Rock Your Isolation: Staying Sane While Working From Home
Today’s content was supposed to revolve around the glorious celebration of Spring in DC and the peak bloom of our Cherry Blossoms.
But it has taken a turn. Instead of gathering along the Tidal Basin over the next few weeks, we are relegated to our homes to keep ourselves and our families safe.
Companies across the country are starting to instruct their staff to work from home. As enticing as this seems at first, it does come with some challenges.
I’ve been working from a home office (both in entrepreneurial and corporate endeavours) for most of the last 10 years and, even as a textbook introvert, I know it can sometimes be a bit lonely and tedious.
Whether your new WFH status is temporary or long-term, there are a few tips to make sure you stay sane and keep the weight gain to a minimum!
Before you start your first day:
Choose a space in your home that will exclusively be for work. I cannot stress this enough. Find a room, a corner, or a spare closet if you must but keep a dedicated work space away from where you engage with your spouse and family. There is nothing worse than having the echo of a stressed client lingering in the space where you connect with your family.
Make sure to have healthy snacks on hand. Your waistline will thank you.
Discuss expectations with your family and housemates. Make sure they know that this is not time off and that you can’t be responsible for providing entertainment or running errands. Include pre and post work time into your plans.
Once you start:
Stick to your morning routine. Get up the same time that would if you needed to travel. Set your alarm, have your breakfast, shower, and get dressed. You don’t have to deck out in full makeup or suit and tie, but at minimum slip into your favorite jeans and a T or sweatshirt.
Keep a bottle of water on your desk. The sharp reduction in social interaction can lead to a sense of boredom and sometimes we tend to eat out of boredom. With the natural decline in physical activity and the social isolation that comes from working at home, weight gain can be become a real concern.
Scientists conclude that people eat when bored to break the monotony, rather than for the pleasure of food itself. (1) Drinking water can help curb this feeling. If you must snack, make sure to keep healthy snacks at hand:
- Fruits and veggies
- Trail mixes and granola
- Cereal bars
Clock out for lunch. Eat a healthy meal and take a short walk around your neighborhood or play with your pets and children.
Stay focused. You may be thinking that it’s a good time to cancel your pet sits, house cleaners, and other services that keep you on track during your work week. I would urge you to reconsider. Just because you’ve eliminated travel time doesn’t mean you want to overload yourself with tons of additional work that could potentially affect your productivity at your job.
Silence or sound? While background sound is a personal preference (I typically work in silence), avoid distraction by eliminating access to your television. Choose music at low volume or an ambient sound app like Defonic.
At the end of your workday:
Unless you are expected to be on-call, shut down at the end of the workday.
- Clock out, power off, set your out-of-office replies.
- Clean your workspace.
- Grab any used cups and plates.
- Discard any snack wrappers.
- Wipe down surfaces.
Do not rush back into your home life. Remember that you don’t have travel time to reset, unwind, and shake off any stresses of your workday. This can easily spill over into your family dynamics if you don’t take the time to unwind at the end of the day. A few ideas:
- Take 10 minutes to listen to the radio station that you’d normally jam out to during your drive home.
- Splash some water on your face.
- Go for a quick run or bike ride.
- Read a chapter of your book or flip through a magazine.
- Smudge a little sage.
This is an anxious time. Give yourself permission to slow down and take advantage of your downtime. Pull out your Relief Kit as often as you need to.
Seek help. If you feel your anxiety or depression is out of your control, seek professional help immediately. Text 741741 to talk with a crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line—it’s free, confidential, and available all hours.
- Why Do We Eat When We’re Bored? Seriously Science – https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/why-do-we-eat-when-were-bored