If you’re worried about going back to work, you’re not alone! Now that COVID restrictions are lifting, many workers who became accustomed to working from home during the pandemic are headed back into the office, and more than half (55.2%) report feeling anxious about returning to work. 1https://www.fenews.co.uk/skills/anxiety-skyrockets-as-uk-professionals-prepare-to-return-to-the-office-full-time/
Some of this anxiety may relate to your bacterial/viral environment. If you’ve been WFH and now are anticipating shifting back to the office, your immune system could take a pounding as you are suddenly exposed to bugs you’ve been avoiding for the last few years.
So here are five top tips to help you stay healthy during the workday:
1. Create a healthy environment
Your environment matters. Research shows that proper workplace ventilation can increase cognitive function.2ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp.1510037 This means better work and productivity. Natural light is also great for your immune health, and sleep patterns.3www.healthline.com/health/natural-light-benefits#benefits Embrace the longer days this spring and open up your blinds to the natural light coming in!
2. Plan your meals
Your gut loves routine, and eating at regular intervals improves your digestion.4www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-improve-digestion Start your day with your meals prepared and ready to go. This will help minimise running to the nearest shop on your break or ordering takeout. You’ll save yourself time, stress and are likely to choose a healthier option if you have food prepared.
3. Increase your fibre intake
The latest science shows that consuming prebiotic fibre boosts your immune system. 5https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12088522/ Your gut bugs need at least 30 g of diverse fibre daily to protect you from pathogens, inflammation and disease. Get a head start on this requirement by adding 10 g daily of Complete Prebiotic into your gut health smoothie for a wide variety of 18 different prebiotic fibres. Try adding the “good grains” amaranth, quinoa, millet, buckwheat and oatmeal into your diet for another 10 g; these grains are all gluten-free and low GI, and have their own health benefits. The remainder of your daily fibre requirement can come from fruit, veg and pulses.
4. Move around
Whether you are working from home or from the office, grab the opportunity to move as much as possible during the day. Spend your lunch out in the garden, take a walk around the block, or request a standing desk. Physical movement can improve digestion, and your body will appreciate a good stretch!6https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-improve-digestion
5. Stay social
Working from home might feel safer, but you do miss out on normal workplace banter. Research has shown that this seemingly unimportant element of the workplace can actually boost your immune system. “Social exclusion or loneliness, is associated with increased inflammation, whereas social contact is associated with increased antiviral immunity,” conclude researchers. 7https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31600173/
Make time to connect with your colleagues or friends. Even brief interactions can boost wellbeing for everyone concerned!