In a COVID-19 world, the days of working from home are looking to be our new normal. Even with countries and territories relaxing their lockdown measures and shelter-in-place orders, there’s still a vast sense of uncertainty, and no one’s immune from that. So how do you get yourself into a good mental state while handling both your home life and work life at the same time?
- Set a routine. Use your regular office routine to establish a pace or process that’s familiar to you. That means setting work hours (e.g. 9 to 11:45 am; 1 to 6 pm), with frequent breaks in between. If you don’t feel productive, don’t be too hard on yourself. These are unusual times and your mental health, as well as your physical health, is a priority.
- Choose your workspace. Once you’ve decided on your routine, choose an area in your home that can function as a workspace. Look for an area with natural light — per Harvard Business Review, natural light is the number one perk for workspaces, and cites a study where it says optimizing natural light helps improve health and wellness.
- Ready your earphones or headset. It’s going to get noisy at some point, whether it be interruptions from your spouse, child, or pet. And if your spouse or family member is working from home, too, they’ll appreciate the gesture. Nobody likes hearing another call!
- Go outside if you can. If you’re allowed outside, take a short walk around the neighborhood (keeping social distance in mind). Get as much fresh air as possible to clear your mind and help center yourself mentally.
- Know when to stop. You probably haven’t felt as productive as you were when working at the office. It’s easy to reason out working for one more hour, or two more hours, because of work-related stress. The routine is important, so stick to it.
- Call up your work friends for an after-hours video call. We all miss our friends at the office, don’t we? Nurture that camaraderie by setting up weekly video calls to catch up on each other’s quarantined lives. Anchoring yourself in friendships can help lessen your anxiety about the world around you.
Remember that even though working from home wasn’t all that unusual before COVID-19, the circumstances that led us here were world-changing. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel you’re not at 100%. The only way through this is together, so take it one step at a time. Cheers to you!