The COVID-19 outbreak has shaken up the ways in which we live, work and play. For many of us, remote work is part of our new reality. For me, working from home right now means working among three active boys, two cats and my husband.
You may find yourself struggling to get into a new routine, and balancing your workload while working among distractions such as housework, kids, pets, your partner and the ever-evolving news.
Practicing self care is especially vital during stressful times. Here are a few tips for how to take care of yourself while working from home:
- Structure your day: In the midst of uncertainty, try to exert control over things you can control, such as your work from schedule. I like to divide my schedule into two different blocks: a morning session and an afternoon session. This practice used to help me tremendously during long hospital and urgent care shifts.
- Go for a walk: Consider planning outdoor walks before your morning and afternoon sessions. Fresh air and nature are grounding and a perfect way to practice self-care.
- Pick a workstation: Adapt one location in your home to be your new office. Try not to roam around with your computer.
- Develop a buddy system:Identify a friend or coworker with whom you can check in with by phone or video chat daily.
- Schedule team meetings: Plan 15-minute (or shorter!) meetings every 2-3 days to remain connected with your teammates.
- Keep the same work hours: Use the time you would normally be commuting to do something intentional for yourself, such as yoga, exercise or even aromatherapy.
- Listen to music: If your work allows, listen to music or podcasts to unwind and help the day move along more quickly.
- Limit your news intake: Given the 24-hour news cycle, it’s easy to find yourself bombarded with current events. Information is good, but too much of it can be overwhelming.
- Put meals together: Rather than snacking throughout the day, plan meals to add more structure to your workday.
- Hydrate: Drink plenty of water to help keep your body healthy.
- Take frequent breaks: Get up from your work station once per hour, and take 20-minute breaks every 2-3 hours. Try not to check social media during this time.
- Flex your mindfulness muscle: I like to play solitaire with playing cards, do puzzles or take a walk. Consider a free meditation app such as Headspace or Calm.
- Dress for success: Get dressed every morning as you would for work, and ensure you are showering on your usual schedule.
- Accept that there will be distractions: For those of us with kids who will be home going stir crazy for the foreseeable future, let’s be particularly sensitive to this in our interactions with co-workers trying to parent and work from home. Yes, there will be noisy kids in the background on that call – it can’t be helped.
I’m hopeful that applying some of these tips to your daily routine will help reduce your stress and improve your new normal as you adapt to working from home.