Quarantine Diaries: Tackling WFH

This is my first post since we were all ordered to quarantine and the world, of course, has changed as we knew it. First off, I want to say I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy, and taking this time to relax, reflect, or do whatever makes you happiest. (For me it’s been a lot of eating and cooking.) It has been a HUGE change for everyone and we all have ups and downs. I am fortunate enough to work full-time for a company that easily transitioned themselves to being fully remote, but I know I am one of the lucky ones. For the ones who haven’t been as lucky, hang in there. Things are dark right now, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. <3

It’s been close to 3 months since I have transitioned from going into an office daily to working fully remotely at home. It was a rocky start, partially because I think there was a sense of sadness behind why we were working from home, but now I think I have gotten used to the new “normal” and have days where I appreciate the flex schedule. If you are struggling with the transition, here are a few things habits I have picked up along the way that have helped me.

Establish a routine

It doesn’t have to be a rigid routine that you never stray from, but just something that mimics how your time was set up when you were going into an office. I set my alarm for 7:30 every day. I don’t necessarily jump out of bed (believe me the snooze button is still being utilized), but I at least have an established time during which I am woken up. I also have a loose schedule of when I actually sit down to start working, eat lunch, and when I call it quits for the day. This structure makes it feel like my day is broken up into little niblets and that works really well for me.

working from home

Don’t force yourself to get “ready”

I am the first person who will tell you that the number of times I have actually put on makeup, done my hair, and put together a real outfit can be counted on one hand. What I have come to realize is that you don’t have to do it daily to feel uplifted by it. I also don’t believe that it should be a thing that is forced. If I wake up one day in a crappy mood and barely feel like brushing my teeth, I don’t try and force myself to put on makeup and throw on a cute outfit. I instead let myself lounge in my sweats and feel my feelings. But the next day, I will start anew and see how I feel — maybe a day I decide to do my hair or makeup or both.

Take breaks & get outside

HUGE believer in sunshine doing a person good. I know the outside world is a little sketchy right now… believe me I am sprinting across to the other sidewalk when I see a human approach, but I still believe in getting fresh air to clear the mind. The days when I am purely glued to my computer, without a single break, are the worst days. I am exhausted by the end of it and have a tendency to have lowered motivation the following day. I take breaks throughout the day ranging from getting a snack, to working out, to walking my dog. Whatever gives you a brief moment of solitude during the day, do it.

working at computer

Downtime without the news

When you go into an office and you come back to your home, your home is now a mental signifier to yourself of “I am done with work, now time to relax and do something fun.” When your office is in your home, any anxieties or stressors seem to stay with you because there is no separation. This was (and is) probably the biggest challenge for me. My home started becoming a source of stress for me. An entrapment of staying at “work” until you go to bed. Partially I think it had to do with the fact that I don’t have a large apartment (I work at my dining table.) The other part was that when I closed my computer I immediately jumped into catching up on the news and spiraling into a black hole of negativity. I tackled this in a few ways:

  • I stopped reading the news 20 times a day. I check in once a day and that is it. Truly. I will either do it in the afternoon or the evening, but once I have caught up I don’t look at anything else news- related until the next day.
  • I clear my work station. I set aside my monitor, close my laptop, and clear it off the table. That way I have “ended” the workday.
  • Focus on something fun. Whether it’s reading a few chapters of a book, baking some brownies, or chilling out with husband and a movie– I utilize my evenings to do something I enjoy.
computer

None of these tips are anything revolutionary, but knowing that it was an adjustment for me made me think that it may have been an adjustment for you. These are just simple tweaks that made such a huge difference for me and have made managing work from home a lot easier.

Stay well. Stay safe.

Until next time.

N.


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