Tips For Working From Home

If you are used to life in the office and are currently struggling with working from home, we’ve gathered a few little tips to make things easier.

1. Create a work space
Although it can be tempting to stay in bed or head straight for the sofa it’s best to set up a dedicated workspace, this will help you maintain good posture, avoid distractions and let you leave work at the end of the day. If you don’t have a desk, use your dining room table.

2. Stick with your routine
It can be far too easy to roll out of bed in the morning and log straight onto your computer but it’s important to keep to your usual daily routine. Wake up at your normal time, shower and get dressed into something other than your pajamas. These steps will help you mentally prepare for the work day ahead.
To maintain a good work-life balance, remember to switch of your computer and tidy away any papers at the end of your working day.

3. Don’t forget to move about
It’s good to have a routine when you’re working from home, but work shouldn’t become monotonous. It’s important to take regular screen breaks and get up from your desk and move around just as you would in an office.
While you might not miss your daily commute to and from the office, it does guarantee that you leave the house at least once during the day.
So get your shoes on, get outside and enjoy that fresh air for your hour of exercise. A different perspective will also help undo mental blocks and give you a fresh pair of eyes for any tasks you’re struggling with.

4. Stay connected with your colleagues
When you’re at work, you likely to talk to a variety of colleagues throughout the day but when you’re working from home, you could go the whole day without speaking to anyone which can be isolating. Make some time to pick up the phone, or start a video call, and have a real conversation rather than relying on emails.

Keep Your Mind Busy

If you’re bored and are looking for activities to fill your day and keep your mind busy, take a look at the ideas below. Got more ideas? Share them on our social media pages.

Learn something new
> We’re currently exploring how many of our courses can be offered online so we hope to see you in our virtual classes very soon! Keep an eye out for an email or social media post announcing this new provision. We plan to start something after Easter. In the meantime, why not take a look at our current range of online and distance learning options. To see these courses visit our Distance Learning page.

Stay Connected
> Make plans to video chat with the people you’d normally see in person, if video isn’t your style communicate through phone calls, instant messages or texts.
> You could write letters and find yourself a penpal. There is a whole host of people you could write to nursing homes, prisons, hospitals, armed forces and individuals abroad. If this interests you, you can do a Google Search for Penpals and find the one that suits you.

Plant some flowers
> Bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical well being by improving your mood, reducing feelings of stress and anger and making you feel more relaxed.
> If you are able to buy seeds, flowers or plants online for delivery why not introduce some welcome colour to your house or garden and plant some flowers. With the sun starting to emerge, it is the perfect time to get out in the garden and watch your flowers bloom.

Get crafty and creative
> Let your creative juice flow. Start your own arts and crafts challenge, from sketching and mindful colouring to pottery, knitting or embroidery. Stuck for ideas? 64 Million Artists have some great suggestions to get you started.
> How many pictures do you have stored on your phone or computer? Turn those treasured memories into a photo album or scrapbook. You can either print your photos off at home to create your photo album from scratch or there are many online services that will let you create a wonderful photo album/scrap book for a fee.
> Up-cycling is a great way to bring new life to your old pieces of furniture. A lick of paint, maybe some new upholstery, a dash of wallpaper and your pieces could look completely different.

Switch up your entertainment
> Although libraries are closed for the time being, some libraries have apps that you can use online. These allow you to borrow eBooks, audio books or magazines from home for free if you are a library member. You can also pay to download books via iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Kindle and more. Find a service that suits you and you could read thousands of books ranging from biographies and cookbooks to magazines and best-seller books that have recently been released.
> How many films and TV shows have you missed that you you’ve been dying to catching up on. Now is your chance, if you want more of a range than is offered on the TV there are several subscription services you can sign up to that will offered you a whole host of films and TV shows, many of which offer a free trial before you get start paying.
> If you want to get your eyes off of a screen, why not tackle a tricky jigsaw puzzle or put your brain to the test with crosswords, Sudoku, word search and more.
> If you live with several people, gather together and play board games. There are hundreds of board games from the classic Monopoly to more unique games like ‘Escape Room In A Box’.

Clean and declutter
> Dedicate some of your time and attention to declutter your home. Search through your home for items that are broken and damaged, that don’t fit you anymore or simply just don’t work for your current style. This is a great way of finding old favourites that might have been stashed away and makes organisation a breeze once you’re done.

Maintaining A Healthy Diet

Maintaining a healthy diet can be difficult in times of stress, we’ve collected a few handy tips to try and help make it a little bit easier.

Make set meal times and stick to them
With many of us spending our days at home it can be too easy to let structure slide. But sticking to this is important to maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding eating those unnecessary snacks.

Keep healthy snacks around
Keeping healthy and nutritious snacks nearby will ensure you don’t head straight to the Easter Chocolate. We love these snacks combinations: nuts and dried fruit, hummus and carrots and cheese and apple.

Plan your meals in advance
It’s easy to run out of inspiration for what to prepare when all your meals are being eaten at home. Try to plan out a couple of days’ worth of meals, if you can plan for the whole week even better. This will help you to figure out what you need and don’t already have at home, thus preventing waste and saving you money.

If you do need inspiration there is a fantastic array of recipes on the BBC Food website.

Use up your fresh ingredients first
You don’t want any food to go to waste, so use up perishable ingredients before foods with a longer shelf life.

Take advantage of your freezer
Reduce food waste by freezing leftovers. Big, one pot dishes such as chilli, curry and stews freeze particularly well and are a great recipes to pack full of vegetables, helping you reach your 5 a day. For breakfast you can make smoothies with a selection of frozen fruit such as berries and bananas.

Don’t forget, we have a fantastic range of cookery and cake decorating classes, keep and eye on our website and social media pages for updates when these are back up and running.

Missing Your Exercise?

With fitness classes cancelled and gyms closed, you might be missing your regular routine but that doesn’t mean you need to skip your exercise altogether.

Current government guidelines means we can leave the house for one form of exercise a day whether this is running, walking or cycling – alone or with members of your household. For some this isn’t enough, but there are plenty of exercises you can do within the confines of your home that can be both fun and rewarding. Before you decide which forms of exercise to undertake, please consider any advice and support you have already received from your GP or health experts.

If your home has stairs, walking up and down them is a brilliant form of exercise, you can supplement this with using rice packets to add some resistance to your arm movement. Another option is to create your own Yoga routine. Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. There is a wealth of resources on Google and YouTube to help you create your own routines. If you’re not interested in yoga, how about Pilates or Tai Chi?

It is also important to remember to do some workstation exercises to help reduce any aches and pains caused by working from home. Where possible, stand up during some of your tasks and stretch regularly.
Why not take a look at this video, posted on Facebook by The Perrymount Clinic showing you how to do a few simple exercises that you can do sitting down to stretch you back and neck.

Don’t forget, there are home tasks that are considered activity:
> Gardening – the stretching and reaching that takes place while you are gardening can help you tremendously.
> Ironing – believe it or not, the side to side movement done during ironing is very beneficial to us. It allows the muscles on the sides of your legs and back to work, more than they would do in your day to day activities.

If you’re looking for more information take a look at these resources:
NHS sitting exercises
NHS gym-free workouts
Sport England how to stay active during coronavirus restrictions

Keep an eye out on our website and social media pages for updates on when our fitness courses are back up and running.