This year certainly hasn’t been what anyone expected. From new social distancing protocols to travel advisories, the COVID-19 pandemic has quickly ushered in a new normal. Masks became a regularity, public gatherings became a rarity and public health quickly became the utmost priority.
As a byproduct of this year’s many safety protocols, countless offices and workspaces transitioned to a work-from-home setting, prioritizing virtual meetings and isolated, in-home offices over public gatherings. And to be sure, working from home undoubtedly offers its perks. Employees working from home have experienced greater daily flexibility of schedule, not to mention an easing in dress code for any individual who before adhered to more of a strict in-office business wardrobe regimen.
However, working from home has also come with its drawbacks. From a lack of socialization to the communication breakdowns that can result from distance between yourself and fellow project members, virtual workspaces aren’t without their complications.
Another downside to working from home is the fact that it’s impossible to participate in at-work wellness programs. Many office environments boost morale through wellness programs, designed to help employees maintain active, healthy lives. Now that employees and employers alike find themselves working from home, it’s more difficult than ever to find motivation not only to work, but to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
That’s where a virtual employee wellness program can help. Even though it’s easier to maintain health and wellness when you’re pursuing similar goals as fellow employees, motivation starts with you. Here are a few tips to help you jumpstart an at-home wellness program, complete with everything you’ll need to set and accomplish set goals along the way.
Make your project official
No wellness program is official without a name and a mission. Even if it’s a name you’ll never speak to anyone else, giving your wellness goals a program name will help to validate the process. And if you have definitive goals you know you want to reach, write those down as well. This is a simple step, but it makes all the difference when you’re mentally looking for reasons to quit.
Set benchmarks before you begin – complete with rewards
Health and wellness programs work because they help to serve as roadmaps between the person you are now and the healthier individual you want to become. It’s critical that you set benchmarks before you launch into your virtual wellness program. Especially since you’ll be the one creating the program for yourself, it’s important that you establish self-accountability from day one. Set your goals so that you don’t allow yourself to change them once you begin your regimen.
And as with all health and wellness programs, make the program itself worth your while! You know better than anyone what’s going to motivate you. Whether it’s an extra hour of sleep, a movie rental you’ve been dying to see, a (healthy) meal from your favorite restaurant, an item from your favorite online store or any other means of motivation, allow yourself to establish a reward worth fighting for. The brighter the light at the end of the tunnel, the more fervently you’re going to fight to make sure you get there.
Establish complementary sleep and diet habits
Your wellness goals only go so far as your sleep and diet habits. Look to complement your wellness program with a healthy diet, one rich in protein and natural ingredients and free from artificial flavors and excessive sugars. In addition, make sure that you get adequate sleep each night – between 7 and 9 hours – to ensure that you wake rested and ready to perform the next day.
Identify the workout, exercises and routines that define your program
Your wellness program should be defined by activities that promote overall health and well-being. While this certainly includes items like exercise and taking time each day to accelerate your heart rate, it also means establishing a well-rounded routine, one that doesn’t allow you to focus excessively on working out or workplace tasks.
Here’s a list of suggested routines to integrate into your wellness program:
Short and long-distance running: nothing overly strenuous, just runs that will help to increase heart rate and promote a healthy metabolism. Look to increase pace for short runs, particularly any runs less than one mile in duration. By contrast, it’s helpful during longer runs if you can settle into a comfortable pace, one that will allow you to sustain healthy breathing and full strides until the run concludes.
Abdominal workouts: Take time during the day, especially pre or post-workout, for some quick abdominal workouts to strengthen your core. Options here include planks, crunches and push-ups. Feel free to throw in less common abdominal routines like mountain climbers, hanging knee raises and reverse crunches, for a diversified workout.
Pursue a new hobby: A large part of wellness includes personal growth. Whether you want to collect something new, learn a new skill or conquer an obstacle, pursuing a new hobby is simple as putting your mind to something that interests you.
Personal time: It’s critical that you take some time to yourself if you’re serious about promoting holistic wellness. Personal time can mean lowering the lights and taking a bath; it can mean taking the dog for a walk around the neighborhood; it can mean spending time with friends, catching up on a television show or baking your favorite dessert. The only requirement is that you take time to yourself, for yourself.
Ultimately, dreams are goals without deadlines. Setting and completing goals on a per-day basis will help you gain confidence, maintain motivation and take definitive steps toward your health and wellness goals.
Feel free to invite friends, family members, even fellow employees to join
Community participation makes any task easier and more enjoyable. Especially when individuals are united toward a common goal, it’s easier to pass the time and enjoy yourself on your journey to sustained wellness. So feel free to invite friends, family members or peers to join you in your wellness goals. Better yet, invite some of your coworkers to participate and create their own respective wellness programs alongside yours.
Taking the first steps toward long-term health and wellness
Establishing and maintaining an at-home wellness program, even if you find yourself as the only active participant, will make it easier to pursue the active lifestyle you know you deserve. However, you should entrust your success to more than a wellness program. That’s why we offer comprehensive employee assistance services, through programming designed to help you tackle life’s issues, large and small. Whether you’re looking for financial counseling, marriage and relationship therapy, substance use treatment or career advancement resources, Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP is your ticket toward employee benefits without the associated high cost. Call 1-800-543-5080, or fill out our streamlined contact form today, to earn employee assistance program benefits for your entire team.