5 Work From Home Self-Care Tips to Survive the COVID-19 Outbreak

A hand with meditation sign and a laptop in the background

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to transition from working at the office to now working from home. This can be stressful, impacting both your physical and mental health but with a little self-care perspective, you can stay healthy and productive in your work.

Here are a few work from home self-care tips to keep in mind during the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. Eat Healthy Foods

Make sure to emphasize a healthy diet; it’s natural to “stress eat” tasty comfort foods, but what you consume affects your body’s ability to prevent and fight infections. Limit your intake of sugary foods and beverages, refined carbs, and processed foods made elsewhere; eat more vegetables, a moderate amount of fresh fruit, and proteins that you prep ideally from scratch. Stay hydrated by drinking enough water (aim for just under half your bodyweight poundage, in ounces of water daily).

Healthy foods can strengthen your immune system and provide nourishment for consistent energy levels. Having a healthy diet can also reduce your risk of developing (or worsening) other health conditions, including asthma, allergies, diabetes, heart problems, and obesity.

For Type 2 Diabetics, please check out our low-carb, diabetic breakfast ideas the will help you stay healthy and step up for work on time.

2. Exercise On A Daily Basis

Aim for getting out of bed and off your seat in any way you can, for at least 30 minutes each day. For wellness, simple exercises are fine: walking, hiking, biking, jogging, gardening, and stretching have been shown to reduce all-cause mortality risks. The effects are even greater if you include a strength training component a few times each week.

Regular activity can benefit your body by improving your muscle strength, balance, immunity, flexibility, and fitness as well as reducing depression and stress. Exercising can relax your mind, refresh your mood, and – as long as you observe social distancing and use a mask if near others – decrease your susceptibility to COVID-19.

3. Have a Consistent Sleep Pattern

Sleep for at least 8 hours every night, full stop, mic drop, walk away. You can store extra calories as fat in case of starvation (ha), but no organism on earth can store sleep, and there’s a reason even predators and prey in the wild need to sleep when they could otherwise be hunting or hiding – it’s THAT critical to optimal survival. Do not work or watch movies late into the night and avoid blue-light emitting smartphone and tablet screens close to bedtime, as they emit light frequencies that trick your brain into thinking it’s midday.

A lack of sleep or insomnia can contribute to heart problems, high blood pressure, immunity impairment, diabetes, and has been implicated in Alzheimer’s dementia (President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher were well known for their contempt of sleep sufficiency). A lack of sleep can at a minimum decrease your concentration, thus making you less productive at work, while also increasing your susceptibility to the coronavirus. Learn more about how you can prevent insomnia.

4. Limit TV/Social Media Content Consumption

While it is important to have accurate information about the coronavirus pandemic, binging on news 24/7 can be stressful. Limit your exposure to social media and other forms of media content; with the exception of cute kittens and puppies, what drives the new cycle is crisis and worry – what makes you gather round the all-knowing authority of news and information, for more news and information. “If it bleeds, it leads” is a prescription for selling more newspapers and obsessing over the next news release, not emotional balance and calm. If stories increase your perceptions of threat more than they provide useful information, they can lead to physical and mental health problems like anxiety, depression, insomnia and heart disease, and how many of us have resorted to stress eating or giving up on workouts when we were “too stressed” to do anything but hunker down?

To help prevent distress caused by TV/media content, you should:

  • Limit your daily consumption of news/social media – consider 1 hour per day, max.
  • Again, ask yourself: Am I learning something useful that I can apply, and that I feel more secure having acted on afterwards? Or did it reinforce my biases, and make me feel more anxious, stressed, angry, or disgusted? Jettison the latter.
  • Consider diversifying your news portfolio. Check out news outlets from Europe or Asia.
  • Try to access news sources that are relatively free from political bias, realizing that all media outlets have a “slant” and all will do things to make you tune in again for more.
  • Contact your healthcare providers to learn more about all things COVID-19.

5. Take Frequent Breaks

Taking short breaks between your work schedules is important for your physical and emotional health. Working continuously can lead to all the health issues discussed above, especially when it’s from a seated position all day long. Taking even a 10-minute break can refresh your mind, reactivate your muscles and circulation, and help you stay creative and productive.

You can use your break times to prepare or eat a healthy lunch, meditate, exercise, go for a short walk, or engage in a self-care activity.

Following these tips will help you stay active and healthy during this uncertain time. However, if you need any help, you can always contact us to schedule telehealth or in-person visit.

Learn More: Telehealth Video Visits During COVID-19: All You Need to Know

Category: Coronavirus


Peter Kim, MD

Dr. Kim,  is the Medical Director of Family Care Centers, Former Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Hoag Hospital, and a recipient of the Physicians of Excellence award from the Orange County Medical Association. He is Board Certified in Family Medicine, and has been practicing in our community for over 20 years. He is an excellent, caring, and well­qualified physician who is dedicated to providing you with superior health care. A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from UCLA and received his medical training at the LAC­USC Medical Center. After completing his residency in Family Medicine, he accepted a sports medicine fellowship at San Jose Medical Center, an affiliate of Stanford University. He enjoys working with patients and families who are training or want to get back into an active lifestyle. Review Dr. Kim on: Facebook Google+ Yelp WebMD

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