A lot of us are working from home now because of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, some of us are also stuck at home because of job loss. If that’s you, I’m sorry.
We’re all adjusting to a new normal: homeschooling kids, online meetings, learning new technology platforms, finding alternate means of income, etc.
As someone who has been working from home for the last eight years, I have some tips to share with you that will help keep you sane, healthy, and fit!
How to work from home without going crazy
1. Get dressed first thing. It’s a slippery slope to Slobsville, and having been there myself, I don’t recommend it. Get up and get dressed. Don’t work in your pajamas. Do your hair. How you look affects how you feel, and you’ll feel better with a little grooming.
2. Create a morning ritual BEFORE you jump into your work. For example, I have a coffee and go for a dog walk first thing in the morning. It gets the blood moving, clears my mind, and makes me feel in control of my schedule. I start the day with a win!
Do something for YOU, and note how it makes you feel. Proud of yourself? Relaxed? Invigorated? Good. Then do more of that!
3. Have a dedicated work space. Don’t work from the bed. Or the couch. Don’t mix work with lounging areas. Avoid napping because this can negatively impact your sleep.
4. Go outside every day at lunch. Walk, sit outside, and get away from the walls. You may need to set an alarm on your phone to remind you to do this. Breathe in fresh air and feel the sun on your skin! You’ll sleep better and feel calmer.
5. Get the right setup – monitors, desk, etc. Clear away any clutter. Studies have shown that clutter can increase anxiety. (Research also shows clutter can lead to overeating for women more than men.)
6. Turn off the TV. No listening to the news in the background. It’s a distraction and a source of constant stimulation and stress. The news will be there when you take a break/knock off for the day. Control your exposure to negative information.
7. Prep your snacks and plan your food. My husband is now working from home now, due to COVID-19. The other day, he made 4 trips to the fridge in an hour. Like him, you may be tempted to graze with food so close at hand. So plan your food for the day in advance. Have healthy options and snacks available and remove visual triggers such as chips, nuts, crackers, and cookies on the counter. Anytime you feel tempted to stress eat or eat out of boredom ask yourself if you’re truly hungry. Also, see point #10 below.
8. Keep office hours as much as possible and shut down at a set time each day. It’s easy to just let work and life bleed together. Keep them separate for your mental health and the family’s well-being.
9. Start a home workout routine. This might be a good time to invest in some basic gym equipment and build a home gym.
10. Incorporate moments of self-care throughout the day. Meditate, breathe deeply, stretch, call a loved one, have a bubble bath, read a few pages from a book. Ensure you take care of yourself and give yourself moments of pleasure every day so you can manage your stress. Set an alarm if you have to, to remind yourself to take a break. There will always be work to do.