By Stephanie Simons,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire
We know how to stay healthy at home. We know how to stay healthy at work. But what about when these two spheres merge? The global pandemic has made jugglers of us all, with many balancing our jobs, childcare, and checking in on friends and relatives, all in the same day.
When there is homeschooling to be done and meals to be cooked – not to mention those urgent emails from your boss – it can be easy to let your own health slip down the list of priorities. However, you need to take steps to look after yourself – now more than ever.
Adapt your workspace
The first step is ensuring you have a safe environment to work. Right now, people are working everywhere from the kitchen counter to the cupboard under the stairs, but there are things you can do to make any workspace more conducive to health.
Working at a computer can provoke a range of musculoskeletal issues. Unchecked, this can lead to damage of the back, neck and upper limbs, so it’s crucial to try to maintain the correct posture wherever you are.
First of all, make sure you are sat at a chair rather than a stool. Then try to keep your feet flat on the ground, without crossing your legs and ankles, and keep your back flat against the back of your chair. It’s also helpful to adjust your monitor so it is at eye level. This stops your head from tilting one side or the other, which can lead to neck cramps and strain.
It’s also important to keep your environment clean. Use antibacterials wipes and sprays on your work surface, phone and computer and wash your hands regularly with any soap, it does not have to be anti-bacterial, and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. There are many brands available to buy or you can make your own.
It’s thought that 86% of American workers spend almost their whole working day sitting down, at the office or at home. However, this can increase your risk of numerous serious health conditions including diabetes, cancer and heart disease – regardless of how much you exercise outside your working hours.
It’s therefore vital that you take the time to move. The key here is little and often. Taking two breaks per hour – even if they are just two minutes long – can significantly reduce your risk of health issues, much more than if you took one long break in the middle of the day. Regular breaks will also improve your mental health, especially if you switch off work emails and calls while you’re away from your workspace.
Top up your nutrients
When managing a busy job, (and kids, and the house, and a pandemic), it can be tempting to opt for quick, processed foods. However, ready meals and snacks are often filled with sugar, salt and fat – and very few nutrients.
Prepping meals at the weekend is a great way to ensure you have nutritious food all week long. Opt for whole grains, vegetables and legumes that deliver a range of vitamins and minerals while keeping you energised through the working day.
It’s also helpful to keep a supply of healthy snacks on hand to boost your concentration. Try apple slices with peanut butter or rice cakes with hummus for a quick and easy snack that will see you through until dinner. There’s a fantastic variety of healthy snacks like Kind Bars which are loaded with nuts and healthier crunchy chips made from lentils or veggies to name just a few. Work in some citrus fruits, red bell peppers and broccoli, or indeed supplements like Vitamin C (tablets by Nature’s Bounty or Sundown or fizzy tablets to put in your water like Berocca or Redoxon), Vitamin E (Nature’s Bounty, Nature Made etc) and Vitamin B6 (Nature’s Bounty, Nature’s Truth, Berocca), to give you and your family that extra immune system boost. Electrolyte fizzy tablets by Nuun are also good sources of Vitamins B and C.
These are available in numerous flavours to give you a boost ad help to prevent dehydration. These are challenging times for us all – and there is no correct answer for everyone. But we can all take a quick walk, or switch off our phone for ten minutes and make a cup of tea. It’s these small changes that will make a big difference when it comes to surviving the global crisis.
Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.