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During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are spending more time at home than ever. There are less opportunities to go out to eat and shop, and many people will be working from home for the foreseeable future.

Working from home is full of distractions, stressors and the urge to snack, but this doesn’t mean your health has to suffer. You can use this time to practice healthy habits that will improve both your physical and mental health.

Here’s some tips to establish a new, healthy routine:

Stay active, even when you’re on the clock

It’s important to increase your activity during the day. Take every opportunity to move while you work. When you can, attend meetings, read emails or listen to webinars on your mobile device when you are walking outside, on a treadmill or stretching major muscle groups.

Take timed breaks. Make sure you are taking at least 1 to 2 minute breaks for every hour of sitting. Remind yourself to get up and walk or stretch by setting an alarm on your phone.

You can also make a standing desk to break up the amount of time you spend sitting. You can use boxes or books to add height to your current desk, or top a table with a small end table to create an eye-level desk. A permanent standing desk can also be made by anchoring a shelf at standing height.

Engage in daily physical activity

Do at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every day. So you don’t get bored, vary your activities—walk, hike, jog or bike. If you are still not comfortable going to the gym, you can take a livestream group class or find exercise videos online.  The Physical Activity Alliance has compiled a list of resources where you can find free activities to do at home.

No weights at home? No problem. You can use household items to train with, like full water bottles, canned foods or laundry detergent.

To make sure you stay accountable, set exercise goals. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends you get 150 minutes of physical activity every week. 

Hydrate and Eat Smart

Try and stick with a routine eating plan. Instead of snacking throughout the day, eat a balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner with a few healthy snacks in between. Eat your meals away from your desk; taking a lunch break allows you to eat without distractions.

It is generally recommended to drink eight cups of water a day. Use a refillable water bottle to monitor your water intake to keep yourself on track.

Healthy eating is easier when you get the whole family involved. Make meal planning a family affair and teach your children how to read recipes, create grocery lists and plan meals. Keep the refrigerator organized and stocked with healthy food for everyone in the house and put unhealthy snacks and sweets out of sight.