Returning to the workplace after working from home can be challenging when you are aware of the sudden weight gained. Other than the absence of commuting, I believe that my tremendous weight gain was due to personal and work stress. I was too discouraged, to even try doing minimal exercise or change my eating habit since I can feel my body getting heavier during the circuit breaker period. Now that we are in phase 3, it dawned upon me that I am not alone and many of my peers or people in general are sharing the same concern virtually.
Primarily, working from home for me requires a tweak to my regular workday. I was waking up later for work and ending work later as well. Working from home empowered me to be more complacent or lazy as my siblings would be serving my lunch and dinner on my work table instead of me going to the pantry and heating the food up. This blurry line of work/home environment can be an indulgence and with enablers entertaining my every cravings impulse, the more food was delivered to my doorstep like Grabfood, Foodpanda, Deliveroo.
It has been said that the stress hormone in the brain and body, Cortisol increases as a result of pressure. With the ongoing pandemic, the cortisol level hiked and when prolonged, this will lead to fatigue, weight gain, sleep disturbance and burnt out.
To deal with the feeling of anxiety, we ought to have better coping strategies instead of stress-eating which was my favourite cure-it-all for any tense situation. There were weekly bubble teas on Monday, donuts as reward for surviving the mid-week and ice cream on the weekend. Needless to say, it was a short term happiness to survive my growing unhappiness. It proceeded for around five months before I threw in the towel since I realized I needed to change to save myself. Though I was reluctant to leave, I had to be happy.
Indeed, even now, I am still pondering on the off chance that I was better at dealing with my stress, will I be able to strive or persevere through the uncertain times. I took the resignation personally as a defeat despite knowing that it was a rational decision. The reasons to stay amid this pandemic outweigh the negative aspect but my heart was simply dreading each morning when I switched on my desktop and two screens. All things considered, I realized it was out of line for me to continue any further.
Thus, I am now trying to celebrate what I have achieved since I last left the organization and share what I have learned about surviving stressful moments at work .
Being consistent with a daily schedule
Keeping a day by day schedule is essential as following routine helps to regulate your emotions and the energy level of the day. Spare some time in the morning to write down the tasks that you need to get accomplished so that you ensure that the day was spent mindfully even if the task is to take a 2 hour nap.
Drawing a clear line between work, family and personal life
Having work-life boundaries are more important now especially when you are facing the same walls 24/7. Make your own separation barrier between activities that are work-related and those that are not. Rearrange your house to have a dedicated work space away from distractions, rest area, and household responsibilities. The distance created by outlining the space is important to ensure productivity on a workday and allow you to exit the work mode when needed.
Without proper lines between work and personal activity, we tend to be complacent and dawdle especially at the comfort of the home. It may be tough but to instill motivation and productivity while working from home takes effort but it is attainable. Perhaps reflecting on what could distract you may help to tackle the issue at hand and makes it easier to be motivated and productive. It can be challenging and time consuming but is attainable to be consistent. The more that one plans the day with a routine, the better off. You may start off limiting the amount of time that you are leisurely spending instead of being productive. Setting time for downtime is fine but getting in the habit of being sedentary will slow your mind, body, and energy.
Owning up to your excuses when not completing work
As a working adult, do hold yourself accountable by limiting the excuses to get work done. Try not to work from your bed or bedroom which is associated to relax and sleep. As comfortable as it may seem, a productive day requires being slightly uncomfortable.
Interacts with your colleagues
As part of work, your awesome daily interactions with your work buddies is dearly missed during the pandemic. Engaging with them online via zoom meetings can help for team morale as everyone is still adjusting social interaction and coping with feelings of loneliness. It is also recommended for you to initiate conversations about things not related to work, as done when actually in the office.
Proper Nutrition and Hydration
Regulating emotions is not sufficient to combat stress-eating, hence it is important to understand the risk of poor eating habits. It is recommended to eat a variety of foods daily to meet the requirement of necessary vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, proteins and antioxidants. In the case where you were not subconsciously aware about healthy eating prior to covid-19, simply just ensure to drink ample amount of water – at least 2 litres per day and limit the sugar, unhealthy fat and salt to significantly lower your risk of being overweight, and obese. To add on, decrease the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and oily food.
While the stay at home order has restricted our movements, it is important for people of all ages and abilities to be as active as possible. If you are deskbound, avoid sitting or slouching all the time. Try to move around for 30 minutes by walking to the fridge to get water or stretch as this will help to circulate blood to the body. Adding more vigorous free exercises to your routine is also a great way to remain active at home.
In summary, focusing on good mental health, food habits and maintaining some level of physical activity, especially in the current times, will go a long way in warding off speedy weight gain.