Working from home was once a rare treat for most of the workforce. It meant doing laundry on a conference call or stepping out for a run in the middle of a sunny afternoon. But in quarantine, it has taken on a whole new crazy-making meaning.
We spoke to some freelancers and other veterans of remote-working and came up with these 5 easy tips to maintain sanity. May their wisdom prevent you from inventing imaginary friends (but if they have cool accents, by all means, carry on!), pulling out that gorgeous hair, or telling your roommate to shove it for the millionth time.
5. Get ready in the morning. Like actually.
It may seem like the only benefit of all of this is snoozing through your typical commute hour or rolling out of bed to work in pajamas. However, foregoing those morning routines can actually create mental sluggishness and affect your mood.
Do you have to put on your office wear every day? Heck no. We’re not sociopaths, ok? But consider taking your usual morning shower, use the extra time to start a soothing skincare routine, put on something comfy (not your pajamas), and make your coffee before logging on. Sometimes the smell of coffee or an invigorating citrus or tea tree scent can really help the mind get energized for the day.
4. Soak up that natural light.
Research shows that natural light is a major mood booster. Sitting near a window, doing a little work outside, or just having that light coming in will help keep your spirits lifted. Not only will it jumpstart your serotonin levels, but it also helps with regulating your sleep cycles. Many quarantine WFH-ers have noticed that staying indoors more than usual has thrown off their sleep. A little sunshine throughout the day will help regulate your circadian rhythm, the internal process, that helps you know when you should be awake or sleeping.
3. Keep the office out of your bed.
Yes, this may be hard for apartment dwellers with a roommate, but it is so critical to have a space set up for work and areas that are strictly for relaxation. Even if you don’t have a desk, having an office set up in your living room or kitchen table that goes away when the work day ends is helpful for creating mental separation. But whatever the set up is, do everything in your power to resist working from bed. The association with your place of sleep will often make you sleepy while working and then wide awake when you’ve shut down the laptop. That is a big no-no.
2. Move around!
We forget that we can still use this WFH set-up to do those fun things that we use to crave. Sneak in that quick workout mid-day. Throw a mini dance party just because. Remember, you’re not tethered to the computer. Just because the water cooler talk is less interesting these days, it doesn’t mean you can’t move around. The physical activity can often offset the lull during the work day and prevent you from getting uncomfortable muscle tightness. Life is stressful enough right now without that neck tension!
1. Schedule a sign-off activity to really end the work day.
Just because we now literally live in our office doesn’t mean office hours are now round the clock. We used to sign off when we left for dinner or to meet a friend for drinks.
Call a friend for that solo walk outside or make a plan with yourself to run a bath and light some candles. Even a quick shower with some fresh scents will help to reset the body and refresh the mind. The aromatherapy from a bath or shower steam is often the best way to transport you without, well, literally going anywhere. Whatever your go-to activity is, the point is to create some physical distance from your laptop and create a mental shift to let go of the work day.
Now go forth and WFH like a champ! You got this.
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