General Education

Advice for Those Learning or Working From Home

Advice for Those Learning or Working From Home
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Amanda Woodman profile
Amanda Woodman April 1, 2020

Most of us have been confined to our couches, home offices, and beds as we practice social distancing. Here are some things to keep in mind to keep our minds and bodies healthy.

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For many of us, our lives have dramatically changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been forced to change our daily routines, and for some of us, a routine is non-existent. Some of us are now attending classes and studying at home, some of us are working from home, and some of us aren't working at all. These adjustments don't come easily. As we attempt to adapt to a different way of living, it's important that we take the necessary steps to take care of our minds and bodies.

As we attend classes at home and work remotely, we no longer have the physical activity of walking around campus to get to classes. There's no more morning commute or any physical demands that our jobs used to call for. Social gatherings and athletic competitions have been postponed or cancelled. Many of us are glued to our computers for hours every day, and that can take a toll on our mental and physical health.

Back Pain

Our newfound sedentary lifestyles can cause a lot of tension on our backs and shoulders, especially if we don't practice good posture. Here are some tips to prevent back pain:

  1. Take a 10-minute break from studying/working every hour to get the blood flowing and give your brain a break.
  2. Stretch out your back, neck, shoulders, and arms to prevent stiffness.
  3. Try to sit straight-up. If you have trouble with this, use some sort of back support, like a pillow, to support your lower back.
  4. On your break, go for a walk or run.
  5. When you are finished with your work, try out some yoga poses. They are great for stretching and strength. They may also help relieve stress.


When you are stuck at home all day, it's easy to snack too much. Snacking on junk food will only leave you feeling tired, uncomfortable and cranky. The best thing you can do is consume food that fuels your brain. According to an article in Harvard Health Publishing, research shows that the best foods for your brain include green, leafy vegetables, fatty fish, berries, tea and coffee, and walnuts. Stay away from processed foods or foods high in sugar. You want to keep those creative juices flowing!


It is challenging to be motivated to work out at home, especially if you live in an apartment or share space with family members or roommates. Fortunately, there so much you can do to exercise indoors, even with little or no equipment. Apart from yoga, there are many body-weight exercises you can do in a small space, such as sit-ups, push ups, lunges, burpees, squats, jumping jacks, mountain-climbers, and so many more. Use the internet and social media to get ideas. There is an infinite number of at-home workouts being posted every day. Many gyms are also offering live video meetings where you are directed by a coach and can work out with other people. Working out is easier to do when there is someone pushing you and holding you accountable. It will not only keep you in good physical shape, but the endorphins will relieve stress and keep you feeling happy and positive.

Stay Social

Just because you are practicing social distancing doesn't mean you can't still be social. Isolation is considered one of the worst punishments of humankind, and can leave you feeling lonely, bored, and depressed. Instead of texting, try a video meeting with your family and friends. Seeing their faces makes all the difference. There are many apps that make this possible, including FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Skype. Some companies who have their employees working remotely have even adopted a weekly video meeting "happy hour," where everyone can enjoy a drink together at the conclusion of the work week. The most important thing is to stay connected with the people in your life. It will help your mental health immensely.

Clever Tips

There are other things you can do to add a sense of normalcy to your daily life and make this adjustment more bearable.

  1. If possible, try to maneuver your work/study area into an area with direct sunlight. Exposure to sunlight can greatly enhance your mood. If it's a nice day out, open a window to get some of that fresh air.
  2. Take the time to do little things that give you pleasure and a feeling of normalcy, like lighting a scented candle, playing your favorite music, redecorating, or organizing your closet. If your surroundings are messy and out-of-control, you'll feel out-of-control too.
  3. If you're only leaving the house to get groceries and other essential items, you may feel compelled to just stay in your pajamas or sweats all day, every day. What's the point in getting ready if no one is going to see you, right? Wrong. Taking the time to do your normal routine of showering, getting ready, doing your hair/makeup, shaving, etc., can make you feel good. Do it for yourself. Trick your brain by acting like you're getting ready to go to class or work. This isn't something you have to do every day, but if you try it every once in a while, it can have an amazing impact on your mental health.

My advice to you is to take this unprecedented time as an opportunity to make the most out of an unfortunate situation. There is so much that we can't control right now, but what we can control is how we react and adapt. Stay productive. Keep learning and working. Keep your mind and body healthy, because you are going to need both once your daily life goes back to normal.

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