Tips to Stay Healthy While Working From Home

Women working from home at her kitchen table.

Working at home while navigating daily stresses can be daunting.

If stress is unaddressed, it can become chronic and create problems for your physical and emotional well-being. To fend off the pressure of being overworked at home, some women turn to unhealthy habits such as overeating, being physically inactive or smoking.

But here are a few strategies that can help you manage stress and be healthy while putting in the work hours at home:

  • Keep home home. Working from home shouldn’t mean your company has annexed each square foot of it. Designate a room or corner for your computer, papers, reports, folders and other work-related stuff. Be sure to separate work space from the rest of your home — and leave it all there at day’s end.

    This helps the family because seeing you close the proverbial office door signals you’re ready for uninterrupted family time. And because you’ve compartmentalized work to a dedicated space, you won’t face stressful visual reminders of tasks undone throughout your living space.
  • Continue to “commute.” When you worked in the office, getting there gave you an opportunity to mentally prepare for your role. And the commute home helped you decompress before becoming mom again. You still need these transitions. Shifting roles in an instant can leave you feeling whiplashed and disoriented.

    So take 10-15 minutes before and after your work day to “commute.” Tidy your desk, play music or a podcast, or do breathing exercises — whatever helps you get ready for your work and mom roles.
  • Set scheduling boundaries. Just because you’re home doesn’t mean you’re in mom mode. Communicate to your family when minor interruptions are OK and when work demands your total focus. You do this with your colleagues, so why not with your family?

    Creating good work-at-home habits helps you guard your time and accomplish your dual roles. You’ll feel freer to get tasks done during the day and less guilt when the time comes to turn off the computer for family time.
  • Don’t forget lunch. An easy trap of working at home is leaving barely enough time to wolf down leftovers before the next meeting — or even skipping lunch. Your body and mind need this daily ritual. Refueling with a healthy lunch promotes mental focus and physical stamina for not only the rest of work but also for what follows with the family. Take advantage of a work-from-home benefit by preparing meals you enjoy and couldn’t get at the company cafeteria. You’ll probably even save money in the process.
  • Leave the house. Another advantage of at-home work is walling off from colleagues and using the quietness to crank out assignments. But sometimes the lack of interaction can feel isolating. Getting out of the house is especially important now that your personal retreat houses your office. Find activities, hobbies and exercises outside the home. When the opportunity presents, meet in person rather than virtually. Walking during breaks or even during calls also gets you out into the world for fresh air and sunshine.