Staying at home has not only changed our lives but also our routines. A big casualty has been our body clock, which has led to erratic sleep and disrupted schedules. Now, when the world will soon get back to normal, can we return to our original routines?
No number of drugs, pills or medicines can ever replace the magic of a good sound sleep, shares Coutinho.
For Mumbai-based IT professional Snehanshu Mandal, the big culprit is work from home. Earlier, WFH meant quick meetings or urgent work requirements, but the pandemic blurred the lines, making Mandal work almost 18-19 hours a day. “With offices shut worldwide, IT departments are working round the clock. There have been times we had dinner around midnight. I could not devote time to my eight-year-old daughter,” rues Mandal, who ended up working in extreme stress, leading to irregular food habits and weight gain. He now wants to get back to his regular routine. “I am so looking forward to joining regular office, though it’s not immediately on the cards… but gradually, we will get back to the regular schedule,” says Mandal, who has clients all over the world.
Experts feel working from home has not only changed regular lifestyle, but also disrupted the sleep cycle, which, in turn, can lead to health risks. “WFH of late has led to other problems of mental fatigue and physical inactivity, which have definitely impacted our lives… but the lines between on- and off-work have been so blurred that work pressure has entered the bedroom. Earlier, an average working professional was exposed to the screen for 8-10 hours… that time has now increased to 15 hours or more,” offers MS Kanwar, senior consultant, respiratory medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Delhi.
Also, most corporate jobs and private organisations demand crazy work hours and have made employees work 24×7. “Once you finish the day late, you will start the next day late as well. And once you begin the day late, everything from there on is just a rush hour. This sort of work schedule can disrupt the sleep cycle and overall mental well-being,” says Manjari Chandra, consultant therapeutic and functional nutritionist, Max Healthcare, Delhi.
The problem lies with our inability to have a routine, says Mumbai-based Luke Coutinho, holistic lifestyle coach, integrative medicine. “WFH knows no end if you do not set a timeline for every task and have a timetable for yourself. The problem also lies with our inability to have a routine. There are so many who are able to keep up with this new normal and yet get in their exercise, sleep, family time and self-time. The key is discipline. Plan a day according to this approach—from 24 hours in a day, take out eight hours for sleep since that’s a priority. This leaves us with 16 hours. How much time do you want to devote to work, workout, play, family, yourself? This way you won’t miss out on any other part of life,” he advises.