Gamifying your health and other lifestyle tips for work-at-home warriors

work at home

By Kiki Schirr, {grow} Contributing Columnist

The work from home lifestyle can be hazardous to your health. I know from personal experience.

My workstation is in my kitchen, about seven feet from the refrigerator. The urge to check to see what’s for dinner can be overwhelming as I’m waiting on a response on Slack or email. Perhaps worse, there’s also a bed a few feet from my workspace, so once I polish off the leftovers from last night’s dessert, I’m tempted to sleep it off with a short nap!

Earlier this month, I got a nasty cold. I was coughing and wheezing and was “too busy” to see the doctor until tenth day! The truth is that I should have made time for my health. The harsher truth is that if I’d been paying a little less attention to @-mentions and a little more to my health, the cold wouldn’t have lingered for 10 days in the first place.

So what can we, the growing tribe of work-at-home-warriors, do to protect our health?

Health and exercise for work at home warriors

Gamify your health– If you’ve already gained a lot of weight, you could look into weight loss challenges such as HealthyWage. Anything with a social component is going to be more successful, so have an exercise partner or consider joining a program like Weight Watchers.

Reward exercise– While diet is the most vital element, exercise will keep you motivated and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart problems. Never reward activity with food. Instead, don’t buy your next novel in paperback—get it on audiobook and tell yourself you can only listen to it when you exercise.

Count your steps– This is the easiest passive way to get your exercise in. Nowadays there’s no need to buy a pedometer as most smartphones have one built in. Find out how to activate yours (it’s in the Fit app, the red heart icon, for Android phones) and then start keeping track of how much you walk. I only have mine set for 8,000 steps instead of the suggested 10,000, but as Lao Tzu said—Even the journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single step!

Health and habits for work at home warriors

Have a snack– don’t beat yourself up for having a snack, but make it a healthy one, and have a set time of day to eat it. When you “graze,” it can be difficult to keep track of how much you’re eating.

Keep track of screen time– it’s well worth mentioning that you should look away from your screen! Download apps such as these for your phone or computer or do it old school by setting a timer. Pomodoro apps also work great for this. Ideally, you should spend time away from screens every 20 minutes… but figure out what works best for you.

Get some rest– Set your phone and computer screens to use orange-based light after ten PM. Blue light has been shown to activate your brain and keep you awake longer. Keep to a sleep schedule as much as possible and if you have to sleep with your phone in the same room, at least put it on airplane mode at bedtime.

Pay attention to your mental health, too– one thing that’s not brought up often enough in these circles is how stressful managing brands can be. With the new 24-hour cycle of brand mentions on sites like Twitter, it can be tempting to always be “on.” Make sure that you’re taking time for yourself, observing holidays, taking vacations, and making time for you or your family. Also, consider apps like Calm to help you meditate.

A quick final note

Join me in paying more attention to your health. If you have any pro-tips that I haven’t mentioned here, please share them with this eager audience in the comments. Most of all, good luck!

KikiSchirrKiki Schirr is the founder of WeKiki distributed video platform and the former founder of a fitness app. She is a marketer and author in San Francisco. Kiki enjoys absorbing the tech scene and current trends. You can contact her easily through Twitter.

Illustration by the author.

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