13 Wellness Tips for Working from Home

Prioritize your self-care while working remotely with Toronto-inspired wellness tips.

By Katrina Riccio

Working from home has both its upsides and downsides. For one, not having to commute lends to more personal time, whether it’s spent sleeping in or sipping your morning coffee extra slow. And having pets as coworkers is also a nice perk. Moreover, you get to arrange your space however you want, making it your own work haven.

Woman sitting on the floor working on a laptop

But, there are also some drawbacks to working remotely. Studies claim that stress levels have risen because people now take fewer breaks. Or that remote workers don’t move as much, because without a regular commute, their incentive to go outside lessens. 

So how do we adapt to make our work-from-home days the best they can be? By implementing safe, healthy and productive habits that’ll get your body active and your mind in a positive state. Luckily, we’ve uncovered Toronto’s best products, activities and virtual offerings to transform your work habits for the better.

1. Commute to your neighbourhood coffee shop

Yes, one of the biggest benefits of working from home is that we no longer waste time on lengthy and stressful commutes. However, commutes do add to our sense of normalcy, mentally preparing us for our workday ahead with an official arrival and transitioning from work to home with a departure. On the bright side, now that you work from home, you can make up your own daily commute or better yet, your own morning ritual, to welcome the day ahead. Because rolling out of bed and directly to our laptops just doesn’t feel natural anymore.

Grabbing an early morning coffee (and croissant, because why not) at your neighbourhood coffee shop is a purposeful way to get outside early. It’s an excuse to wear actual clothes and add structure to your mornings. Plus, on the way to your caffeine fix, you’ll have much-needed personal time prior to your upcoming day. Here are some delicious Toronto cafés you may want to implement into your morning routine: Quantum Coffee, Sam James Coffee Bar, Strange Love Coffee, Dineen Coffee Co., Jimmy’s Coffee, Rooster Coffee House, among many others.

ALSO READ: Coffee, Your Way

2. Clear your head with a cultural distraction

No. We don’t mean Netflix.

In the moments when you’re feeling uninspired and crave a stimulating distraction, browse an exhibit from the convenience of your home office. It’s been well documented that when you’re stuck on a problem, clearing your mind by focusing on something completely different inspires new ideas.

Power Plant Virtual Tour

Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and Aga Khan Museum offer online tours of select exhibits. From the Silks of Highland Madagascar to City Life in Congo, take a short cerebral vacation with the healing power of art.

3. Sweat, downward dog or box it out

With winter in full gear and wind that sometimes—we hate to say it—hurts our faces, we’ll be getting out less. Even more so with quarantine restrictions in place. With that in mind, it’s important to keep your body healthy and strong for many reasons. Not only does daily exercise increase alertness and energy levels by circulating fresh blood and oxygen throughout your body, but it also calms your nervous system (reducing stress, yay!), while giving you a much-needed break from your keyboard. Rolling out your mat and getting in a 30-minute workout at the start, end or even middle of your workday is a huge game-changer.

Many Toronto gyms, yoga, Pilates, boxing and even Karate studios currently offer online classes through paid memberships or for free on their social channels. Here are some recommendations: YogaTree, Union Yoga + Wellness, Octopus Garden Yoga, Toronto Boxing Academy, Sweat and Tonic, Muse Movement, Toronto Academy of Karate and the National Ballet of Canada—the National Ballet’s free collection of gratitude classes are specifically for quarantine challenges.

4. Take a transcendental time out

Meditation is trendy these days and with good reason. Considering our fast-paced lifestyles and non-stop consumption of information, it’s nice to turn off our brains every now and then. But let’s be real, it’s not easy. The good news is that even just 5-minutes of daily meditation can have a huge impact on our overall well-being.

If you’re like most and your mind races a mile-a-minute, then guided meditation classes are a good place to start. It takes the pressure off as your mind simply follows instructions, heading toward a relaxed state. Toronto-based meditation studio Hoame offers free guided meditations on their Instagram, complete with singing bowls and stretching. Meditation Toronto also offers free sessions via Facebook.

5. Indulge in a mini spa escape

Create your own spa experience at home and self-care during your lunch break! Whether it’s a bubble bath, a facial or preparing an energy-boosting smoothie, pampering yourself can happen any time and in any way.

Keep in mind that the right products and ambiance make all the difference. Loti Wellness, a local health and beauty shop, helps customers create their own spa-like environment. With a focus on supporting small businesses, the Toronto-based company curates Wellness Boxes filled with Canadian self-care items. Products include bath bombs, face masks, teas, candles, towels, natural creams and even cooking utensils. 

Other amazing, all-natural Toronto companies to consider for your at-home spa include SaltZ&Co, Lovefresh and Matter Company.

Also read: Amazing Toronto Experiences Delivered to You

6. Dance it off to curated playlists 

Like the wise Taylor Swift once sang, sh-sh-sh-shake it off, shake it off! If you want to move but the weather outside is frightful, there’s nothing a short dance-a-thon won’t fix. Dancing is a gentle and fun way to get in your daily cardio, while also boosting your mood and energy levels.

Lucky for you, we’ve put together Spotify playlists featuring Toronto’s talented artists. Let loose throughout your day, or fill your space with uplifting beats while you work.

7. Plan a virtual lunch with your coworkers

Raise your hand if you miss grabbing food with your coworkers. We hear you. Instead, order in to your at-home offices and have lunch together, on-screen. At least there won’t be any arguments on where to eat and everyone can enjoy their favourite meals.

8. Unwind with colour

Over the years, adult colouring rose in popularity because it’s not only relaxing, it’s also easy and hassle-free. Unlike other crafts, you don’t have to worry about making a mess. Instead, calmly stay in the lines—or not, no judgement—and enter your chill zone.

If you don’t own a colouring book, print out these creative pages online, courtesy of the Toronto Raptors and Toronto-based illustrator Carmen Lew.

9. Enjoy a guided neighbourhood stroll

A lunchtime or afternoon walk is especially needed these days. Whether you’re walking your dog or taking your daily jog, freshen up your regular route with these self-guided tours from StrollTO. Part of ShowLoveTO, StrollTO highlights your neighbourhood’s businesses and artists, with historic stops on the way.

ALSO READ: Cycling Routes for Foodies Who Love Art

10. Craft your stress away

Peacefully channel your stressful energy into a creative side project. Working with your hands soothes anxiety and allows you to remain present. Focusing on the craft at hand eases your mind and taps into the visual nooks of your brain. In the long-term, this increases memory retention and helps process information.

The Make Station, a Toronto-based company, created at-home craft kits that easily ship to any address. Their kits come in different themes and include all the tools and instructions you’d need for your craft. Different types of crafts you can work with are clay, ceramic, embroidery and more.

11. Cook your favourite meal

Cooking your own meal comes with a long list of emotional benefits. For one, it’s a creative challenge with a delicious end reward. It requires 100% of your focus and attention, naturally getting you in the zone. And you’ll save money! All the birds with one stone. Toronto’s top chefs recently put together an open-source cookbook featuring iconic dishes—like Pizzeria Libretto’s thin crust pizza! There’s even a downloadable PDF. Best. Lunch. Ever.

12. Mix in your own happy hour

Happy hour is wellness too, right? This happy hour also comes with alcohol-free cocktails. End your work-from-home day by donning your mixologist hat (or apron) and mixing up a delicious cocktail, that’s also Insta-worthy.

Browse Cocktail Emporium’s page of recipes, including virgin cocktails, categorized by type. There’s a cocktail for every mood and taste, all equally delicious and eye-pleasing. Cheers!

13. Invite nature into your work space

Plants are naturally calming, aesthetically pleasing, inspire creativity and some even filter the air. The list goes on. And when you’re stuck inside, it’s comforting to bring elements of the outside, in. 

We’re not saying to turn your home office into a greenhouse, unless you really want to. It can be as subtle as adding a few plants from Toronto favourite, Stamen & Pistil Botanicals—they’re currently open for curbside pickup, are available to answer any questions and conveniently offer delivery.

If you don’t have a green thumb but still crave a natural mood enhancer, Crown Flora Studio offers a flower subscription delivery service. Have a fresh bouquet of flowers delivered to you every week and notice the positive change of energy in your space.

About the Author

Katrina Riccio is a copywriter who moved to Toronto from Montreal. Like most millennials her age she loves to travel, taking photos of food, watering her plants and caring for her cat. Follow Katrina and her cat’s adventures on Instagram or check out her website to see what she’s currently working on.

See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.

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