5 Health Issues You Can’t Overlook When Working From Home

There are innumerable reasons why you might consider going into business for yourself, particularly when it comes to ventures like affiliate marketing, professional blogging, and other online businesses with minimal startup costs or overhead, and near limitless potential. Compared to a more traditional kind of job, you can save a lot of money working from home. Writing off those business expenses is no joke, and the passive and recurring income opportunities mean that you have the chance to work fewer hours but actually make more money.

Of course, there’s always a trade-off. The home office is also riddled with distractions, for example, and you could end up putting in tons of hours and not necessarily reaping an equivalent financial benefit. There’s risk involved. And another area that you mustn’t overlook is your health. When you’re working for yourself from home, it’s so easy to let these things slide. Keep them on your radar and make sure you’re addressing them appropriately.

1. Dehydration

Health experts generally recommend that you drink about eight glasses of water a day. At about 8 ounces (or 250 milliliters) each, that works out to about half a gallon (or two liters). It’s debatable how much of this you can suitably replace with tea, coffee or other beverages, but just plain old water (maybe with a squirt of lemon or lime juice) is usually best for you anyhow.

When you’re sitting in front of the computer for hours on end, it can be easy to overlook this simple health recommendation. To prevent dehydration and to serve as a visual reminder, the easiest thing you can do is get a good sized bottle (500mL to 1L is pretty typical) and drink from it throughout the day. Finish one in the morning before lunch, finish one in the afternoon before dinner, and finish one more after dinner.

2. Eye Strain

It probably won’t surprise you that staring at a computer screen all day is pretty hard on your eyes. That’s why you should take regular breaks; they say it’s a good practice to stare off at something in the distance (ideally green-colored) for several seconds after a period of activity in front of the computer.

Really, it’s the light toward the blue end of the spectrum that is causing the most eye fatigue for you, and this “blue” light makes up a big part of what we see on computer monitors, smartphones, tablets and other displays. I like to use a program called f.lux on my computer that adjusts the color temperature of my computer’s display based on time of day. Another option are blue-filtering glasses, like those from Gunnar Optiks.

3. Back Pain

I had a chat with my chiropractor about this the other day. We all know that sitting for extended periods of time puts a lot of pressure on our tailbones and hips, and it lends itself to terrible posture over time. I know I suffer from this. I asked my chiropractor if standing desks were actually superior to sitting desks.

What he said is that they have their benefits, but standing for extended periods of time isn’t great either. More important is that we vary our positions and our movements. Sit in an office chair for a while, then walk around. Stand at your desk for a while, then walk around. Sit on an exercise ball for a while, then stretch. The more variety the better, as it keeps you limber (and hopefully reduces back, hip, neck and shoulder pain too).

You might remember when I wrote about Kanban boards and the Pomodoro technique a while back. Those are a good framework to use to remind you to move around. It’s also a good chance to go refill that water bottle of yours.

4. Malnutrition

It’s ironic. Or at least counterintuitive. Since you’re working from home, you’d think that you’d have more time to go grocery shopping. You’ll have more time to put together healthy meals from scratch. Except, chances are, you probably won’t. You’ll get pulled down the rabbit hole of work and the Internet and end instant noodles and canned soup. That’s not good.

Sure, you may be able to indulge in a delicious sushi lunch or dinner at Restaurant Guy Savoy Las Vegas every now and then, but healthy eating needs to become a healthy habit of working from home too. Make the conscious decision to eat as healthily as possible.

5. Sleep Issues

This is one of those health issues that could wildly swing both ways when you work from home. You could get so absorbed with work (or mindlessly distracted by the bottomless pit of social media and YouTube), that you don’t get into bed until the wee hours of the early morning. Both the quality and the quantity of your sleep could be diminished.

Conversely, since you don’t have an outright obligation to start working at a specific time, like how you would with a normal job, you might find yourself sleeping in until noon (or even later). There’s no need to clock in or report for a shift, so why bother, right? In this way, you could end up sleeping too much… which isn’t great for your health either.

And then there’s the whole issue with quality of sleep too. Those late night blue screens could make it harder for you to fall asleep. Stressing about affiliate commissions and new blog post ideas could have you waking up several times a night too. These are all concerns that need your attention.

Have you been working from home for some time now? What are some of your biggest health concerns?