The Coronavirus is changing our lives as we know it. The pandemic is affecting everyone with the government prohibiting mass gatherings, promoting social isolation and recommending those who can, work from home. Sadly for many casual workers, those in the arts, hospitality and tourism industries, this is not possible. We feel for you guys and hope that the government does something to support you in these uncertain times. For those who can work at home, count yourself lucky. Sure it might sound like the dream, but being isolated and stuck in one place can drive you crazy. We as humans are social creatures so this is going to be tough. Plus being in a familiar environment with distractions and chores might be all too tempting. However, fear not! We have some suggestions to keep you sane whilst working at home.
Stick to a schedule
It might be tempting to sleep in and throw your usual routine out the window but please do not! We have known for years that routine is good for your mental health. Get up at the same time everyday and proceed as normal. Stick to those coffee and lunch breaks and make sure you switch off at your usual time. It is easy to continue working but allow yourself time for other activities.
Sure, you are at home, there is no need to dress up right? Wrong! Staying in pyjamas might be comfy but won’t help you switch from home mode to work mode. Changing into work clothes (or at the very least, casual) will help you get in the zone. Hey, you can even have fun with it and wear outfits that you’ve been dying to try out which are absolutely fabulous! If that involves makeup, do it. It will make you feel much better about yourself and that you still have purpose. Plus, you are always ready for a video call if needed!
As previously mentioned, it may be easy to continue working beyond normal work hours with commutes no longer in the picture. But it is essential that you set those boundaries between work and home. Otherwise work life will take over home life physically and mentally. The same goes with distractions at home. Don’t flick on the tv whilst working or take a break to do laundry. Keep it separate and allow time for each.
Make A Dedicated Workspace
Yes, working from the couch and the bed sounds somewhat ideal. Comfort. Am I right? But it is important to designate an actual area to work. It will help mentally and get you in the zone. If you can, set up a small table and chair with the sole purpose of work. If you have to work at the kitchen table, limit it to one side of the table. And if your bedroom is the only place you have privacy, then so be it. Just try keep bed for sleep and relaxing only.
Make Your Workspace Fab
Generally at an office, we have no say in the decor and it can be rather drab. However, working at home allows you to make your space your own. With that in mind, spruce up your workspace in your own style. Show it some love and make it fun! Simple touches like plants, decorative pieces and art can seriously change the whole look of your space. This will instantly lift your mood and make social isolation just that little bit more tolerable.
Sure working from home may be more relaxing and flexible, but that doesn’t mean you can slack off with work. To avoid this, it is crucial to communicate with your supervisors and coworkers. Let them know where you are at, Skype them if you need help and to stay on top of everything. You are guaranteed to be more productive. Sure you may be missing out on discussing the happenings on the latest tv shows but communication will also be key in keeping up your social interactions. If you are really missing that interaction, keep up with sending funny memes and articles to coworkers. We all need to have a laugh.
Once you are on a roll, it may be tempting to continuing working. But it’s important to take breaks as you would in the office. Experts recommend a 5 minute break every hour of screen time. What constitutes a break? Scrolling through social media certainly isn’t. Get up, walk around, go outside for some fresh air, make yourself a coffee. This will give your eyes a break from staring at the screen but refresh you mentally.
With so many distractions at home, it can be hard to stay focused on work. Our tip? Invest in some good headphones and the use the time as an opportunity to listen to music you love or to discover new music. This is a bit of a luxury as we can’t usually do this at work so embrace it. It will drown out all the distractions at home (other people, appliances etc.). As for music, streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have so many artists out there but for upcoming, new bands? Try bandcamp as the artists make more money and at this time when gigs are cancelled, it is the only form of revenue they have. I say this situation is a win win! Combining music with work will make the days fly by.
Play With Your Pets
The obvious benefit of being home is more time with our fur babies. And we all know that they have a significant effect on our mental health. So use this time to love them, play with them and walk them. You will reap the benefits. If you don’t have a pet? Now is the perfect time to foster or adopt. Shelters are already overflowing and are predicted to be inundated with more animals as people are unable to look after their pets as this crisis worsens. Lots of beautiful animals are looking for a loving home so why not open yours?
In a time of social distancing measures, it can be hard to socialize. At least with work, you have that sense of community with coworkers. Working remotely can make you feel isolated and alone which is detrimental to mental health. So how do we combat this? Sure, staying active on social media helps (I’m sure the reports of my screen time on my phone will be through the roof) but go old school! Make phone calls and chat to friends. Texting is good too but nothing is as good as the old fashioned phone call. Video calls are also a great way to stay in touch. Make this a priority through this time.
Working from home with the temptation of the fridge can be hard. Plus with the risks that gyms and exercise classes pose, it can be easy to throw your exercise regime out the window. But it is well established how vital physical activity is to our health, both physical and mental. So how do we keep up with exercise with social distancing in play? Join an online program, download an app. There are so many out there with all types of exercise. Just take your pick! My favourite way of exercising in this climate? Going for a walk or run somewhere nice. Be it the local streets, the river, the beach or nature, it’s all good for you. And it gets you out of the house! Bonus!
These are just few tips to keep you sane whilst working at home during this crisis. If you have any more, let us know! We are all in this together!