Being a work at home mom is a wonderful feeling – you get to be there when your kids need you while still contributing financially to your family. Plus, you never have to make that wretched 7am commute – and no need for a work wardrobe! (Although you can always try the Official Work Uniform of the Take Action Wahm!)
But the stay at home blogger lifestyle also has a downside: it can take a serious toll on your health without you even noticing. When you’re a full-time blogger, you spend a lot of your time sitting in front of the computer, staring at your monitor – and that has consequences. I’m going to go over a few ways to avoid some of those consequences here.
Stretching and Exercise
Sitting for long periods is really, really bad for you. To start with, when your body is at rest for so long, your heart isn’t getting the exercise it needs. Also, when you stay in the same position for long periods at a time, muscles like your quadriceps can actually shorten and your hamstrings can loosen. Backaches and poor mobility can be the real results.
I’m a prime example – last year, we were in a tiny apartment and I spent all my time in a cramped office. I wasn’t taking care of myself, and I got to where I had trouble walking around my house, and going up and down the stairs to our apartment was like climbing Everest. I was actually afraid to walk to the market (about 3 blocks) on my own, for fear of falling or getting hurt.
It’s vital that you do daily stretching and exercises. Start by doing some stretches when you first wake up, to get everything loosened before you sit down at the computer. Once every 30-60 minutes, stand up and stretch it all out again. Reach up to the sky, then bend down to touch your toes. Look up some good quadricep stretches online and do a couple. It only takes a minute to stretch out your back and legs.
Every 2-3 hours, do a 15-minute session of some aerobics – play with the kids, dance to some music, run around the block, play fetch with your dog. Something, anything, that gets you up and moving around. I like to do a quick trip down to the ground floor and back, just to get the blood flowing again and help prevent blood clots – another danger from sitting too long.
I’ve actually started using a 45/15 minute schedule while I work. When I sit down, I set a timer for 45 minutes. When it goes off, I get up and move for 15 minutes. I’ve started doing modified planks (with a chair, I can’t get all the way down on the ground yet!), I go up and down the stairs, I wash dishes, make the bed, fold the clothes, clean a bathroom – just some moderate activity that gets me up on my feet and moving around.
Not only is it better for my health, it’s helped me become much more productive as I try to finish as much as I can before the 45-minute timer goes off.
Of course, the absolute best option is a standing desk. If you’ve got a high kitchen or breakfast bar, you may be able to stand and work there for part of your work time. Anytime you can be up on your feet while you work is a plus for your health.
Your surroundings while you work have an effect on your mental health. As wahms, our work environment is the same as our resting environment, and this can cause a couple of different issues for us.
For one thing, it makes getting out of the house difficult – especially if you’ve got small kids. I’ve gone for days and days without stepping foot outside of my own yard! That cabin fever and sense of isolation can really take a toll, causing you to feel depressed or angry.
You can help prevent it by creating a designated work space and setting work hours. If you can have an office, that’s awesome, if not, have a dedicated space – a corner in your bedroom or somewhere that is just for work. When you’re working, be in that spot. When work is done for the day, put your work stuff away and do stuff in other parts of the house.
I know it can be really difficult when your house is small and there are kids underfoot and your work time has to revolve around naps and bedtimes. But do the best you can to create a division between work and life, however you have to do it.
Get out of the house as often as you can, even if that means getting Grandma or the kid next door to come sit with the kids for a couple of hours while you hit Starbucks or the library to work a while. Check out my article 7 Ways for Stay at Home Moms to Beat Stress and Isolation for more ideas on reducing isolation and cabin fever when you’re a wahm.
It’s really important that you find a way to manage your work/life balance. If you don’t, it can feel like you’re always working, and at the same time like you never get anything finished. The discipline to maintain that separation can make a huge difference in your health and your success.
If this information was helpful to you, I hope you’ll click on one of those share buttons at the bottom – I’ll love ya for it 🙂 Now get out there and start taking action – taking care of you!