For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted our daily routines and opportunities for self-care. It can be tough to maintain some semblance of normal life with all the closures and restrictions that are in place. If you also have kids at home, then like me, you have expanded your resume to include part-time teacher, referee, conflict resolution mediator and more. This is exhausting, to say the least! Working from home in this environment can leave you feeling less motivated and less productive both professionally and personally, neither of which contributes to positive physical and mental well-being. If you feel like you are unable to maintain a healthy lifestyle while working from home, these tips could help you to achieve your goals.
1. Plan Your Time
Take a moment once a week to plan out your days. Better yet, write down a schedule for yourself that you feel you can stick to most of the time. When creating your schedule, build in some intentional time to take care of your body. This can mean a lot of things: meditation, physical activity, hydrating and eating on time. Within the context of weight, it would mean focusing on eating a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein along with doing some physical activity. See the sample schedule below for an idea:
7 am - Wake Up, shower and get dressed
7:30 am - Breakfast
8 am - Kids go to school (help them pack their bags, send them off)
8:30 am - WORK
10:30 am - Snack at desk
12:30 pm - Lunch away from the desk. Read a book, catch up on the news, enjoy the break!
1 pm - WORK
3 pm - Snack at desk
4 pm - Kids home from school. Workout together! (Online videos or phone apps)
4:30 pm - WORK (kids do homework)
5:30 pm - Make dinner
6:15 pm - Family Dinner
Tweak the schedule based on your needs! Don’t have kids? Use that time in the sample schedule to work or do something you feel good about like having a video chat with a friend. Prefer to work later hours? Move the schedule down into your day and evening as needed. The idea is to create something that works for YOU while prioritizing the habits that will help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
2. Make a Meal Plan
One of the best things we can do to lead a healthy lifestyle is to create a weekly menu plan. I typically recommend that my clients take a few minutes once a week and start by planning one meal per day for the week - usually dinner. Once you know what you would like to have, you can create a grocery list and stick to it. When you have your groceries, take 30-60 minutes to prepare the ingredients you need for meals that week. That could mean washing and cutting lettuce or chopping veggies for a stir fry.
This is a wonderful strategy to remove that oh so pesky barrier that stands in the way of healthy eating: lack of time. So the next time you’re running late from a meeting at the end of the day, no problem! Preparing your ingredients in advance will reduce your cook time so you can be eating a delicious and nutritious meal in no time. TIP: Cook a larger portion so you can use leftovers for lunch the next day.
Visit our resources page for a free menu planner template to help you get started right away!
3. Set Goals With a Buddy
Finding the motivation to eat well when you’re working from home can be tough. Especially if you are feeling overworked and there is a convenient frozen pizza and a Netflix binge calling your name. More than that, our lack of social interaction with work peers has denied us of our walking meetings, fitness buddies, strolls to get coffee and more. See if you can connect with a colleague, friend, family member, or health professional to be a “health buddy”. You can set goals together which serves as some accountability and motivation. Some examples of things you can do with a health buddy include:
→ Make a deal that you’ll both do X amount of activity in the week and then check in with each other
→ Set a virtual date to workout together
→ Set a water goal and message one another through the day each time you finish a glass
→ Promise to include a vegetable or a fruit at every main meal
If you are a person who misses your regular social life and thrives in group classes, then this strategy could be useful for you! With a little time and encouragement, the buddy system can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle even while working at home. If you’re interested in a Registered Dietitian as your “health buddy”, contact us, we love to help!