A few specific staples for healthy living inside—especially if you’re working from home right now—can make a big difference in how your day plays out. Right now, I know there are a billion articles around on working from home and working out at home, but if you do every tip from all of them… well, I don’t really think anyone is that efficient or productive. Me, I’m struggling with serious energetic ups and downs, trying to get work done and keep training, and lean very heavily on my routine. And that means putting some stuff in place and actually using it to make my day a tiny bit healthier.
You probably have most of these things already—if you do, pull them out and start using them! If you don’t, most of them have free or cheap swaps, i.e. putting a beach towel down in place of a yoga mat, repurposing an old milk jug as a big water bottle, and so on. But a couple, like the pull-up bar and blue-light glasses, may be worth ordering right now. They make a huge difference when you’re at home working away for what might very well be weeks on end.
And yes, I know that there’s no product that can fix the situation we’re in or make us feel that much better—but right now, every small change that we can make for the healthier will help to lower stress and make us feel a tiny bit better in the long term.
Labeled Water Bottle
Not so your co-worker won’t steal your drink, but so you actually know how much you’re drinking! I definitely under-hydrate when working in the house all day, but carrying around a liter bottle helps keep me a bit more honest. I enjoy this comically large 48 ounce one:
Since posting about pull-ups the last couple weeks, the most common question I’ve gotten was ‘where did you get the pull-up bar?’ Honestly? It’s the $29 one on Amazon. It’s held up for 5 years now and I can’t recommend it enough. (PS: Doing pull-ups is a challenge, and I usually suggest getting the bar and starting with just hanging for a while—it’s amazing what a workout just that is! Check out all our tips on pull-ups here.)
Because we regularly host camps and clinics, we have a lot of yoga mats. This has come in handy for me right now: I have one in the office, one in our room, and we have two in the living room. When it warms up, one will go out on the deck. Basically, have a yoga mat actually set up for yoga at all times, so you never have an excuse to not pause and do a few stretches. Having it laid out in a convenient spot makes it harder to ignore and impossible to forget. (Do some 5-minute yoga videos throughout the day for a break—I have a couple options here!)
Real talk: I never met a plant I couldn’t kill. Even cactuses aren’t safe around me. HOWEVER, at the moment I am trying very hard to not murder some houseplants because frankly, we needed some greenery in the house. I got a couple of succulents for the living room, but I also picked up peat pellets and some seeds—arugula, spinach, basil and lemon balm—to try to grow some of my own. So far, so good: I actually have seedlings right now! And having something green in the living room makes a huge difference in how the room feels.
Blue Light Glasses
I’ve experimented with these over the years and for big work days on the computer, especially when I won’t have a lot of breaks, I really rely on these to help me avoid that just-behind-the-eyes headache. But for me, the more important thing is the psychological component: I find that they help me get into work mode, and when I take them off, I’m out of it. If you’re new to working at home, this can be a really helpful shift, whether you struggle to get going or you struggle to turn off at the end of the day.
I just got these a month ago and I’ve been really happy with them—the technology has improved a lot over the years so these look more casual/like clear lenses than the old super-yellow ones.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
If you have a treadmill, trainer or other loud exercise apparatus and a partner who also trains a fair bit, noise-cancelling headphones will save your sanity or your marriage or both. Now, I don’t really give a crap about them being amazing, so I’m not into the idea of paying $300 for some Bose headphones, especially right now. But a cheaper version with 3K good reviews? Yep, I’m in. I ordered these recently and I am so thankful I did, because the noise from rollers is impossible to ignore—especially for us, since we don’t have a basement and our office is in a loft directly over where the rollers sit. That adds up to a VERY grumpy Molly. (If you don’t get these, at least get foam earplugs to dampen the noise.)