For most people, the thought of working from home is met with great enthusiasm.
“I can eat what I want, take a break when I want, there’s no boss to answer to” etc etc etc…
As someone who worked from home writing for over six months, I can promise you that this enthusiasm is short lived. If you don’t plan and prepare for this, your mental health suffers, your motivation dwindles and everyday things generally become a little bit difficult.
With a lot of companies telling their employees to work from home and a lot of people turning to self isolation, I wanted to write a post detailing everything I wish I knew before I started working from home.
So here is my list of top tips for making self isolation/quarantine a little more bearable:
- Open a window – get some fresh air however you can. A stuffy home only adds to the feeling of being trapped inside.
- Set a routine – at work, you know when your lunch is, when your meetings are, what your tasks and deadlines are and so on. At home, you need to set up a routine as best you can otherwise it is easy to slip into the habit of staying in bed longer and feeling unmotivated. Wake up at the same time, plan a set time for lunch, list what you need to do in the day and cross it off when you achieve it. In times of uncertainty, routine can be a real friend.
- Eat right – the temptation when you are home all day is to eat junk and eat out of boredom. Meal planning is a great way to avoid this, as is buying snacks that are healthier for you such as fruit, cereal bars and chopped up carrots with dip.
- Facetime is your friend – call people as often as you can. It’s really easy to let loneliness creep in, especially when you aren’t seeing people face to face anymore, but keeping frequent contact with friends and family makes all the difference. If you’re struggling, let them know and they will help.
- Shower and dress as you normally would – it’s really easy to think ‘I’m at home all day, I’ll just stay in my pyjamas and shower tomorrow’. For the first few days that comfort is fun, but that mindset can quickly spiral. You don’t want to get to the point where getting dressed feels like a monumental task, so get dressed every morning. Not necessarily into the clothes you’d wear to work or to go out of the house in, but the act of changing out of ‘sleep’ clothes and into ‘day’ clothes makes all the difference to your mindset. Don’t forget to take care of yourself.
- Read as much as you can – I created a Goodreads challenge last year and it made all the difference. I felt motivated to read and I pushed myself to read a wider variety of books. Having this time to stimulate your imagination, learn about a new topic or understand different people’s experiences is a blessing.
- If possible, work in a different space to where you spend the most time at home – one of the things I found the hardest about working from home was the feeling of not being able to switch off from work. The boundaries between personal and professional blurred a lot. Using the spare bedroom as my home office made such a difference to my mindset. If you can, set up your work space in a spare room or an area you aren’t often in so that when you leave that space you can relax.
- Make time for the little things you have been wanting to do – have you been wanting to watch a series on Netflix or try a beauty regime you’ve seen everyone rave about for a while? Now is the time! You need those self care indulgences now more than ever, so do them and don’t feel guilty about it.
- Listen to music – when you go from talking to people all the time and constantly being surrounded by sounds to being alone, the silence of your own home can begin to feel oppressive. Create a Spotify playlist for the times you know being alone with your own thoughts will be too much.
- Exercise if and when you can – I gained weight by going from the active role of teaching to sitting at home writing. YouTube has some great workouts on there that you can easily do from home with no equipment. I find yoga and Pilates a great way to unwind.
- Focus on smaller goals rather than big goals – daily life and future goals have been impacted for a lot of us by COVID-19. Instead of focusing on the cancelled holiday or the uncertainty of wedding planning, try to put your attention on tasks you can achieve right now. It could be decluttering your wardrobe or finally giving the bathroom that in depth clean you’ve been meaning to do for a while. Achieving little things every day boosts moral.
- Find a new hobby – maybe you’ve wanted to take up painting for a while or think that you could write a book. Maybe there’s a jigsaw at the back of the cupboard that you think you can tackle. Whatever it is, now is the time to do it. Who knows, you might just discover a new talent!
- Remember that you are not alone – you might be working or living alone, but you aren’t alone. There are people all around you and friends and family are just a text or a call away.
Times are strange right now and things are unknown. It can feel overwhelming and lonely and scary and intense… but you’re not alone. We will get through this. We just have to take care of ourselves and others.