Boost energy levels while working at home

October 15, 2020 5 min read

Working at home

How not to do it: Sit at a desk if you can, in a space in your home dedicated to working. (Unsplashphoto by Dillon Shook)

 

If you need to boost your energy levels while working from home, where so many people are working now, health experts have several strategies.

When the coronavirus pandemic first hit, and businesses started shutting down not long after, some people were out of work altogether. But the lucky ones kept working, many from home.

"Woohoo!" they might have thought. And many still are happy about working from home. (Some people are rethinking home work after all these months of it, though.)

At home, you could have a video meeting with the team, with the CEO sitting in his home, on camera, and you hungover, in your business suit top and pajama bottoms and slippers, farting silently, with a martini in your coffee mug, and pretending intense interest.

Envelope, please. And the Oscar goes to!

One way to boost energy is to avoid excessive drinking. So maybe in this scenario above you cut out the martinis. That very well may cure the gas problem, too.

I'm just kidding around. If you are behaving like that, you are going about it all wrong. Cut the whole scenario.

Seriously, How Do You Boost Energy?

Instyle online has an article [1] that gives very practical advice on how to keep your energy levels up when your bedroom is just feet away, and you could go in there, lie down, and take a nap instead of generating a new report for some unappreciative boss who may only skim it.

  • Nerina Ramlakhan, Ph.D., a sleep therapist quoted by Instyle, says: "Eat breakfast within 30 to 45 minutes of waking up. This will help stabilize your blood sugar – and maintain energy – throughout the morning. Avoid overly sugary cereals and include protein in your breakfast to avoid a blood sugar spike and subsequent crash.” Eat enough protein, fiber, fruit, and vegetables. Take your vitamins.
  • Sleep on a regular schedule. “Get up at approximately the same time every day,” chartered psychologist Lindsay Browning tells Instyle. “Even though you may not have to get up to go into the office, keep setting your alarm to help your body know when the start of the day is.”
  • Keep hydrated. You might be tempted to drink coffee all day, but some people say it is better to get your fluids in plain water. You can take Viter Energy Mints [2] with B vitamins and caffeine that will give you an energy boost plus freshen your breath. One mint has 40 mg of caffeine, so 2 mints are equal in caffeine to a cup of coffee.
  • As we mentioned, do not drink alcohol to excess, and do not drink on the job.
  • Break up your day. Get outside and walk around. Pet the dog or cat for a while. Stretch. Every 90 minutes, get up from the computer and take a short break.
  • Get plenty of exercise. While gyms are open in some states, it may be better to go for a brisk walk or do an online workout given the pandemic. Healthline has some suggestions on ways to build muscle without weights in this article [3]. A Google search for "Work out without weights at home" [4] lists many, many sites.
This video gives an explanation of why you get burned out, and how to avoid it. 

Set Time and Space Boundaries

As we said in this Viter Energy blog [5] about the work-life balance, it's a good idea to simulate your commute to work. You don't have to drive in to work, so instead take a walk around the block just before your workday starts and just after it ends. Send yourself a psychological signal.

And if you can avoid it, do not work after your walk around the block. Don't check work email. Don't answer calls from co-workers unless you really need to talk to them (or they are friends you socialize with).

Clinical psychologist Kelcey Stratton of Michigan Health Blog [6] has some sound advice on finding the right time to work:

If you’re a morning person, try to schedule important work and meetings during the first half of the day. Others may peak with energy in the afternoon. Depending on the type of job you have, try to maximize on these levels as you can.

If you have room, set up an office and work in it, not in bed, not at the dining room table, not on the living room couch. If you don't have a dedicated office space, designate your work area and stick to it. It will help you set boundaries and draw a line between your private and work lives. 

What about Video Meetings?

If you have video meetings, you want to look good and look professional. Dressing up simulates the work environment, which many experts say you should do. But people seem to be running into Zoom burnout. 

In April 2020, a BBC Science Focus article [7] advised more video meetings with your co-workers to get a little face time and dispel the loneliness.

By September, the University of Michigan health blog advised fewer video meetings and more phone calls.

Michigan Health says:

'It’s a nice refresher to just focus on someone’s voice and interact in that way instead. It’s a different task for our brains,' [clinical psychologist Kelcey] Stratton says. 'During video calls we’re constantly splitting our attention. We’re not focusing on one person speaking, we’re looking at all these different screens. We’re also monitoring how we look and what’s in our background, which is different than before.

Conclusion

The 1918 flu epidemic lasted for nearly 2 years. The Black Plague of the 1300s lasted for five years. So we may be in for a long haul with the coronavirus epidemic.

The University of Michigan Health Blog says some people are rethinking how wonderful working from home is:

At first, the set up may have sounded ideal: no commute, sweat pants all day and a break from heading into the office. But as the pandemic lingers, with no definitive end in sight, fatigue and burnout have surfaced as an important issues affecting many remote employees.

If you would rather be at your place of unemployment than working at home, just thank your lucky stars you have a job. Also be thankful if you are working but would rather be working at home. Some people are out of work altogether and would gladly be in your shoes.

[1] https://www.instyle.com/beauty/health-fitness/coronavirus-exhaustion-working-from-home

[2] https://amzn.to/3lhoBz2

[3] https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-nutrition/no-weight-workout#Combine-56-of-these-exercises-to-make-one-challenging-routine:

[4] https://www.google.com/search?q=workout+without+weights+at+home&oq=workout+without+weights+at+home&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l7.3997j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

[5] https://www.goviter.com/blogs/viter-energy-blog/how-to-manage-work-life-balance-during-covid-19

[6] https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/health-management/6-ways-to-relieve-your-work-from-home-fatigue

Mark Miller
Mark Miller



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