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How Working at Home Can Yield a Healthy Lifestyle

It’s been nearly three years since I started working from home. It’s a career change that has been all for the better for me, and one that has allowed me to love my job more than any I’ve ever had, and also enjoy my life more than any job has ever allowed me to do. A combination of this job, editor for DietsInReview.com, and the information I’m inundated with day in and day out, plus being at home, has allowed me during the past three years to really reprioritize my health.

How so? You can’t edit, read and research dozens of health, fitness and weight articles a day and not take a second look at yourself, the food in your pantry and how many hours you spend comatose in front of a TV. Also, being at home for the majority of my day and week means I have more flexibility to do the things that are really imperative to living a healthier lifestyle.

As the number of work-at-home business owners and professionals continue to increase, and the trend becomes a mainstay, I thought I’d share a few tips, tricks and secrets for doing so successfully, and using it as an opportunity to overhaul your health while reinventing your career. These are all things I’ve done myself that I hope you find helpful, too.

1. Create Boundaries. Your entire home cannot be your work space and your work space cannot be your home. Dedicate a room, a space or table where you work. This will help your brain feel like you’ve arrived at or left work. Don’t take your laptop to your bedroom, kitchen or family room – protect these living spaces so you don’t carry work anxieties and burdens with you.

2. Maintain a Schedule. Get up in the morning with the to-do list of someone facing rush hour, but without the stress. Shower, shave, dress and eat as if you were walking out the door, then make the simple commute down the hall to your office, with a home-brewed cup of coffee in hand.

3. Stock the Kitchen. You’ll eliminate the excuses you’ve created for hitting a drive-thru every day for lunch when your kitchen is steps away. You’re also free from the monotony of sandwiches and frozen dinners. Prepare an entree salad, make a quesadilla, or whip up a quick stir-fry – these are all options that can be made fresh at home in minutes and save you calories and cash.

4. Drink on the Job. True, you might be able to sneak in a happy hour, but what I’m talking about is water. Your kitchen sink or water filter is closer than ever and that means you can stay hydrated. No coins for calorie-filled soda necessary.

5. Avoid the Calorie Trap. If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it or drink it. Don’t buy cookies, sodas, frozen pizza and other junk foods that you know you won’t exercise self-control around. Instead, stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy snacks like raw nuts, hummus, yogurt, whole grain crackers and cheese sticks. You don’t have to worry about a cooler or travel, nor messy clean-up at your desk!

6. Get up and Move. Instead of hanging out in the break room, take a walk around the neighborhood. Whether 10 minutes or 30 minutes, squeeze in any extra time you have. It will get you out of the house, enjoy some fresh air and elevate that heart rate. If you don’t have time to shower when you get back, who’s going to know? Sit on a fit ball at your desk, or put the laptop on a tall counter or bar and stand – there are many ways to work while you work!

What I’ve learned about working at home is it eliminates a lot of excuses that we were married to when we worked outside of the home. You didn’t eat breakfast because you didn’t have time before work. Now you can make a veggie egg white scramble in minutes and eat it at your desk. You went to a restaurant everyday for lunch because your co-workers did. Now you can prepare anything you want in your own kitchen. You didn’t have time for soccer practice and ballet recitals. Now your flexible schedule allows you to put in more hours where it matters most.

Do you work at home? What do you do to stay healthy on the job?

October 6th, 2010

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