to lower the stress levels. Equally practicing some deep breathing exercises help switch off the fight or flight response which can lead to suppressing our immune system.

Nose breathing purifies the air you take in by filtering it effectively before it reaches your lungs. This is a simple technique that is easy to master with just a little practice.

Boost your intake of nutrients: consume plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin C. Also try adding fish oil, curcumin, garlic oil, zinc, selenium and vitamin D supplements to your diet. These will help to boost your immunity and give your body a fighting chance to beat the virus. Equally, getting rid of sugar biohacks your immune system by removing a food source that feeds the “bad” bacteria in your gut.

Get enough sleep - 7-8 hours each night. Sleep increases the strength and activity of certain immune cells called T cells. Your T cells fight against all forms of infections and viruses. Sleep increases the activity of T cells and makes them better at identifying virus-infected cells. Adopting a good sleep routine while working from home is essential for overall health but key to maximising your immune response.

Top tips to stay mentally well while working from home

Manage stress

Our new reality of having to work from home, being separated from loved ones, fear of the virus itself and an uncertain future all contribute to increasing our stress levels. We also know that increased stress triggers an automatic suppressing of our immune system. It is more important than ever that we main our stress levels. Here are some simple ways to reduce stress:

  • Express gratitude: The power of being grateful cannot be overstated, especially now. A daily gratitude practice can boost the immune system, improve mental and physical health, and create a sense of calm during stressful times
  • Play some music: Music is an amazing tool to help calm the mind. Put aside work for a few minutes and lose yourself in your favourite sounds
  • Meditate: This might not be the easiest time to start a new meditation practice. For now, spend about 2-3 minutes on a guided meditation when you start to feel the stress and negative thoughts take over. The Calm app is a great place to start. It has a free version and some fabulous quick meditations to get you started
  • Share kindness: Many are going through the day worried about their own health and the wellness of their family and friends. Share kindness by showing up for those who need extra support. Even a simple “How are you?” can show people you care
  • Detach from media and be selective about what you watch: Have periods of your day away from media, so you aren't absorbing negative news all day. Instead of watching the news, find a feel-good movie or series to catch up on. Equally be careful of fake news. Follow advice and guidance from WHO and HSE and other reliable sources instead
  • Establish a routine: Seize the day. Set boundaries, start and finish times, with regular break times. Set goals each day. Tackle some of the tasks you’ve been dreading. Give your day a sense of purpose and achievement
  • Set up a separate work-space: Maybe don’t set up your home office from the couch! Find a spot that has good natural light, is warm but well ventilated, is set away from the rest of the house if possible. Make it feel and look as office-like as possible. This is key to being able to establish your on/off switch
  • Stay connected with colleagues: Use the technology at your fingertips - Teams, Whatapp, Facetime or Skype. Set up regular team meetings and hold these over Teams. Use the video function as it’s important to connect with visuals cues and facial expressions which all add to feeling more connected. Use these for virtual coffee breaks too. Try to maintain as many of your previous routines as possible in this new reality
  • Take essential breaks: During your working day, establish a regular set of breaks when you leave your work-station and move around. Try some simple stretches in a new space perhaps moving to a different room or stepping out into the garden. Most of us have more time in our day as we no longer need to commute. Take back these 2-3 hours for yourself and your family. Get outside in nature every day. Enjoy lunches and dinners around the table. Everyone can benefit from this additional family time
  • Eat good food: Maintaining a healthy diet with three wholesome meals and three healthy snacks per day will be key in keeping your mind healthy too. When feeling stressed or emotional, we tend to reach for sugary, high calorie foods which exacerbate stress levels. Here is a great article that helps tackles the issue of stressful eating
  • Get regular exercise: Being cooped up all day is bad for our health. Getting our exercise outside is a great way to lessen the stress hormones and boost the feel-good endorphins which have been proven to ward off feelings of anxiety. Don’t forget to track your steps on your FitBit or iphones to ensure you are keeping up with your fitness goals
  • Sleep: Sleep increases the strength and activity of certain immune cells called T cells. Your T cells fight against all forms of infections and viruses. Sleep increases the activity of T cells and makes them better at identifying virus-infected cells. Adopting a good sleep routine (7-8 hours) while working from home is essential for overall health but key to maximising your immune response

As you can see, while living through the next few days and weeks of uncertainty there is much we can do to keep our minds and our bodies healthy and fighting fit. Staying connected, establishing good work, rest and sleep routines will serve us well during this time. Who knows we may even surprise ourselves by finding new appreciation in the simple pleasures of life.

Finally, for those who would like some additional guidance, Pat Divilly (motivational coach who spoke in the Institute recently) is running a 14-day challenge “to support people who might be struggling with uncertainty and isolation”.  More information can be found pinned on Pat’s Facebook page or you can sign up for the challenge here.

Stay well all!

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CA Support are here to offer guidance on all aspects of your health and wellbeing. If you or someone you know needs help, get in touch on 01 637 7342 or 086 024 3294. For more information, please visit us at CA Support.