By now most of us have had to make the shift from daily commutes and traffic jams, to coordinating schedules with spouses and getting used to a new normal of working at home. It’s normal for feelings of stress, anxiety, anger and even grief to happen when major shifts like these happen in your life. We are sharing 6 tips to help you feel more in control and content with working from home, guaranteed to decrease stress and improve success.
1. Morning routine
Just because you don’t have to physically show up in an office, store, or place of employment, you should still prepare to show up mentally. This means setting your alarm, getting up and taking a shower & get getting ready for your day. We really recommend no PJ’s when working from home. This sends the message to your brain that it’s okay to slack off a bit and not take things as seriously. Dress for success, you will thank us later. This will help to improve productivity and motivation.
2. Dedicated workspace
Your commute just got a heck of a lot shorter, but we still encourage you to set up shop at the same place every day. Find a space in your home that can now be dedicated to your workspace. Make sure you have adequate lighting. You want to make sure you are not doing work from your bed or a couch. These places should be for sleeping, relaxing, and intimacy. Your brain begins to know the difference between where to relax and where to be stimulated. This will also help you sleep better at night once you stick to this habit.
Social distancing doesn’t have to mean a social disconnect. Be sure to maintain consistent communication with your work colleagues during your normal work hours. Do this by logging onto your instant message form, talk about daily goals with your supervisor, check-in with colleagues, and superiors. You don’t just have to send emails and replies, you can also connect with others by having virtual coffee breaks with workmates!
Get your body moving throughout the day. Now that you are working from home, you are more likely to be a sedentary position longer. Take time to exercise, take 10-minute breaks, mindful of your health, and basic needs. This means staying hydrated and stopping, stepping away from your devices, and eating proper meals.
5. Structure & boundaries – routine, routine, routine
Try writing out a daily schedule and do your best to stick to it. If you don’t stick to it 100% of the time, no big deal. Self-compassion is the name of the game right now. However, structure and boundaries will help you feel more in control right now in a time when many things feel out of your control.
6. Practice gratitude
Finally, take time to acknowledge 3 things you are grateful for. Gratitude has many scientific benefits to include improved physical health, think fewer aches and pains, improved psychological health, lessening feelings of toxic emotions like envy and resentment, enhances empathy and reduces aggression, improves sleep, improves self-esteem, and plays a major role in overcoming trauma. I’d say those are some pretty good reasons to start practicing daily gratitude. Start by jotting down 3 things daily you are grateful for. Make sure to acknowledge 3 new things every time, not repeating anything.
These are trying times for all of us. Any positive change will help with making this chaotic time feel a bit more manageable.
Alycia Burant, MA, LPC, NCC is the founder, owner, and therapist at Healthy Minds Therapy in bustling Alexandria, VA. Her practice has three locations in Northern Virginia providing expert support and services for people in times of need. When she is not working, she enjoys relaxing with her family, wine tasting, cooking, and traveling.