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Tips to Boost Health When Working from Home Becomes Permanent

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So, we’re more than a year and counting into the pandemic and many of us have found ourselves for better or worse in a “work-from-home” situation that’s become permanent, which on the positive side, finds many of us becoming increasingly more adept and agile in utilizing technology to conduct our day-to-day business. However, there are many that may now be struggling with work-life balance and safeguarding our health.

Joining us today is Mihaela Vincze, public health expert for nonprofit Transamerica Institute®, and she’s here to discuss methods to boost health while working from home. So, to start off what are some specific strategies that you’d advise folks to pursue?

Mihaela Vincze:

Great question. When people work from home, the lines between their work responsibilities and home life can blur. For this reason, it may be helpful to set space boundaries, including having a separate workspace. It’s also a great idea to establish a daily work schedule. When you prioritize work-life balance, you’ll have more time to focus on activities that can positively impact your health.

Al Waller:

Well, Mihaela, I think you might be on to something since so many have a hard time creating a division between work and home life and in many cases, some can find themselves plugged in 24/7. I mean talk about a recipe for burn-out, right?

Well, what else would you suggest for our listeners?

Mihaela Vincze:

Working remotely can make it more difficult for people to connect with others, including their co-workers, and on a personal level—socialization, which is vitally important, may take additional effort. A 2017 study published by researchers at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that individuals aged 80 and over with the mental agility of 50-year-olds all had a close-knit group of friends.

Al Waller:

Well…true, I mean with the pandemic and social distancing requirements, there are many who may have fallen into a lifestyle that really doesn’t provide for regular socialization, especially for those living alone or without family under the same roof.

But now given this awareness, that strong social networks are actually linked to slower cognitive decline, I’m thinking all of us might be wise to make some form of socialization more of a priority.

Mihaela Vincze:

Good idea! On top of social isolation, working from home makes it a lot easier to be sedentary because we’re not getting the incidental exercise of travelling to and from work and walking around the office. A sedentary lifestyle is linked with cardiovascular disease, anxiety and depression, according to the World Health Organization. Try to set time aside everyday to engage in physical activity like going for a walk or run, and better yet, invite a loved one to join you.

Al Waller:

Exactly…and with so many walking around sporting those “COVID-19 LB’s” they’ve gained, these are all great incentives for making time for employing strategies to boost our health both mentally and physically. So, any final observations before we wrap things up?

Mihaela Vincze:

I’ll leave you with this thought: Consider developing consistent habits around the health promoting routines you wish to incorporate in your life-- versus establishing harsh rules which can discourage you. For more ideas, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Working from Home: How to Optimize Your Work Environment and Stay Healthy page.

Al Waller:

Sounds good. I agree the carrot versus the stick is a better tool for behavior modification. And let’s just say, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being kind to ourselves especially in these challenging times.

Well, once again, great advice all around from Mihaela Vincze! It looks like we’re out of time. So, thanks again for joining us.

This has been another episode of ClearPath – Your Roadmap to Health & Wealth. I’m your host Al Waller on WYPR, Your NPR News Station. Until the next time, thanks for listening.

Cleapath is paid for by Transamerica Institute.

Al Waller is a long time native of the Baltimore area. He entered the field of Human Resources Management starting as an HR Generalist with PwC (Pricewaterhouse-Coopers). This marked the beginning of a 30 year career that advanced into the management level for locally and globally based corporations. His primary area of expertise has focused on but not limited to: Talent Acquisition /Retention, Employee Relations as well as Training & Development.