Working from home and grazing all day? Here’s how to stop

Creating a healthy work-life balance is hard when working out of an office, let alone if work and life are happening in the same space. For many of us, COVID-19 has meant a change in our daily routines. Many of us are now working from home. In theory, it is easier to be healthy when working from home—no office snacks, home-cooked meals and flexibility to work out whenever you want. But the reality is however slightly different. 

Many people tend to work slouching on their couch, walking into the kitchen for snacks when bored or even just eating peanut butter out of the jar the whole day as you didn’t get enough time to make lunch. Even with dental upkeep, there’s been a decline in brushing—most notably dropping the morning brushing or flossing habit. With increased snacking and reduced oral hygiene, we can all imagine the risks that may arise from such a routine. So how can we keep your healthy habits in check when your home is your office?

Create designated workspace

Try to create a workspace that is designated for your work hours—ideally, away from the kitchen and couch. This will assure you have materials ready at the designated table triggering a working mindset. When choosing a workspace, always take into consideration the lighting, noise level and physical comfort of the room. Make sure you have an ergonomic chair to avoid back and posture problems. Research shows that organising work materials, adding framed photos or even having plants in your workspace can soothe you and lower your stress levels. No wonder why we have all become indoor plant fanatics!

Be organised

Having a schedule for your day is very important. Setting a start and finish time and separating that from normal life activities is very crucial. This also includes setting out times for meals and exercise. Also, when organising your day, keep in mind the time of day you’re most active and tired—this helps to organise activities according to your energy levels. 

Prep your meals

Nutrition is very important to stay energised and focused throughout the day. Try and stock your house with healthy foods and plan out the meals for the day/week ahead of time to avoid temptation and overeating. Try to structure your day to include three main meals, two snacks and regular drink breaks. 

Avoid grazing 

As mentioned in the previous newsletter, grazing habit is the frequent eating of food, during undefined periods in the day. Constant grazing can lead to weight gain, which in turn can lead to the development of chronic diseases. 

Every time we eat or drink, our teeth experience an ‘acid attack.’  This is where the good, protective minerals are taken out of the teeth making them softer and more susceptible to decay and the scale tips in the favour of tooth decay.  Our saliva, over the space of 20 minutes buffs these acids and replaces the good minerals back into our teeth, making them harder and stronger again. When we graze throughout the day, our teeth are also under a constant acid attack and our saliva cannot work quickly enough to balance this attack. This is when you will start to form a hole or cavity in your tooth.

Try to limit eating to mealtimes and reduce the frequency of how often you are snacking on sugary or acidic foods and beverages. If you are a grazer, choose ‘tooth friendly’ foods and beverages such as carrot sticks, cucumber, hummus, tzatziki, cheese and crackers, plain yogurt, nuts and seeds. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. This also helps the saliva to remineralise your teeth. 

Schedule workout in your calendar

Regular exercise has shown to not only improve overall fitness but also help lower stress and increase your energy levels. The key is to plan a workout that can be easily done and scheduled into a part of your day. 

Relax

Relaxing is just as important as working out. Make sure breaks include something that calms or destresses you—it can be yoga, doing some painting, meditating, taking a walk or even cooking a meal. If you are not careful though, sometimes relaxing sessions can turn into Netflix sessions or hour-long naps.

Maintain regular dental habits

It is important to ensure you are still brushing your teeth morning and night when working from home. Rather than waking up and going straight to your laptop to start work, schedule in your daily oral hygiene habits as first thing in the morning, then eat a healthy breakfast and then start the working day.  

As always remember to keep up with your routine dental checks and hygiene appointments. This will also help to prevent damage to your teeth and keep your oral health in check.