Stress Awareness Month: How to Stay Balanced While Working From Home

Given our new reality of working from home, it's understandably difficult — but oh so important — to manage stress and maintain a sense of work-life balance. With April serving as Stress Awareness Month, let’s take a look at some activities you can integrate into your daily routine to deal with stress.

Body

Exercise is a vital component of maintaining a healthy body. In fact, the CDC recommends 150-minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75-minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination, per week for adults. While we’re not currently able to head out to our favorite yoga or spin classes, that doesn’t mean there are no options for staying active. You can work out from the comfort of your living room floor with live, online fitness classes, which are available from major gyms across the country like Planet Fitness and Equinox. You can also find free streaming workouts available on sites like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook Live. If you’re not up for a heavy duty sweat session, take a break from work to enjoy a walk around the neighborhood or ride your bike on a local path. Not only is exercise vital for your physical well-being, like your muscle and bone health, but it can significantly improve your mood. 

What you put into your body is also very important as you work from home. With a cabinet of treats calling your name all day long, it can be a challenge to refrain from snacking throughout the workday. Instead of depriving yourself, focus on fresh fruits and vegetables. While doing a full grocery shop has gotten particularly challenging these days, you can still get most of the things you need, even if it takes a little bit longer. Consider supporting your local farms by ordering online from your neighborhood market. Not only does it benefit local agriculture, but the delivery option will save you the hassle of heading out to the store. 

Mind

It’s no secret that maintaining your mental health, particularly during a stressful period, is essential to our everyday lives. While it’s important to stay informed and educated about the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a constant stream of social media and television news can also mess with your head. Nonstop fear and anxiety are beneficial to no one. It’s vital we find tools that make dealing with stress and anxiety manageable. Whether it’s practicing transcendental meditation, or just having a catchup session with a friend over the phone, we all need methods to clear our minds during challenging times. For many people, that’s getting out into our natural surroundings. That idea also has the scientific evidence to back it up; Harvard researchers have found that time in nature has a calming effect and reduces anxiety.

As a large portion of the American workforce is working from home, institutions like museums and national parks are joining in to provide a sense of solace. Google now lets you explore United States national parks with 360-degree virtual tours, allowing you to check out the Hawaiian volcanoes or crystal blue waters off the coast of Florida, all without leaving your couch. It may not be your ideal travel experience, but at least it’s free! You can even tour an art museum online, or learn how to decoupage. If you want to be really proactive, you can use this time to pick up a new skill. You can learn how to code via Khan Academy, or pick up a second language with sites like Duolingo.

As we navigate the workplace amidst a pandemic, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. By integrating proper self-care methods into our daily routines, we can maintain a sense of normalcy during this challenging time. Whether it’s taking a twenty-minute yoga break or sitting down to do a guided meditation before a long work call, being on top of your game professionally means dedicating some time to your body and mind too. 

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