The work-from-home (WFH) phenomenon, that became common amid the COVID-19 pandemic, changed the way we did things before. The trend not only disrupted the work-life balance for many but also created a stressful environment at most homes. “When the pandemic struck, most people didn’t even have seating arrangements suitable for long working hours, and it affected the physical and mental well-being of home workers. Hence, health complaints — chiefly relating to aches — developed due to the said conditions and has now become an endemic of massive proportions for WFH workers. Now currently in the hybrid mode of work, it is important to balance our health with both the models,” said Dr Deepak Mittal, Founder, Divine Soul Yoga.
Why is WFH ache-central?
Offices are planned and built to support work for hours on end with designated workstations; WFH is not. “The first thing to go when you’re working at home is your posture. While at office, there’re ergonomic chairs to support your back, at home several of us are parked at our dining, beds or study table-chair sets, neither of which supports your back and the tables are too high or low to work comfortably at—so pains of the back (41.2% of home workers complain of low back pain), shoulder, neck (23.5% of home workers complain of it) as also dry eye syndrome and other issues, text neck syndrome, stress headaches, and the resultant weight gain are very common. This is all of this adding up to a WFH breakdown,” he explained.
The shift to WFH is disconcerting; approximately 19% of home workers reported chronic feelings of extreme isolation and loneliness, which cause deterioration of mental well being. In addition, workloads have increased leading to frequent bouts of anxiety, stress and burnouts.
How alternative therapies help
Alternative therapies like yoga and meditation along with eating superfoods soothe our minds and body. “Getting in touch with your personal peace and combining that to a healthy diet along with adequate amounts of rest and sleep is what will turn around a breakdown into a mental breakthrough,” he said.
Easy tips on dealing with WFH fatigue
WFH fatigue is real, so here are some simple tips to beat it.
Practice mindfulness: Stay in the moment; when you stay attentive to your current circumstances it’s unlikely that thoughts of the past or future can stress you.
Take breaks: Eye doctors say take a break for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of work. Just like that, take a mental vacation from your present circumstances every now and then—you will find that when you return, you’re feeling so refreshed.
Dedicate a separate area for your workstation: When the lockdowns were announced, many people would wake up and log in to work from their beds. It was noted that these people were also the ones who complained of major insomniac episodes. This happened because their minds were confused about what to associate the bed with—work or sleep. Hence, try to have a small dedicated place of work, which’s far away from your sleeping chambers and comfortable at the same time.
Practice meditation, Pranayama and Yoga: You’ll find nothing better than these three factors to help you calm and soothe your mind and align it with inner peace. Simple practice like Surya Namaskar can strengthen bones, fight insomnia, bring down blood sugar levels and improve metabolism & blood circulation.
Consume Superfoods: Balanced and nutritious foods not only keep you healthy but also improve your productivity. Do not skip your food, eat on time and eat healthy snacks. Sabja Seeds, Flax seeds, Ginger, turmeric & berries are some of the superfoods which can be consumed for healthy bones & balanced mind.
“WFH fatigue and breakdowns are the new normal, so we should ensure that we make the alternative therapies that work best on them part of our regime. These therapies will enhance the mind’s interaction with body function and help you relax and enhance the body’s power to heal it,” he concluded.