Adam has been working from home (WFH) for over ten weeks. His job has kept him busy — he has worked through full days and evenings of video meetings, conference calls, email, and texts. He’s done a great job of leading his team remotely and staying on top of some important organizational initiatives and special projects.
After almost three months of WFH, however, instead of feeling good about his accomplishments Adam is feeling more and more stressed out. Edgy. Tired. Unenthusiastic. What’s going on?
Without realizing it, Adam’s overall well-being is suffering. He’s dealt with weeks of personal and professional disruption. He’s been working from a make-shift office in the bedroom with poor ergonomics and lighting. There’s been little distinction between work time and play time. Adam’s wife is working within earshot in the dining room. And for over 10 weeks, the refrigerator and the TV have been way too easy to reach.
Adam needs a WFH wellness plan! As executive coaches, we know from experience that in order to develop your skills as a leader or effective team member, you need to take care of yourself first. Being mindful about your own physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing is the foundation upon which leadership and team performance skills are built.
Here are five wellness hacks: easy-but-meaningful things Adam can do right now to improve his health and well-being:
Take Short Breaks
Without a work break, your capacity to reason and your ability to stay focused simply wears down. Taking a break means getting your mind off your work and thinking about something else. Without breaks, studies show that “decision fatigue” sets in. It results in procrastination and in making choices based on what requires the least amount of mental effort in that moment.
Taking a regular break and getting your mind off your work renews your willpower, refreshes your ability to focus on challenging projects, and revives your capacity to make well-considered decisions.
It’s easy to lose track of time. Sitting for long periods increases the risk of depression, obesity, diabetes, and more. Physical movement, even for 5 minutes, will help alleviate these issues. Walk, stretch, do some stairs, take a yoga break — literally anything that gets muscles moving and blood flowing will enhance your health and wellbeing.
We all know that our bodies and minds are closely connected. Studies also demonstrate that the way you move — e.g., briskly and energetically — affects your overall mood, your motivation, and the way you think through your work.
Drink Plenty of Water
You don’t need an extra cup of coffee or an energy drink to get through the day. Drinking water is a natural fatigue-fighter and energy-booster. Staying hydrated helps your body operate at peak efficiency in many ways.
Simple, clean, fresh water helps carry nutrients to your cells, keeps your joints flexible, regulates your body temperature, prevents infection, and helps the liver and kidneys rid your body of toxins. Yay water!
Work from home has made us more connected than ever. In the WFH world especially, our devices are a 24/7 siren song, seeking our constant attention. Being “on” all the time increases stress and the risk of depression. It wears us out. Using devices late at night can also result in sleep disorders.
Something as simple as turning all devices off for an hour during dinner will help you recharge intellectually and emotionally. Unplugging will help strengthen your personal relationships, and studies show that it fosters emotional intelligence.
Unplugging will also help you be more mindful and present in the moment — whether that moment is strategic thinking about an important business decision, or cooking dinner with your children.
Get Enough Sleep
A good night’s sleep is magic. It helps improve your memory and increases your ability to understand and work through new information. When you sleep well, you tend to be less hungry during the day and your immune system works more effectively.
Studies also show that one of the things your brain does while you are sleeping is process your emotions. Your brain takes this quiet time to reflect on your emotions and think through a proper response. People who don’t get enough sleep tend to have more negative emotional reactions. So, in the rush to handle all your work responsibilities, take care of the house, deal with your children, and binge-watch your favorite show, don’t shortchange your need for mentally, physically, and emotionally restorative sleep.
To learn more about how executive coaching can enhance your wellbeing and build your leadership skills, contact Arden Coaching at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.