It’s been almost two weeks since I went full-time freelance to work from home, and it’s still great.
I worked from home in my previous job one day a week but doing it full-time really lets you take you reclaim your time and do more of the things that make you happy.
So in today’s post, I’ll be talking about some of the health benefits – both mental and physical of working from home.
Physical health – Time to exercise
I’m no gym nut but I’ve always wanted to get into a good routine where I workout regularly. However, I’m the type of person with an armful load of excuses to throw out when I’m slightly tired, grumpy or would rather do something else.
One of the common excuses to avoid exercise for a lot of people is “I’m tired”.
I was tired from working in an office all day (not exactly manual labour but still tiring). So I’d come home, exercise after work for about a week and feel good about myself. But then I’d have a day where I didn’t get much sleep so I’d tell myself “just do it another day”.
Those five words are a killer and that one day suddenly turns into months.
I even bought a cross trainer to make it “easier” to workout. It just ended up making it easier to walk right past it on the way to the kitchen.
But, now I have absolutely no excuse. I’m working from home all day, there’s no tiring commute or busy office and I can set my own hours.
So I wiped the dust off the cross trainer and got to work. The progress has been very slow because I haven’t exercised in a long time but I’m getting there. I even bought a dumbbell set and a resistance band to try and build up my strength.
I’ve now set aside some time each morning (when I’d usually be commuting) to get at least 30 minutes of exercise time. So it’s +1 point for working from home.
Mental health – Setting more suitable hours
We all work differently and many studies have pointed out that the 9-5 grind simply isn’t healthy for plenty of people.
Some businesses have realised this and offered flexible/remote working. On the most part, they have got better work output and happier employees in return.
However, most businesses have a lot of catching up to do. In the meantime, more and more people are going freelance and realising that they can have more freedom. The digital age has made this easier than ever.
This lifestyle means that if you’re more of a night owl, you can set your working hours according to this. If you’re an early riser, start your day earlier and finish around the afternoon slump. Do whatever works for you.
Having more control over your day like this has such an amazing effect on your mental health.
Physical health – Cutting down on the sedentary lifestyle
We all know that sitting in the same chair for 8 hours a day is bad for our health. Sitting is the new smoking, as you’ll see plenty of articles online claiming.
I’ve already talked a bit about how working from home gives you more space to workout. But it also gives you more space to adapt your working environment.
If you need to take a long walk, you can do that. You don’t have to worry what the boss will think or whether your co-workers think you’re being lazy.
Got a dog? You can take them out for a lunchtime walk if you’re based at home.
You also don’t have to sit down all day, you can invest in or build a standing desk so you’re not in the same position all day long.
Mental health – Free and fulfilling lifestyle
I don’t know about anyone else, but I just couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong when I worked my day job.
The people were nice, the work was fine, but I just wasn’t happy because I wanted more freedom to do things that I actually wanted to do with my time. I really begrudged having to spend most of my waking life in someone else’s office, making someone else money (while I wasn’t making much).
I’m not saying this for any sympathy. Yes people have it so much worse in the world and many would envy my position. But I wasn’t happy and I saw a way out so I took it.
I’ve felt so much more positive since, like a weight has been lifted. It’s hard to quantify or explain why but it’s done me a lot of good and I think it would really benefit most people, if they had the opportunity to do the same.
Physical health – Eating better
When you work from home, you can either go two ways. You can eat an ungodly amount of junk food or you can be sensible and take this opportunity to prepare fresh lunches and healthy snacks.
Not going to lie, first few days I was the former. It was great while it lasted but I really want to start living a bit better and lose some weight.
The key here, is to get rid of the junk food and only buy healthy things so you’re not tempted in the first place. It saddens me greatly to admit that buying Nutella needed to stop, but it did and now my cupboards are mostly looking okay.
Working from home means I can prepare a fresh salad that doesn’t go soggy in the office fridge by 1pm. You can prepare warm food, smelly food or drink your meal replacement shakes/fast without any judgement around you.
Are there any downsides?
In the interests of balance, yes of course there are downsides. I absolutely think everyone, if they can, should try working from home. But there are some sides to it that aren’t ideal.
- It can get lonely – I’m an introvert and a bit of a hermit so this isn’t such a problem yet, but working alone affects everyone differently.
- There’s no guarantee you’ll be healthier – The benefits above are really only opportunities to get healthier. You still need to put the effort in. It’s just as easy to keep the same unhealthy routine as your office job.
- Working in this way usually means self-employment which doesn’t work for everyone. There’s a lack of stability by nature.
- Working from home is a lot harder in smaller or busy households, without a dedicated space to work from.
While I hope the above downsides haven’t discouraged you, it’s still important to acknowledge that they exist. However, nothing is unworkable here. You may need to make adjustments to your life to fit in working from home – but trust me, it’ll be worth it in the end!
If you’d like some tips on setting your home office up to inspire productivity, my blog post will show you how.
The health benefits of working from home are not just limited to those above, so if you have any other ideas, please share them.
Do you dream of working from home? What would you do if you had the opportunity? Please share your thoughts or experiences below.