In more ways than one, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed our sense of normal. These days, more people find themselves working remotely as the virus continues sweeping across the globe, forcing many establishments to shut down their offices.
Most children are staying at home as well and logging on for their classes rather than catching the school bus. There are also fewer opportunities to get out and socialize with friends and family. This means that many of us are stuck at home all day long. Unfortunately, all this time spent inside can lead to increased issues with your health.
Our work environments changed so drastically and quickly it’s no wonder that people are beginning to feel both the mental and physical effects of long-term isolation. Luckily, yoga is here to help. Yoga, paired with other health-positive changes, can help soften the strain that COVID-19 has put on all of us.
If you require a reset, here are some useful tips to help get you started as you adjust to working remotely.
Yoga to the Rescue
In a time where COVID-19 has made it unsafe to live as we once did, yoga is a perfect outlet. Beyond work-related stress, there is also tension stemming from the fear that you or a loved one might get sick. This, on top of all the other stressors such as closed schools and financial uncertainty, is mentally and physically draining.
To get through this unique time, it’s worth making an effort to utilize yoga, mindful meditation, and deep-breathing exercises more often. Practicing yoga has also been shown to reduce cortisol, the hormone that causes stress, and increases GABA, which is a brain chemical that can produce a calming effect. Meditation can also help take your mind off of the never-ending stream of bad news and focus more inwardly. Whether you’re a beginner or yoga veteran, there’s a pose out there that can help you get through these new stressors of life.
Invest in Your Workspace
At the beginning of this pandemic, you could argue that your hastily put together home office was perfectly fine and functional. You may have not felt the need to invest in your home office because this was only supposed to be a short, temporary situation. As we have all witnessed, the COVID-19 situation only grew more acute. This means that for the last four months you’ve likely been working in an office completely inadequate for your work and health needs.
This can negatively impact your health in several ways. If your chair is old and unsupportive, your back and posture are likely to suffer. If your desk is too small or seriously lacking storage, you often end up unorganized and stressed out trying to track down important documents. To start making the most out of your home office, and cut down on those negative side effects, you’ve got to create a better workstation and routine.
Creating a more ergonomic workstation doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Start by addressing your top-priority needs and work your way down. A few great ideas to begin with are:
Computer Chair: Switch to a chair that is easy to adjust and provides support in the right places. A proper backrest can better support the lumbar curve on your lower back which helps relieve pressure on your vertebrae.
Monitors: Our eyes can take a beating when staring at computer screens all day long, which can lead to headaches and blurry vision. Adjust the lighting on your computer’s monitor or switch to night mode. And make sure it’s around 20 inches away from your face so your eyes aren’t working as hard to focus. Avoid strains in your neck by keeping your monitor at or below eye level as well.
Distractions: To keep your productivity up, set up a routine, and stick with it. This is where yoga can play a key role in your workday. Each day or whenever you’re feeling anxious and distracted, take ten minutes to do some low-impact yoga stretches that improve focus and productivity. Not only will this help with concentration but excessive sitting is harmful to your health so it’s a great excuse to get up and moving.
Get Some Fresh Air
By now, you might be feeling as though going outside, meeting up with loved ones, and heading out on some wild adventure is a thing of the past. Despite most cities removing their shelter in place orders, many of us still stay inside most of the day. However, there are many scientifically-proven benefits of spending time outside such as decreased stress, higher-quality sleep, lowered blood pressure, and enhanced creativity.
The next time you’re finished with work for the day, try grabbing your yoga mat and heading outside. Find a spot that you can safely distance from other people on and enjoy the sounds and sights of the outdoors while you stretch. Start with some stress-relieving poses such as Standing Forward Bend or Rabbit Pose. Then try targeting specific areas such as your back, which even in the best of office chairs can still ache after a long day at work. Downward-Facing Dog and Extended Triangle are classic poses that feel amazing and help with back pain.
If you want a break from yoga, going for a simple walk around the neighborhood is also a great way to get you moving and enjoying what Mother Nature has to offer. Bring a journal with you and take a small break to jog down some of the thoughts you had while walking around. It can be very therapeutic to write down your fears, worries, hopes, and dreams, especially while the sun is setting and the sky is full of those magnificent colors. Whatever you like to do, just get outside and enjoy the healing properties of the great outdoors.
Working remotely more is just one side effect that COVID-19 has had on our way of life. The year 2020 has certainly been a rollercoaster and we’ve still got a few months to go. This year, perhaps more than ever before, it’s important that you find more ways to keep your body, mind, and soul healthy. Yoga is one solution but there are others you can also utilize that can help make this trying time a bit easier to manage.
By Frankie Wallace
Frankie Wallace is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest of the United States. She writes about a variety of topics, but manages to spend her free time tending to her garden and cuddling with her cat, Casper.
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