While working from home has its pros (like wearing PJs all day), it also brings with it some very real pains. Most of our workstations are now beds and couches, but as comfortable as they sound – their lack of support has caused a lot of discomfort. An uncomfortable sitting position is just one of the many distractions you have to deal with when you work from home.
So from improving your posture to tackling blurred work-life boundaries, here are some changes you can make for a healthier and more productive WFH experience:
For the Body
Without our walks to lunch, or even from the carpark to the office, working from home has made us less active. This can lead to stiff necks and sore backs, as well as a higher risk of sedentary diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.
- Set up an ergonomic home office
A healthier body begins with a posture-friendly work desk. Sit up straight, adjust the height of your chair so your feet are on the ground (or on a footrest), and raise your laptop until the top of the screen is at eye level.
Check out this video for more tips explained by an ergonomics expert.
- Stand up and walk around
Your body needs to move to keep the blood flowing, and sitting in the same position for hours can take its toll. Schedule a reminder to stand up and move every 30-45 minutes – why not dance around your room to your favourite songs!
- Stretch and move some more
Regular stretches and exercises can help loosen tight muscles, strengthen them, and improve overall flexibility and mobility. Try following an online yoga class or these exercises for better back health.
For the Mind
If you find yourself struggling with concentration or working longer hours at home, you’re not alone. With the line between work and rest as fuzzy as can be, it’s easy for the mind to feel overwhelmed.
- Take mental breaks
Just as your body needs breaks from sitting, your brain needs regular rest from the screen too. Take a break after completing every task or try the Pomodoro Technique, which rewards you with a 5-minute rest after every 25 minutes of work. There’s even a Google Chrome extension you can install.
At the end of the work day, log off and keep your laptop hidden in a drawer to stop the temptation of replying to emails at 10PM.
- Plan your days
Write down a to-do list and estimate how much time you need to spend on each task. Having this fresh plan every morning keeps you focused and sets you up for a more productive day – it can also help you avoid the stress of rushing to meet deadlines later on.
- Remove distractions
From the comfy bed to your furry friend, distractions at home can make it hard to focus – identify what’s distracting you and remove it from your workspace. Is it your bed? Work in another room. Is your family talking a little too loud? Put on your earphones. Is it Netflix? Sign out of your account until you’re done for the day.
Share these tips with your friends who are hustling from home too!
Having Type 1 Diabetes is a full-time job – there are no breaks, there are no off days. When mistakes are made, they come at the detriment of your health, both mental and physical. I’ve been living with this condition for the last 5 years and while I haven’t let it dictate my life, it has been a constant feature in anything and everything I do. It’s sort of this constant hum in the back of your head – what’smybloodsugardidItaketoomuchinsulinmaybeIdidn’ttakeenoughwhat’smybloodsugar? It never really goes away, but you do start to learn how to tune it out so you can focus on living your life.
That’s something that I feel as though I can handle. When it’s just me vs my blood sugars, I’m usually pretty confident that I can come out on top – it’s when I’m around other people that I find that things get a bit more complicated. Because it’s no big deal to inject yourself as many times as you need to when you’re alone, or inhale an entire box of orange juice during a low blood sugar in your own kitchen, but it’s a whole different story when you’re out with your friends and you feel your blood sugars starting to dip.
On more than one occasion, I’ve felt the all-too-familiar signs of a low blood sugar coming on and not spoken up about it or even asked for help. I’d just try to stop my hands from shaking and wipe off the beads of sweat starting to form as I hunted for a source of sugar. If you’ve ever seen me go really quiet on a night out before ordering a Coca-Cola and then chugging the entire thing in about three seconds, I was probably having a low blood sugar (no one’s that thirsty).
I do this quietly mostly because I don’t want to be an inconvenience, or worse still, be seen as overdramatic. People hear the term ‘low blood sugar’ and pass it off as something minor, when really an untreated low blood sugar can lead to you fainting, and even dying in some really severe cases.
I remember being late to a meeting and explaining how I had had a low blood sugar on the way, which caused me to have to stop and pick up a sugary drink from a convenience store. It was 100% true, and I was still trying to recover from it at that very moment, but out of the corner of my eye I caught a couple of people rolling their eyes – as though I was making it out to be a bigger deal than it was. Granted, they probably had no idea about Type 1 Diabetes or low blood sugars or daily injections, about carb counting or glucose meters or test strips, about HbA1cs or the difference between short and long acting insulin.
But that shouldn’t be an excuse. So if you’re going to take away anything from this article, let it be this: If you don’t know the reality of what a person is going through, reserve your judgement. Little interactions can leave a mark and make things even more difficult for people who already have a lot on their plate.
Hear more about Sheena’s experience here.
2.1 million women get diagnosed with breast cancer each year, making it the most frequent form of cancer among women. According to the Breast Cancer Foundation, this places one in 19 Malaysian women at risk.
As common as it is, there are still so many misconceptions about the disease. These inaccuracies can prevent women from receiving the treatment they require. Below are 8 myths about breast cancer you’ve probably heard before:
Young adults can’t get breast cancer.
Breast cancer can occur at any age, but a person’s risk of developing it increases as they grow older.
It is only hereditary.
According to the National Cancer Foundation, Inc., only 10% of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer actually have a family history of the disease.
Men can’t get breast cancer.
Yes, they can – although the percentage is small, the mortality rate is higher than women because of the lack of awareness.
All lumps are cancerous.
Most lumps found in your breasts are not cancerous, but you should still go and get them check.
Breast cancer is fatal.
No, the Breast Cancer Foundation noted that only 20% of women diagnosed with breast cancer suffer from metastases – the dangerous spread of the disease.
Underarm antiperspirants and deodorant cause breast cancer.
Nope! There is no conclusive evidence to this claim, so don’t let it stop you from smelling fresh and clean.
The hormones in birth control pills cause breast cancer.
No, the birth control pills available on the market these days contain a lower dose of estrogen and progesterone.
High-fat foods cause breast cancer.
Eating too much high-fat foods is unhealthy, but studies have not been able to link the two.
With the rise in fake news, it has become imperative for us to stay informed and identity misinformation about breast cancer. If you are concerned about your health – reach out to a doctor and nurse as they would be able to provide the most reliable information.
What is burnout?
From a global pandemic to civil unrest, 2020 has been a stressful experience that feels long and excessive. (Am I right?) It doesn’t matter whether you work from home, are back in the office, studying or fighting for social justice – it has caused a majority of us to suffer from mental, physical and emotional exhaustion also known as burnout.
What are the symptoms?
If overwhelming events have left you feeling drained, down and disconnected from others – you’re probably suffering from burnout too. You might find yourself uninterested in what you’re doing, forgetting what you need to do (wait, why am I in the kitchen again?), easily irritated and always tired. Here are a few ways you can find motivation again.
How can I overcome it?
- Take a time-out
No work, no social media – apply for leave, sign out. You need a break from whatever’s causing you to burnout. Use this time to recharge your batteries and focus on yourself – not your assignment or creating the perfect Instagram infographic. Schedule frequent breaks during your day to breathe and relieve stress. This will allow you to be more focused and productive – working smarter, not harder.
- Get some rest
If you’ve been pulling an all-nighter studying or anxiously refreshing your timeline, you’ve got a lot of sleep to catch up on! Start clocking in 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night for at least a week. Find out more about sleep hygiene and how to make the most of your slumber here.
- Move your body
You’re probably groaning at the idea of a high intensity workout, but there are plenty of ways to get your heart pumping and blood flowing depending on how you feel. Dance, stretch or go for a walk – however you choose to move your body will help you relax your mind, boost your mood and your energy.
- Eat well
Ordering takeout has become easier than ever – with just a few taps, that extra-large pizza will be on its way to you and your favorite pjs. But the refined carbohydrates (most sugars and processed grains), can cause your mood and energy to crash. The stress and anxiety are already depleting your body of essential nutrients, so make sure you consume more nourishing food to boost your brain function, immune system, gut and hormones.
It can take a few weeks or even months to recover from burnout, but if you still feel anxious and depressed, please seek professional help.