Trucker Tools recently had to good fortune to speak with Dr. Rhonda Bompensa-Zimmerman, Director of Fitness and Wellness at GlobalTranz. After a career in education and corporate health and wellness, Rhonda earned a Ph.D. in health psychology and joined the GlobalTranz team in 2019 to support the 400 plus employees onsite at the company’s headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz. She offers monthly wellness webinars, fitness assessments, group exercise classes, weekly meditation sessions, and one-on-one employee consultations encompassing nutrition, physical fitness and mental health. 

In our conversation with Rhonda, we asked her how remote workers can maintain good mental and physical health despite the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Rhonda, it’s all about practicing self-compassion and self-care. Check out Rhonda’s wellness tips for remote workers.

1. Create Separation Between Work and Home

“The biggest challenge as a remote worker is how to manage your work-life schedule,” said Rhonda. “There’s a big issue with feelings of not having that space for me time and work time. One of the big things that I’ve heard is that people don’t feel like they can shut off work. I recommend that you have a place to go, such as stepping outside for some sunlight. You have to put that on your schedule to make sure you’re prioritizing stepping away from your work. Another helpful tip, if you’re working in your bedroom, cover the computer with something when you’re not working because as soon as you see it in your peripheral vision, you’re going to go into work reactive mode.”

2. Show Yourself Compassion

“It’s important to have some self-compassion and know that you’re not irrational,” Rhonda advised. “There’s nothing wrong with you feeling emotional or not perky because we’re socially isolated right now and that’s a real thing. There’s research coming out now showing that those little day to day interactions of going to the coffee shop and the grocery store or doing errands like we used to without masks really does create some positive brain chemistry. Visually seeing each other’s smiles, that is a natural unconscious healthy interaction, and that is gone. It’s important to recognize that and have compassion for yourself. Tell yourself that you’re doing the best that you can at the moment.”

3. Develop a Morning Routine

“There is plenty of research that shows the simple act of having a pre-work morning routine is good for us,” Rhonda said. “You can slowly wake your brain up by going outside, even if it’s cold. Exposure to sunlight in the morning is a way to release those happy chemicals in our brain to affect our mental status and alertness. Exercising and avoiding turning on technology that is work related in the morning gives you time to be with yourself to see how you feel before getting into your remote workday. If you went to bed the night before and maybe were upset, in the morning you might feel better, but if you don’t pay attention to that, you might miss it — you might not notice that you feel better.” 

There is plenty of research that shows the simple act of having a pre-work morning routine is good for us,” Rhonda said. “You can slowly wake your brain up by going outside, even if it’s cold. Exposure to sunlight in the morning is a way to release those happy chemicals in our brain to affect our mental status and alertness. Exercising and avoiding turning on technology that is work related in the morning gives you time to be with yourself to see how you feel before getting into your remote workday. If you went to bed the night before and maybe were upset, in the morning you might feel better, but if you don’t pay attention to that, you might miss it — you might not notice that you feel better.

4. Practice Interrupted Sitting

“We have an interrupted sitting competition going on right now,” said Rhonda. “I’m pretty excited about that. When I say interrupted sitting, I mean do you get up every hour for five or 10 minutes to stretch your legs and get the blood flowing? Doing so really helps with your cognitive functioning and how you’re showing up. Moving helps you better manage stress. It’s just good for your body. It helps with chronic pain, inflammation, and things of that nature, as well. Even though you’re not exerting a lot of energy, you are still firing up your muscles, increasing your heart rate, waking up your back muscles and increasing your mobility levels throughout the day. It helps prevent anxiety, too.”

5. Stay Connected

“Probably if we were able to look at imaging of our brains today versus two years ago, it would look very different because now certain parts of our brain that were used to being out and about and alert aren’t as activated now,” Rhonda said. “Now that isolation is setting in, those connections aren’t wired and that can make us feel anxious, irritable, or depressed. Wellness to me means building positive, authentic relationships and staying connected. I understand that’s hard in today’s situation, but even those little day to day connections help with stress and anxiety. So pick up the phone and call someone — that’s what we tell our team.”

Trucker Tools recently surveyed nearly 200 truckers about their health and fitness goals and challenges. Find out what they had to say in Results from Our Trucker Health and Fitness Survey: Key Takeaways for Brokers. Schedule a free demo of Trucker Tools’ real-time freight tracking platform, digital freight matching and Book It Now®.