Looking After Your Body While Working From Home – A Survival Guide for Remote Workers

The pandemic has shaken the world and thrown our lives out of gear. The changing dynamics worldwide have affected everything – right from our lifestyles to our work culture. Remote work-from-home jobs have become the new norm, an alternative to working in closeted office spaces.

While working from home may seem convenient – even ideal – to many, it has its challenges.

Less exercise and only minor body movements during these times lead to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Obesity is rising among populations. Even younger demographics have been impacted, with a marked 2% increase in childhood obesity in the pandemic’s initial months. Studies have shown that those who are obese or overweight have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and other diseases like lung disease, diabetes, and heart ailments.

Apart from this, a sedentary lifestyle can affect the body in multiple ways, like losing muscle strength and endurance. As the muscles remain underused, bones tend to lose mineral content and metabolism is reduced, resulting in a less efficient breakdown of sugars and fats. Poor blood circulation, increased inflammation in the body, altered immune system functioning, and increased risk of hormonal imbalance are some of the ripple effects. 

Lifestyle changes to counter side effects of a sedentary lifestyle

Self-care to improve health and well-being is essential during these times. These self-care practices can be simple lifestyle changes in your daily routine or a deeper overhaul of negative habits.


  • Switch to healthy ways of eating and avoid unhealthy snacks like fried food and carbonated drinks between meals. 
  • Follow an exercise regimen.
  • Set a routine.
  • Establish a network of friends who can remind you to stay on track or accompany you in achieving your goals. 
  • Take occasional breaks from work during the day.
  • Maintain a regular sleep pattern.
  • Keep the house and work area organised. 
  • Reduce stress through various ways, such as meditation.
  • Maintain proper communication channels to prevent miscommunication and emotional stress.
  •  Set clear boundaries between work and family. 

Switch to healthy eating habits

Stress at work prompts one to binge on sugary, high-calorie food, which enhances the feel-good factor and gives a sudden spurt of energy. Sugary food generates dopamine, which activates the brain's pleasure centres. Moreover, elevated cortisol levels due to stress lead to an increase in appetite.

Consuming high-calorie foods makes one prone to developing insulin resistance, resulting in diabetes. The fats in these items also clog the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis and stroke in extreme cases.

Instead, incorporate some healthy foods gradually into your daily diet:

  •  Fruits and vegetables
  •  Sprouts
  •  Vegetarian and vegan food
  •  Probiotic food
  •  Millets

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide you with all the required vitamins, vegetables, and essential minerals like potassium, folate, and vitamin C. Moreover, their roughage ensures that the bowels and gut remain healthy.


Sprouts such as green gram and alfalfa serve as excellent sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and essential amino acids. They are often termed ‘functional foods’. Beyond providing basic nutritional value, these foods positively affect your health. 

Vegetarian and vegan food

Vegetarian food is low in monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. It helps reduce cancer risk and promote bone health. Vegan food is free from animal protein and animal-derived products. The nutrients in fresh vegetables and fruits, fibre, and legumes in vegan diets can lower the risk of heart disease, protect against certain cancers, and aid weight loss. Well-planned vegan diets also are more effective in reducing blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetics.

Probiotic food

Probiotic food contains live beneficial bacteria. The relationship between gut health and mental health is well-established through studies. Yoghurt is a readily available probiotic food that helps add good bacteria to your intestinal microbiome and maintain good gut health.


Millets are readily available, nutritionally dense food. They are rich in dietary soluble and insoluble fibre. The insoluble fibre in millets serves as a ‘prebiotic’, which feeds and supports good intestinal bacteria’s growth. 

Maintaining an exercise regimen

To remain healthy and fit, you must commit to some form of daily exercise, especially while working from home. Activities like yoga help keep your body – especially the bones – fit and the mind healthy. Pranayama, the art of controlling the breath, works wonders on the mind. Yogic poses such as suryanamaskar have a holistic effect on the body. Here is a list of poses and exercises worth adding to your daily movement regimen.

Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose

Long hours of sitting generally lead to back problems. Bhujangasana is a yogic pose that helps stretch the entire upper body and strengthen the back muscles. It relieves the tightness in the shoulders and relieves back pain and upper body soreness. This pose has to be done slowly – avoid sudden, jerking movements. 

Shalabhasana or Locust Pose 

Shalabhasana is a backward asana. The final pose looks like a locust, hence the name. It strengthens the pelvic organs, arms, lower back, and hip joint. It helps soothe the sciatic nerves in those with mild sciatica, relieves backache, strengthens abdominal muscles, and stimulates appetite.

Besides these, yoga poses like Saddle Pose, Pigeon Pose, and Lizard Pose help counter the ill effects of long hours of sitting by engaging the quads, flexors, and glutes.


Eye exercises

Long hours of work at a computer strain the eyes. Eye exercises like focus exercise, 20-20-20 rule, and Figure 8 help keep your eye muscles strong by letting you rest your eyes.


Wrist exercises

The wrist also gets strained during long hours at the computer. Wrist exercises like rotating them clockwise and anticlockwise and flexing help.

Reducing stress 

Stress due to work is an invitation for many diseases, as they are inter-connected. Being organised and systematic in your daily routine is a basic step to help prevent stress. However, looking into the reasons for stress and taking measures to address them is even more crucial.

Meditation is a time-tested technique that helps relieve stress and keep one calm even in times of external turmoil. Pranayama exercises like bhastrika and kapalbhati increase vitality and keep you energetic and stress-free.

Consuming food rich in antioxidants

Normal metabolic processes generate free radicals, which cause oxidative stress in the body and damage cells. External factors like smoking and radiation also promote free radicals. When left unchecked, free radical damage can lead to cancer, heart disease, etc. Consuming antioxidant-rich food minimises oxidative stress by counteracting free radicals.

Vitamins C, E, and A and plant-based products like phenols, tannins, flavonoids, and lignins work as antioxidants. Moringa powder and amla powder are the richest sources of antioxidants, which are readily available. A diet including antioxidants can help you build better immunity in the long run.

During these changing times when working from home is becoming the new norm, we must be mindful about following time-tested methods diligently. Self-care should include both grounding practices as well as nourishment of our bodies with the right food and movement. This will be instrumental in eliminating the long-lasting effects of stress.