Here’s How to Biohack Your WFH Set-Up
If you’re back to working from home for the foreseeable and are already dreading the inevitable onslaught of everything from back pain caused by a dodgy desk set-up to brain fog caused by endless Zoom calls, don’t fret. A few simple and intuitive changes to your daily routine are all that’s needed to biohack your way to better health and wellbeing.
Wear blue light glasses
With our exposure to blue light having risen exponentially during the pandemic – a 2020 survey revealed that UK adults spent an average of 6 and a half hours every day in front of screens – blue light is becoming an increasing problem for not just our eyesight and skin, but for our sleep quality too. That’s because too much exposure to blue light, especially later in the day when our bodies should be getting ready to wind down for sleep, stops us secreting melatonin, the hormone that’s essential for good quality shut eye. Happily, blue light glasses offer affordable and easy protection against the damaging effects of blue light and can be worn successfully to minimise the exposure.
The constant flow of pings from our phones isn’t just disruptive to our productivity, it’s bad news for our mental state too as we try to navigate our way through a bombardment of (mostly unnecessary) information. Reducing the amount of notifications you get daily on your phone will quickly begin to reduce your digital interaction, which is good news for everything from your focus to your energy and stress levels. If you find that hard to do, don’t go cold turkey right away. Instead set usage limitations and recue the amount of access you have to your screen slowly. Use a self-timer or one of the myriad apps available and be strict with yourself about turn off time.
Taking regular breaks away from your screen is essential for your headspace if you’re working from home. As well as benefitting your eyesight, getting out into nature will help improve lymph flow, engage your muscles and improve your skeletal health. Getting exposure to as much natural light as possible is also important for regulating your circadian rhythm, which can take a whack if you’re working non-stop and spending hours in front of melatonin-inhibiting blue light devices. Being out in natural light triggers the release of serotonin, the feel-good hormone, which will not only help improve your general wellbeing and mood, but is also a precursor to melatonin.
Swap your desk
It might seem radical if you’ve only ever sat at your desk but switching your regular set-up for a standing desk could just be the solution to aches and pains that might have plagued you thus far during your WFH routine. Being sedentary isn’t just bad news for your posture – leading to something called forward head posture which puts pressure on your spine – it’s also detrimental to your breathing, upper neck and back and can cause stiffness, tightness and a range of long-term skeletal issues. If you can get a standing desk then great, but if you can’t, then all is not lost. Try looking for an attachment that will fit into your existing desk set-up that can increase height of computer so it’s eye level.
Use a grounding mat
Although research behind the principle of grounding, or earthing, is still in its infancy, converts to the technique extol its ability to reduce inflammation, lower stress levels, improve blood flow and promote better sleep. It’s thought to work by physically and electrically connecting you with the earth, which then allows the earth’s negatively charged antioxidants to counteract the build-up of positive free radical charge inside our bodies. To reap the rewards for yourself in a WFH situation, invest in a grounding mat which is plugged into the wall and keep your bare feet on it for at least 20 minutes a day while at your desk. Other options include grounding mouse mats which enable the same connection while your hand rests on your mouse.