By Gretchen Powell
I work from home. I didn’t always, of course. Up until quite recently, my day-job involved dealing with Northern Virginia traffic on a daily basis just like everyone else: Taking up to an hour to drive the seven miles between my house and my DC office and hating every minute of it.
I used to have to deal with bad refrigerator buddies who let things get moldy and squishy in there, only to conveniently “forget” that whatever it is was theirs in the first place. I had to deal with ergonomically correct chairs and politically incorrect coworkers. I feel fairly confident that I’ve experienced pretty much every unfortunate cliché when it comes to office life.
But thankfully, due to a combination of fate, circumstance, and a desperate need for change, I managed to land myself in a dream job. Not only does my job rely on my actual strengths and interests, but I even get to do it from the comfort of my own home.
Some days it really does feel too good to be true. Of course, other days, I remember that working from home isn’t quite the fantasy I’d dreamt up in my head.
Working from home is great, but with it comes a whole slew of challenges that I wasn’t really prepared for – specifically ones that challenge my healthy lifestyle.
Working in an office provided me with, at the very least, a modicum of a schedule – you know, get to work at this time, take lunch at this time, go home at this time. Working from home makes it much more difficult to stick to a schedule because you have constant access to your work. Your laptop, your iPhone – it’s all right there, all the time. And so without the willpower to effectively shut myself off from “work mode” at 7 p.m. every night, I inevitably end up working many more hours than I used to.
Most unfortunately, though, I am constantly forgetting (or, perhaps simply neglecting) to make time for the things that used to be a regular part of my schedule. Working from home has made it easy for me to not eat until I’m ravenous and to not exercise except to move my laptop from the kitchen to the living room. My life right now is definitely not balanced.
So part of my goal as I navigate the new waters of working from home (or, for that matter, working from Starbucks or Panera or a bench outside the library) is to figure out how to find that balance in my life again – to make sure that there’s time in my day devoted to the healthy habits I worked so hard to establish, even though it’s frankly easier to stay in my pajamas all day and work from bed.
Sure, it’s nice that I actually enjoy my job now, so much so that I really don’t mind working all the time. It’s a most welcome change, in fact. But it’s still early days, and I know that in order to maintain both my physical health and mental sanity in the long run, establishing a routine will be more important than ever.
So here’s to navigating the waters of working from home, and my plan to come back next month with some tips that will help us all achieve a little more of that balance!
Gretchen Powell is a fitness and healthy living blogger in Falls Church. She is not a registered dietitian, nutritionist, or medical doctor, and a medical professional should be consulted before undertaking dramatic diet changes. For more, visit honeyishrunkthegretchen.com.