Blog Posts

Working from Home can be unhealthy?

I was following Twitter today and saw my bud, Carrie Lauth, link to her blog article where she states “did you know that women who work from home are 50% more likely to get cancer?

There are a few things you can do to help this statistic, of course.

1. Open your windows.
2. Use safer cleaning products.
3. Eat more fruits and veggies. (Since I've been back on the South Beach Diet, I think I've eaten about 20 servings of veggies per day.)
4. Use sunscreen.
5. Get regular exercise.

So, my friends. What do you think of this statistic? Do you think it is reflective of us having a higher level of stress, or indoor air, or sitting on our butts too much?

I'd love to know your thoughts.

Nicole

I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Administrator
    Reply

    Doh! Also, work to reduce stress levels.
    Anyone else? I really would love to discuss this.

  • Susanne
    Reply

    The two main challenges for me are spending way too much time sitting in front of the computer and being around snack food all the time. With the fridge only steps away from my “office” it’s just too easy to just walk over there and grab a sugary snack to keep my concentration and/ or fight boredom.

    No wonder so many of us gain quite a few pounds when we start working from home.

    I now make a conscious effort to have us eating healthier and traded pizza delivery and dinner at Micky D’s for healthy homecooked meals. With a little extra planning, it is actually faster than takeout or frozen meals.

    I do think we have to make a bit more of an effort to stay healthy and keep our weight in control as wahms, but it can be done 🙂

    Susanne

  • Aurelia
    Reply

    WOW That is SCARY!! I would guess its being sedatary, the level of stress and many WAHMs eat at the PC and tend to snack rather than eat full balanced meals 🙂

    Still very scary stats

  • Administrator
    Reply

    I’ve got my window open now and I’m freezing my butt off — but at least I’m getting fresh air! (Wearing a sweatshirt and socks — well, and a skirt — in April in Florida. What the heck?!)

  • QuietMom
    Reply

    I believe it. I can’t wait for it to warm up a bit so i can open ALL the windows in the house.

    Find a natural sunscreen though – some of the ingreds in that stuff will kill you! 🙂

  • Carrie
    Reply

    Hey Nik, thanks for linking to the interview. According to the author of the book, it’s indoor air quality – or lack of quality lol!

    She recommends lots of houseplants that clean the air, using non toxic cleaning products and getting outside more.

    Interestingly, another expert that I heard give a speech a couple weeks ago said that research pointed to women having a MUCH harder time, stress wise, with the commute. Evidently our stress hormones go through the roof – whereas men mostly stayed the same.

  • Tishia Lee
    Reply

    That’s a really high statistic and makes me really stop and think about things. I’m definitely going to head over and listen to the interview Carrie did!

  • Jenny
    Reply

    I don’t know about it. I always have the windows open. And I don’t do the cleaning, my husband does. LOL

  • Treece
    Reply

    Cleaning products? Sunscreen? I think I should be okay since I never have time to clean and never see the sun!

  • Helen Byrne
    Reply

    Hi Nicole,
    I just went to your site for a flash of inspiration as I’m feeling a bit de-motivated at the moment! Read the post on working at home being unhealthy – certainly makes you think doesn’t it? I’ve definately gained weight since starting to work at home last October – mostly because I can’t tear myself away from my PC.
    I’m lucky to have a young son and and old dog though, so my morning routine hasn’t changed a bit. Up at 7.30, feed people and animals, see my son off to school, walk the dog and then be at my desk by 9.30. What I have done though is join a ladies gym and I now go Monday, Wed and Fri mornings first thing so my working day doesn’t start until 10.30. Along with a more healthy eating plan I think I’m feeling the benefits already.
    Regarding open windows – no thanks, not yet. We’re still getting sleet and snow here in North West England right now!! I’m actually wearing a thermal vest as I write……. :))

  • Administrator
    Reply

    Helen,

    Your post cracked me up. Sleet in April? Yikes!

    The first few years I worked from home, we *really* needed the money, so I was stressed and stopped taking care of myself. (Working long hours, eating poorly, and not exercising at all.) Needless to say, it was not a happy or healthy time.

    Now that my business has grown, I work a lot less, exercise daily, and am on the South Beach Diet eating plan which is working very well for me. (lots and lots and lots of veggies)

    I live in Florida, so my window is open right now. Maybe you should throw on a scarf and go on a 15 minute walk around noon. 😉

    Looking back, I really wish I had taken better care of myself. I think my work day would have been much more productive if I was healthier (and happier). I share my experience because I have seen friends whose marriages have crumbled, who have gained weight, gotten migraines and other stress-related illnesses, all while trying to build their businesses. I hope my story helps the moms realize that it is NECESSARY to take 15 minute breaks every hour or so to *shower* (wink), paint your toenails, go on a quick walk, kiss your husband, or prepare a healthy snack.

    Live and learn. Hopefully, I’m wiser now than I was. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!
    Nicole

  • Judi
    Reply

    Air quality inside is worse than outside. We bundle ourselves up in our well insulated houses. We need to open those windows and let the sunshine and fresh air in. Guess I can do that better than most. Nice and warm here in GA.

  • Ellen
    Reply

    I have been working for 8 years now helping families make their homes less toxic, and I can tell you for sure that indoor air quality (from household products) has a great deal to do with the the rates of not only cancer, but asthma, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and many other illnesses that are growing out of control. On another front, as a WAHM, I really have to make an effort to get out and get exercise as it’s way too easy to spend all day at the computer! But eating well, exercise, AND cleaning up our indoor environments all go a long way to protecting ourselves from chronic disease. Thanks for the great post, Nicole!

  • Carole
    Reply

    It sound so scary and I hate to think about that. I know many of us tend to keep window closed through the winter to keep the house warm. I usually open window about one inch once a week for about few hours or half a day. I mostly prefer my bedroom where I sleep there and breath through the night plus others sleep in my room as well. Thanks for letting us know about mom who stay home get cancer.( I stay home a lot).It time for me to change my thinking and habit. Wow! I never thought of that.

  • Carrie
    Reply

    Nicole, I emailed the author who said the stat you mentioned, and she said it was indeed a combo of indoor air quality and also fumes from toxic cleaning products.

    Incidentally a woman I interviewed who owned a natural cleaning service – she said there are really scary stats about women who work in the cleaning industry, they have a much higher cancer risk because of exposure to cleaning chemicals.

    Let’s all grab the vinegar, baking soda… and open the windows! 🙂

  • Administrator
    Reply

    Hi Carrie.

    I agree that, in this stat, the indoor air quality is the main issue. I just think that eating lots of veggies and getting regular exercise helps our bodies to fight a lot of illnesses. (And, as work at home moms, we may not take the best care of ourselves.)
    I hope I didn’t confuse the author’s original statement. I was just adding my 2 cents and inviting more discussion on other issues relating to being healthy as a work at home mom. 🙂

    Thanks for the clarification!
    Nicole

  • Shannon
    Reply

    Nicole,
    Thanks for bringing this up. I am not a stay at home mom but I am a stay at home wife. As a newly crowned Uterine cancer survivor 559 days as of today I am very much for awareness. However with so much false information out there I am extremely cautious. Can anyone show proven studies of this by the AMA or American Cancer Society? I need concrete proof. Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying it isn’t true I just need more concrete validation.

  • Administrator
    Reply

    Hey Shannon,

    I agree. That’s why I’m making this a discussion about health in general while working from home. We all can do things to be healthier. I see my friends stressing and not taking care of themselves. (Not exercise, not eating well, feeling anxiety, etc.)

    We’ll check with the author to see where she got her stats.

    Nicole

  • Carrie
    Reply

    Hey again,

    I added a comment from Lynne on my blog Nicole – I emailed her asking about this since it raised so much interest, and she wrote back saying it was indeed an issue of indoor air quality.

    The air inside our homes is anywhere from 2 to 10 TIMES dirtier than the air just outside the front door! Add this to the stats that show that women who work in the cleaning business have double the rate of cancer, and it makes sense. Not only are we spending too much time in tight houses, but we’re using chemicals to clean and deodorize (even candles) our homes.

    Take home message – what you said. 😉 Open doors and windows, use vinegar and baking soda to clean, use all natural candles, and get out more.

    Lynne’s book was VERY well researched. She (along with her brother who cowrote the book) basically analyzed all the available research on cancer and put all the info together in one book. She’s an M.D. too, not just someone starting internet hoaxes. 🙂

  • Administrator
    Reply

    Thanks, girlfriend! 🙂
    Nicole

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