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Working from home: how to stay healthy and focused

Working from home is becoming more common as companies increasingly go remote.

Over 40% of Americans spend at least some time working from home.

Working from home can seem luxurious at first. Staying in your pajamas, working on the couch, and having unlimited access to the fridge can sound a lot more appealing than getting up early and spending all day in the office.

However, working from home can make it harder to prioritize your health. When your home feels like your office, it’s hard to establish boundaries between work time and “me” time.

Constantly thinking about work can stress you out, which raises cortisone levels and potentially weight gain.

Between forgoing brushing your teeth to reaching for comfort foods to relieve stress, working remote can lead to temptations that make it harder to stay focused and healthy. Here are four tips to optimize your productivity and maintain your health – both physical and oral — when you work from home.

Wake up early and consistently

Did you know it takes your body and brain more than two hours to fully wake up and be ready to concentrate?

For folks going into the office, the morning commute can give them time to wake up so they’re ready to tackle the day as soon as they walk into work.

To optimize your brain’s functioning and your productivity at home, maintain a consistent and early wake-up time every morning. This way, you have time to shake off the sleep and find your concentration for the day ahead.

Stick to a morning routine

Along with waking up early, maintaining a morning routine can set you up for success in terms of your job and your physical health.

Not sure what to make your morning routine? Maybe it’s 10 minutes of meditation, followed by a healthful breakfast. Or perhaps you walk the dog after having your cup of coffee. Whatever the routine, stick to it.

Oral health tip: Brushing your teeth should be part of your morning regimen. It’s easy to put it off if you’re not leaving the house, but acids from coffee and bacteria build-up from the night before can lead to cavities, tooth discoloration and bad breath.

Get dressed

Studies show that the way you dress can affect your mental processes and self-confidence. According to Professor Karen Pine from the University of Hertfordshire, author of Mind What You Wear, we ultimately become what we wear.

Swapping sweatpants or pajamas for an office-appropriate outfit can keep you focused when you’re surrounded by domestic distractions. Putting on more professional attire can give you the confidence boost you need to ace a conference call, even if your coworkers or clients can’t see you.

Snack smart

Wandering over to the fridge every time you’re craving a break is tempting when you work from home. Over time, sugary snacks and soda can have a noticeable effect on your health and work performance.

It’s no secret that eating too much sugar leads to weight gain and cavities. Sugary beverages are one of the biggest causes of tooth decay in the American diet, and more than half of Americans consume at least a soda a day.

Not to mention the effect that sugar has on your focus — sugar creates a spike in the “rewards system” area of the brain, which locks you into a cycle of craving. It’s hard to focus on finishing your email when your mind keeps wandering back to the pantry!

Healthy snacks for your teeth and body can lessen your chances of gaining an unhealthy amount of weight and developing cavities. Here’s a list of healthy snack ideas that you can keep stocked in the pantry for work-from-home days:

  • Cheese: lowers risk of tooth decay and strengthens tooth enamel.
  • Plain yogurt: probiotics in yogurt promote gum health and fight cavities.
  • Leafy greens, like spinach and kale: nutrient-rich, strengthens tooth enamel and possibly treats gum disease in pregnant women.
  • Apples: produces saliva, rinses bacteria and food particles, and stimulates gums.
  • Carrots: produces saliva.
  • Celery: contains antioxidants that promote gum health.
  • Almonds: sliced almonds are better for your teeth, as you’re less likely to chip or crack a tooth.

And remember to stay hydrated to curb your appetite and help keep your teeth healthy!

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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.
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