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How to take care of yourself while working remotely

Published: 30/12/2021
Sylwia Kieszkowska


She worked as a psychotherapist both in psychiatric institutions (IPIN, MORS) and with many NGOs in Poland (Feminoteka Foundation) and Spain (AESCO, Intress). She provides individual and group therapy for people in difficult social situations - immigrants, women experiencing domestic violence and young mothers. She also specializes in eating disorders.

Date of the last update: 30.12.2021

Remote work has changed our daily rhythm. As we spend more time at home in a closed room, the boundaries between working, dealing with private matters, eating and resting are blurred. How to practice self-care to keep physical and mental balance while spending several hours on the computer?  How to maintain a stable energy level and thus your health?

Understanding the complex interplay between nutritional, environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to disease requires knowledge and a conscious link between the different areas of our everyday life. Our common ailments are very often induced by chronic emotional and physical overload. There are 7 major areas related to body and spirit that you need to acknowledge to avoid it and deal with the strain on an ongoing basis.

Table of Contents:

  1. Your daily rhythm when working from home
  2. Physical activity
  3. How to eat while working from home
  4. Work-life balance
  5. Chronic fatigue – working from home
  6. Emotions while working from home

You can read this article in 4 minutes.

Your daily rhythm when working from home

The circadian rhythm is the rhythm that your body follows throughout the day. According to the circadian clock, our cortisol level should be highest at 8 a.m. Thus, we have the most mental energy in the morning and by midday. Levels of insulin, i.e. the hormone that allows your body cells to absorb glucose in the blood, start rising in the morning to reach its peak after lunch. Afterwards, our mental energy slightly drops. The closer we get to the evening, cortisol and insulin levels decrease. Simultaneously, the level of melatonin, which is responsible for making us sleepy and correlates with deep and restorative sleep at night, rises.

Regardless of the circadian rhythm, cortisol production and secretion soars every time a stress response is activated, be it a life problem, threatening situation, infection, or another event that forces us to activate our reserves. An abnormal rhythm of cortisol secretion affects not only mood, mental and psychological well-being and our ability to function, but also several areas of our health, such as immunity. A little stress stimulates us, but the health consequences can be catastrophic when we get stuck in a hyperactive state. Here are some examples of the consequences of stress overload:

  • Chronic anxiety, restlessness, feeling overwhelmed, sleeping disorders
  • Brain fog (impaired memory and concentration)
  • Digestive disorders
  • Sugar, salt, fat and abdominal obesity
  • Hormonal problems
  • Immunity problems

Does the image of being alert most of the time seem familiar to you? You need to start by understanding and listening to your body’s response.

Physical activity

Being physically active is an integral part of staying healthy. Exercising and moving your body has a great power to boost your energy. Many people feel too tired to find motivation and move in any way, but the truth is that even a little exercise adds energy and improves well-being. We are designed to move and change our body position, as evidenced by the fact that there are approximately 600 muscles in the human body and about 206 bones connected by approximately 350 joints.  Even a little activity strengthens the immune system and contributes to the secretion of hormones, including endorphins, i.e. happiness hormones that bolster you psychologically, help you cope with low moods and increase your mental resilience. Exercise has several regulating functions, and you can use this to your advantage!

Just like with eating, the times and type of physical activity matter a great deal. If you consciously manage your time and get into your natural rhythm, your body will repay you with well-being, strength to perform and enjoyment of movement. Include it in your daily plan.

How to eat while working from home

How and what you eat affects your whole body. Your energy level, mood and mental performance depend on it. 

Unhealthy dietary factors that affect energy levels and mood include:

  • Blood glucose disturbances
  • High intake of simple sugars 
  • Hidden pro-inflammatory factors in food

Pay attention to your diet! To improve digestion, make sure you get enough fibre in your diet. Eat fruit, vegetables, beans, wholemeal bread, nuts and seeds. Drink plenty of water, too.

Work-life balance

How do you divide your time between family life and work when spending most of your time at home in front of your computer? Think about how you manage your duties. Are you OK with work intertwining with your private sphere? It is sometimes very difficult to find the factors that limit your productivity and joy from work.

First, make a plan. Don’t neglect your needs! Remember to take breaks and unwind after work. People who find time to relax and mentally reset after a day at work, especially a stressful day, enjoy better cortisol levels and better sleep than those who don’t allow themselves to rest and recover. After you close your computer (preferably turn it off), make it a habit to decompress for fifteen minutes every day using some sort of relaxation practice. Thanks to that, your cortisol won’t run wild in the evenings. Also, once a week, take an evening completely off work, including home. This simple trick can work wonders – your home is not a place of never-ending chores.

Chronic fatigue – working from home

The fascinating field of psychoneuroimmunology has shown a network of interconnections between the nervous system, immunity, hormones, mood, cognitive function, digestion, circulation and stress response: This means that everything is interlinked. What we do, what we eat, what we think and encounter in the environment affects us from head to toe. It is not only stress in the traditional sense – mental or emotional – that makes our response mechanisms work beyond the norm. It is also anything that exceeds your body’s capabilities to respond effectively to the challenges you face.

There are several root causes that lead to chronic fatigue. The main ones include:

  • Chronic emotional stress
  • Diet, swings in blood sugar levels and nutrient deficiencies
  • digestive disorders
  • Toxin overload
  • Immune dysfunctions and hidden infections.

Find the cause of your fatigue and see how you can help yourself.

Emotions while working from home

Calming one’s mind and emotions is a skill that everyone should train. If you feel that you are often exposed to stress and exhaustion in your daily life, it is essential to reach for mindfulness techniques,  breathing exercises and practice conscious movement. Don’t let tensions accumulate.

Listen to your body – it is a barometer, your personal measuring device that tells you when the pressure is getting too high. You may have physical symptoms (such as headaches, sleep disorders, indigestion, various aches and pains, hot flushes) or emotional symptoms (anxiety, depression, irritability, frustration, and feeling overwhelmed). Remember that your body uses the stress response to protect itself. Listen to what it wants to tell you – this is its language. Valuable information may come to you in the form of thoughts or physical sensations arising in your internal organs or nervous system.

Take breaks for your body and mind and listen to yourself. Remember that your health matters the most as everything else depends on it. For more tips and details, you are welcome to visit our online Academy for people working remotely. You will find lots of useful information on how to increase your energy levels, improve concentration and get rid of feeling overwhelmed. Practice self-care by seeking balance every day. 

Sylwia Kieszkowska


She worked as a psychotherapist both in psychiatric institutions (IPIN, MORS) and with many NGOs in Poland (Feminoteka Foundation) and Spain (AESCO, Intress). She provides individual and group therapy for people in difficult social situations - immigrants, women experiencing domestic violence and young mothers. She also specializes in eating disorders.