For some of us, the possibility of working from home seemed almost too good to be true. However, since the pandemic, many of us have had no choice but to transition our home spaces into work places. As of June this year, approximately 42% of the US labor force is now working from home. Now that our living room couch is used as our office chair and our kitchen serves as the lunch room, it may be hard to differentiate where to draw the line between work and home. Personally, I found the transition to be a bit challenging at first, but over the last few months I’ve been learning to adjust to my new but familiar surroundings. Even more so than before, wellness plays a huge part in my overall mood which impacts my productivity. I found that incorporating aspects of self-care into my work schedule has made the difference between having a positive and productive day or not. Here are some self-care tips that have helped keep my mood in check while crushing my workload.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
When New York City officially went into lockdown, myself – like so many others felt the extreme pressure of having to adjust to a new way of living and working. In the first few weeks, I kept a strict routine similar to what I would be doing if I was in the office. Although I was getting work done, I found that the day would drag on and I would be watching the clock until the end of the “office hours”. What I failed to understand was that although I was working from home, I didn’t need to hold myself to such a rigid schedule as long as I was producing the work expected of me and upholding my professional standard. I started breaking my day up to include a few mental or physical breaks. From taking 5 – 10 minutes to silently meditate, using my lunch break to get some fresh air and food or simply stepping away from my desk to gather my own thoughts. If you live with others, take some time to have a quick conversation and be social. Once I started taking these steps, I found that my mood significantly improved, allowing me to get my head back in the game.
How you start each day is fundamental to how the remainder of it will flow. Sleep is very important to your health and wellbeing. We all know the feeling of not getting enough sleep and how it eventually affects our performance and mood. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for a week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad and mentally exhausted. I started taking note of my sleep pattern and found that since I began working from home, I have been falling asleep much later and less deeply. Knowing that sleep deprivation not only affects health, but also many of the entrepreneurial and corporate skills that help us thrive in the workplace, I began adopting different tactics to prioritize sleep so I get that full 7-8 hours each day. The tactics that have been most effective for me include creating a sleep sanctuary by experimenting trending sleep-enhancing wellness products, from as simple as lighting a candle to using a pillow spray to crystal sleep masks; putting away my phone and laptop at least an hour before my sleep time and most importantly sticking to a sleep routine.
CREATE THE SPACE
One of the most difficult things for me to get over is the fact that the place that I used to come to get away from the world and maintain privacy and peace is now where I work. Learning to find the balance between work and home has proven to be challenging. Along with having to ditch my strict routine, now I also have to find a way to recharge my space. I find that by the end of the week, my work space would also be a chaotic mess. I decided that every weekend I would dedicate some time to cleaning, reorganizing and de-cluttering my work space so that it would be ready for use again each week. I also took a look into the ancient art of Feng Shui, which has been practiced for over 5,000 years. The practice involves looking at our living spaces and work environments to create balance with the natural world. Although I am no expert in Feng Shui, I did gain some inspiration from its teachings. By rearranging my spaces every couple of weeks, I found that I felt like I was walking into a new environment that was simply refreshing. It gave me more of a push to get through my work load so that I could also use my recharged space to relax.
Working from home seems like it will be the norm for the long-haul for me at least. Knowing how significantly my mood can affect the outcome of my day and my work productivity is something that I’ll keep in mind. Self-care is incredibly important in my everyday life, and it seems that even the smallest things can make the biggest difference. So, if you’re ever feeling down or out of sorts, consider that your emotions are real and that there are ways to get through them. Give yourself a break, make sure you are well rested and create a zen in your space. These are just a few things that have helped me along the way. Find out what works best for you!