We all know life has been flipped upside down this past year and it has affected many of us in different ways. One area affected is our work environment. Recently, many of us have had the opportunity to work from home. Although this may have been a blessing in disguise for many, for others it has been difficult. Regardless of the circumstances, working remotely can be a bit stressful at times. Here are my top 5 tips to help working from home become easier.
- Have a Morning Routine. We can start our mornings by freshening up and cooking breakfast. This routine gives us time to set an intention and release stress from the previous day. When we wake up and go straight to the computer, we create a routine that seems like work is the only task for the day. This routine can become stressful pretty quickly and that stress can put a damper on the rest of the day. It may be nice working from home due to the elimination of commuting but the short commute from the bed to the home office can be stressful too. With work being at home, it is important to create space and take breaks throughout the day. The best break is the one before you clock into work.
- Time Management. There is no doubt that working remotely can be very convenient in the comfort of your own home. However, it also means more distractions. We can eliminate these distractions by having efficient time management skills. Prioritizing your tasks and staying organized can make work a lot smoother. If you have a big project, it might be wise to start with it first since you will have more energy to stay focused. Give yourself a personal deadline so you can have more time to work on other projects. If you feel like you get distracted easily, hide your distractions and allow yourself to enjoy them while you’re on break. Creating a system that is suitable for your personal working style will help you get through your working days with less stress and be more productive.
- Take Mental Breaks. In contrast to being distracted, it is just as easy to overwork ourselves. It might be beneficial to set timers throughout the day to walk away from the computer to stretch or take mental breaks. Sitting at a computer all day is not beneficial for our health. Take 5-10 minutes to yourself to ease the stress. Take the time to sit outside, grab a snack, talk to a family member, take a walk to improve your mental and physical health or spend a few minutes with a pet.
- Cook Your Meals. When people leave home to work, they typically get lunch from a drive thru or a local restaurant. For those of us working from home, we have the luxury of using unneeded commute time to cook more of our meals. Not only does cooking save time and money, it is also a healthier choice. We can now get creative with our meals and have a healthier diet.
My husband and I cook large pots of food and freeze the food in plastic freezer containers. Beans, greens, soups, chili, Spanish or dirty rice, spaghetti squash (maybe with sauce), etc. are always available. Our granddaughter keeps a variety of rice bowls in the freezer for work. Plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, other cheeses, and a variety of fruit and berries are always in our fridge. I feel much better since I began a food plan that is mostly plant-based and my autoimmune disorders have largely disappeared. Instead of feeling energized for an hour, I can go for several hours with plenty of energy and avoid the sudden energy nose-dives that used to put me out of commission with lethargy and headaches.
- Make After-Work Plans. It is very easy to become homebodies while working remotely. Make plans for after work, whether that be shopping or hanging out with friends. Social plans give us something to look forward to. It is a fun way to release the stress from work and focus on other important things. Be sure to follow COVID guidelines as long as the resurgence is a problem. Remember, it was COVID that caused so many people to work from home to begin with. Personally, I like to take a drive with my favorite music. Driving alone with my chosen music is what I miss most by not driving somewhere to work. Driving also reduces my eye strain because I focus my vision into the far distance, which I’ve not done all day while working.
As the world is changing, and we are shifting, it is helpful to remember what’s important–our mental and physical health. Regardless of where we are working from, these tips are simple and easy to implement in your daily routine.