This is a guest article written by Joie Risk, Lifestyle Medicine + Wellbeing Coach & MD of Sunlighten UK.
As the lockdown period stretches on to a never ending (or so it feels like) period, it is important to really embed a working from home routine which really serves you. I don’t know what you are like but I tend to work far harder , much longer hours and with much shorter breaks when I am working from home! Whilst this might be great career wise for many of us, it is a recipe for burnout, reduced connections, poor quality sleep and nutrition and ultimately a lack of balance in life. This coupled with the stress of a lockdown has been the core reason for a huge increase in mental health issues lately.
So, how to create a healthy work from home routine, one that allows you to flourish and avoid stress? Managing stress levels and sleep is going to be the main thing to focus on.
Reducing stress in an uncertain time is all about keeping things simple in your life. Keeping a strong focus on your diet, drinking enough water, reducing too much alcohol, sugar. Most people do not realise how much the food they eat can impact their body’s ability to cope with stress. In fact the mind-gut connection is so strong that simply eating well alone will help with your stress levels. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine, sugar and refined foods. Most important is to ensure you are taking a high quality magnesium supplement.
Getting your sleep right is the best way to help to maintain balance in your body and mine. The key to this is ensuring your natural circadian rhythms is not disrupted. It may be disrupted by many factors including food, computer time, exposure to lights at night and anything which affects these! Using blue-blocking glasses will help to maintain your natural circadian rhythm by blocking the blue “junk” light which prevents the production of melatonin in the body which signals you to want to sleep. There are many different blue blockers out there but obtaining one which blocks 100% of blue and green light at night is the minimum so you should ensure this is the case if you are shopping around for these. As you get more advanced in managing the blue light in your life you could also block some of the blue light in the day with 75% or 25% blue light blockers in the day time which will help further.
At the end of the day, light a candle and signal goodbye to your computer, workspace and ensure you give your mind and body a break. Taking time to ensure you are nurturing yourself as a whole person and not just your job/career is the key to your success now and always.