We are living through some surreal and crazy times at the minute and in many ways I’m not sure what to even say about it. We’ve been bombarded with media coverage and government advice: stay at home, wash your hands, stay away from crowds, wash your hands, don’t panic, wash your hands, wash your hands and wash them again!
As I write this the UK is not in full lockdown yet but we are being advised to work from home where we can and practice social distancing. If you have worked from home before you’ll likely agree that once in a while it’s great - you save time on your journey to and from the work place, you don’t have to put your face on and you can coordinate it with deliveries, jobs around the house, getting the washing machine fixed etc. Doing it for an extended period and especially when it’s imposed on you however, can have you feeling trapped, restless and just downright bored 😫.
When I first made the transition from working for a big Corporate in an office to working from home I went through all these feelings and more. I had underestimated how lonely and lethargic being alone at home all day can make you. So if we are all going to be working from home for the foreseeable future I thought I’d share my top 10 tips for staying sane whilst doing it:
Wake up at the same time you normally would. If you’ve read my previous blog (How to sleep better) you’ll know that we humans need a schedule. Our bodies need consistency to operate at their best and our sleep patterns will be dictated by this. It’s also important to note that this is not forever, we will be going back to our ‘normal’ lives soon and so will need to readjust to that if we sway to much from it now.
Make a plan for the day. Make a list of all the things you would like to achieve in the day and don’t forget to fit in some breaks. It’s so easy for time to run away from you and before you know it you’ll be asking yourself what you did for all those hours. That’s not great for our mindset. So make that list each day (do it first thing in the morning or at the end of the previous day) and as you tick things off that list it should help you to feel motivated and give you a sense of accomplishment.
Get dressed! Sounds silly doesn’t it? You’re at home, you won’t be seeing anyone other than the people you live with so what’s the point? Well its psychological. If you roll out of bed and land straight in front of your computer screen it can feel quite jarring. Why? Because you’ve missed your normal morning routine that allows you to fully wake up. The best thing to do is act like you are going to your place of work: wake up, shower, get dressed, get a coffee / tea / smoothie, read whatever you normally would and then start working.
Take regular breaks. Try to get up and move around every hour or so. Move away from screens (including your phone), go sit somewhere else, make a cuppa, take a walk around the garden… whatever it is just give your eyes and your brain a rest for a few minutes.
Create a happy workspace. Wherever it is that you’ll be working, keep it clean, tidy and comfortable and when you’ve finished put away your computer, notebooks, paperwork etc. to mark the end of your working day.
Don’t get distracted. Don’t have the TV on whilst you’re working. It’s not going to add to your productivity in any way and if it’s the news channels you’re watching it’s probably going to increase your anxiety levels and have you running to the shops to buy toilet roll! Don’t do it!
Get some fresh air. Go for a walk - it doesn’t have to be for very long but it will get those muscles working that you haven’t used all day whilst sat in front of your screen and will refresh your mind. Open windows to circulate the air in your home. Most of us would never spend this much time at home everyday and underestimate how stale the air can become and how it can affect your mindset, motivation and productivity.
Connect with others. We are so lucky these days with the amount of technology we have at our hands and so being isolated doesn’t have to feel that way. Actual human interaction will keep you sane (or just less mad) - Skype or FaceTime your family and friends and build your new sense of community and that ‘in it together’ feeling this way.
Harness the power of aromatherapy. Use the power of aromatherapy to help you transition your day between work and leisure, to focus and then relax. Try diffusing essential oils of lemon, orange, peppermint, rosemary or patchouli to energise, uplift and focus the mind during your working hours and then switch to more calming and relaxing oils such as lavender, geranium, cedarwood and vanilla once you’ve finished working. I’d recommend our The Meditator candle or home mist for focus during the day and The Composer and The Unwinder to relax and help you transition to leisure time. Introduce something new.
Make the most of this time you have at home and do something new.
Try yoga - it has really amazing benefits for the mind and body to release tension through stretching and focuses your breathing to calm and ground you. There are so many apps that you can use and my favourite app is Daily Yoga. It shows you all the poses (with videos), has sequences designed for all sorts of needs (sleep, back tension release, energy boosting etc) and even has some guided meditation videos and music to practice to.
Try a new recipe for dinner. You’ve saved time on your journey home so why not try cooking something new for dinner? If the supermarkets near you are anything like mine then you’ll know that half the shelves are empty but take a look at what you have in your kitchen cupboards and I bet you’ll find some things you can use to create a scrumptious new meal. You can use apps such as Super Cook where you type in the ingredients you have and it will show you a bunch of recipes to follow.
Get out in the garden. Luckily the weather has been pretty good recently so if you’ve been neglecting your garden of late and haven’t got round to giving it the spring tidy then now’s the time! Plus you’ll get that much needed fresh air too!
Start a new hobby. I recently started crocheting for the first time and found it to be incredibly relaxing and actually really fun. I’ve made a menagerie of animals using these patterns by TOFT and then gifted them to friends and family! What’s not to love?!
So if you’re reading this whilst sitting in your PJ’s in bed, and haven’t moved since you woke up this morning then take note of the above tips. Get up, get dressed, open the windows, make that list, take those breaks away from your screen and end the day doing something you love or something new. Think of all the opportunities you have in this current situation and make the most of them because as the saying goes ‘when life gives you 🍋🍋🍋…’
If you have any tips for me I’d love to hear from you so drop me a line here and in the meantime stay safe, stay calm, have some fun and don’t forget to WASH YOUR HANDS!