By Livia Marati, for Pacific Daily News

Published 3:57 a.m. ChT June 15, 2021

SHUT DOWN

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Pacific Daily News

In our pre-pandemic life, we were able to close our laptops, log off, and go home to take a break from the workday. With the home serving many uses today – the office, the classroom, the gym, and the place to relax – it is critical to productivity to create a space that supports both mental and physical wellbeing.

When I work with my health coaching clients, we research how to develop healthy, consistent lifestyle habits. Whether it is about restarting physical activity or developing a mindful morning routine, many of our habits start with our surroundings at home.

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As we explore ways to improve your workplace from home, let’s look at three basic areas first:

  1. Comfort – How comfortable do you feel in your current setup? Assessing the ergonomics of your workplace is one way to ensure that your work day doesn’t end with constant pain. Depending on the adjustments that need to be made, you may want to consider investing in a desk, desk chair, laptop riser, or footrest.
  2. Lighting – Do your eyes feel tight all the time? While plenty of natural light is ideal, it may not always be possible at home. Instead, consider putting up a desk lamp and buying blue-light glasses that will filter out blue light from digital screens.
  3. Limits – Can you “switch off” after your working day? If you have a separate work space, I recommend closing the door at the end of the work day. If you are currently using your kitchen table as a desk, consider creating a ritual where you physically move your laptop and supplies to another room at the end of the day. As you would normally commute to work, I recommend creating a transition between the start and end of the work day by changing your space.

Adding greenery to your home can help your mental well-being during the work day, according to holistic health trainer Livia Marati. (Photo: Courtesy Livia Marati)

The 5 best wellness tips

After you’ve evaluated your work from home, it is time to think about ways to support your mental wellbeing during the work day. Here are my top 5 wellness tips for working from home:

  1. Drink Up – Alongside your morning coffee or drink of your choice, hydration is key. Invest in a large bottle of plain water so you can visually see how much water you are drinking. I also recommend setting goals and reminders throughout the day (either with an alarm clock or through an app like My Water Balance).
  2. Increase your mood – Certain scents such as lemon, peppermint or rosemary can have an energizing effect and promote concentration. Experiment with turning on an aromatherapy diffuser or lighting a scented candle in the morning to increase alertness when you start your work day.
  3. Get Some Green – Being in nature can stimulate our creative juices. If you don’t have a view of the ocean or the jungle, I recommend adding a variety of air-purifying houseplants to brighten up your home office space.
  4. Turn the tunes on – Spotify has a wide variety of work-related and focused playlists to choose from. If you’re looking for background noise for deep concentration work, try listening to binaural beats, which can help reduce stress and improve memory.
  5. Deliberate pauses – Keep an alarm clock or clock nearby. One of my top recommendations is to build enough time without a screen throughout the day. This can be a short walk to get some fresh air, sit down and mindfully have lunch, or do a quick midday meditation.

Focus on the silver lining

While working from home has its own set of challenges, there are some silver linings on the horizon. Limited face-to-face interaction means teams around the world are improving their virtual communication in new and engaging ways. Less time in the car commuting to work also means you’ll finally make it to that earlier workout class.

Once you’ve got used to the new normal of working from home, or if you’re a small business owner and this is standard, feel free to explore ways to freshen up your space that also aid your holistic wellbeing.

Livia Marati is a holistic health trainer for women and founder of Ina Wellness Collective. You can send her questions and comments to livia@inawellnesscollective.com.

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