Working from home has become the new norm for majority of our workforce right now. What seemed to be a luxury when it was optional is quickly becoming a nuisance now that it’s mandatory. More importantly, it can really affect your health and wellbeing on all levels.
Whether you were working remote before or going into the office, you probably had built in breaks that inherently supported your health and wellbeing without you thinking much about it. It’s been a great reminder of how crucial environmental design is for health. Subtle environmental design cues can either support or inhibit healthy behavior.
Like you, many of my health routines have been impacted by quarantine life, one of the most subtle yet noticeable ones was hydration. Drinking water is one of my top 3 health hacks, I make it a point to drink water first thing in the morning to set myself up for success, then throughout the day, with a total consumption of at least 96+ ounces of water.
Much of my water consumption was naturally built into my routines. Stepping away for a yoga class, commuting to work, or having a lunch meeting all prompted me to drink water.
After a week of quarantine though, I found myself nibbling a little more than usual, moving a little less, and feeling a bit dehydrated. As human beings we are creatures of habit, routines help keep us sane, unexpected changes send us in a state of distress and short circuit the system. When you can’t fight or flee.
In my last article I shared about going back to the basics to reclaim calm during this time of crisis.
One of those basics is hydration.
It’s no secret that proper hydration is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. With that being said the over 75% of U.S. Americans are chronically dehydrated. One study found that even mild dehydration can impact mental performance.
Not only that, poor hydration is a “stressor ” for your body, leaving you a bit frazzled and anxious. We already have enough stress/anxiety in our lives right now, you certainly don’t need your body getting pissed off at you water attacking you Unfortunately water isn’t the most appetizing of nourishment out there, unless of course parched in a desert.
So how do you make sure to get enough water?
In the office environment you may have a water bottle on your desk, or see a colleague drinking water, or have spa water available in your cafe. If you’re like me you probably have sticky notes everywhere. All of these are simple yet very effective subconscious cues reminding you to drink water.
At home, it may be a bit more challenging because these natural cues are non existent.
For many, adding a simple calendar reminder works. I often encourage my clients to add reminders to their calendars. But at home, the reminder wasn’t enough to prompt me to take action. I either ignored the reminder or had an inner dialogue convincing myself I didn’t need it or I’d do it later.
I needed interaction. I needed someone to verbally remind me. Someone who wouldn’t forget, and would happily do it.
So, I asked Alexa.
Until now, I used Amazon Alexa to play music, tell jokes, and set timers. But the device has a lot more features one of which is to set reminders for just about anything . The conversation went something like this,
“Alexa, remind me to drink water every hour starting at 9am”
“Okay, I will remind you drink water every hour starting at 9am. This will include late night reminders between 10pm and 5am, is that okay?”
“No, that’s not okay.”
“Okay, reminder set.”
Hmmm… Well, nothing is perfect right. Unfortunately you can’t set the time frame yet so you will have to remember to cancel the reminder before going to bed. Other than that, the reminders have been extremely useful. My water intake has increased, stress levels have decreased, and my other health habits are gotten back on track.
If water consumption is on point for you, but you find yourself sitting all day in front of your computer, or forgetting to take a deep breath then try setting a reminder for one of those.
What work from home health hacks are working for you? Post to comments…
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