These are some crazy times, no doubt about it. The roads are eerily vacant, the shelves at your local grocery store are strangely bare, and for many of us, if we are fortunate enough to still have a job, we are working from home. At ESTUS Digital, we were working remotely long before COVID-19. Certainly, some things have changed about our lives. But the reality of working from home is not one of them. So, we thought we’d share 7 ways to keep yourself sane while working from home so that if you’re new to it, hopefully you can stave off that cabin fever another day.
1) Maintain a Routine
Most humans thrive when they have a routine. And although the daily grind of getting up, getting ready, driving to work, pouring yourself a cup of coffee, and sitting down at your desk might seem monotonous, losing the routine when you are thrown into working at home is not going to lead to success. Are you on day four of no shower and still wearing pajamas? We’re not here to judge!
BUT, we think you’ll find if you keep your routine as close to normal as possible, you’re going to feel a lot better. According to an article by Skilledatlife.com, routine makes you more efficient, saves you time, and builds momentum. So, instead of letting your life be thrown into chaos by working from home, to the best of your ability, get up and get ready for the day like you always would, put on real clothes, and go about your day as you would at the office.
2) Take a Lunch Break
When working from home, especially for workaholics, some people can fall into a rhythm of never taking a lunch break—taking a working lunch or never eating at all. You might want to argue that if you work through lunch, you’ll be able to wrap it up sooner towards the end of the day. And while it might seem counterintuitive, taking a break will actually make you more productive when you sit back down at the computer.
Go outside and soak in some vitamin D. Toss the ball to your dog, do a puzzle, or scroll mindlessly through Instagram on your phone. If you’re a nap person, you could even take a power nap! We officially give you permission to take a break! It might just be the thing that helps you stay sane.
3) Find a Way to Stay Active
It’s no secret that working out creates endorphins, a hormone that both fights pain and creates a general sense of well-being and euphoria. Exercise also increases the production of serotonin and norepinephrine, which have similar effects per an article by CNN on why exercise makes you happy.
What does that mean for you in this time when you’re trying to stay sane at home? Making sure you get in some form of physical activity every day is going to be essential to your well-being. Whether that looks like streaming a yoga class off YouTube in the morning, walking your dog around your neighborhood at lunch (yes—walking outside is still okay, and even encouraged, even if you’re in a city or state with a shelter-in-place order), or doing your own HIIT workout in your living room after you close your laptop for the day.
4) Reward Yourself
We completely understand that this is a very challenging time for everyone. For some people, they’re isolated at home with no human interaction that isn’t virtual. For others, suddenly your kids are crawling all over you, making it impossible to accomplish even the simplest of tasks. No matter what your struggle is, we are not above giving ourselves rewards.
Pick a reward that makes sense for your community and what you need to do to stay safe. Maybe that’s ordering from DoorDash at the end of the week or grabbing a to-go growler of your favorite local brew. Maybe you reward yourself by letting yourself sleep in. Or maybe you order yourself something fun online off Amazon, or better yet, from a local boutique.
No matter what your reward is, make sure you have an objective, accomplishable task, and don’t give yourself the reward until you get there! Yes, it may feel like we’re back to childhood sticker charts, but hey—whatever it takes to give yourself some sanity!
5) Stay in Community
While working from home due to self-quarantining or mandated shelter-in-place is a new challenge for many people, we can be so thankful to technology available to us in the world we live in. From video chat apps like Zoom that are amazing for work to apps like Marco Polo that are perfect for staying in touch with friends on your own time, there are so many ways you can still connect with others!
And a vital key to staying sane while socially isolating? Make sure you take time each day to connect with people you love, and also with others working from home for the sake of solidarity. Maybe your buddy working from home in another state will have a novel suggestion on how he got through his to-do list for the day. Or maybe a crazy family text thread will remind you that you’re aren’t the most insane person around.
6) Have Designated Work Hours
Working from home, for some people it can be hard to find the work-life balance. And in this coronavirus world, let’s be honest, it feels like there is no balance at all! But for those with a never-ending to do list, it can be hard to close that laptop and walk away for the evening. But even when your work and the rest of your life is taking place in the same 1,200 square feet, it’s still important for your mental health to find a differentiation.
The good news is, an article from the New York Times suggests setting your designated work hours around your natural body clock. So, if you’re a night owl, and you have flexible work hours, take advantage of this season and not having to be in your workplace at a certain time. If you want your work day to be from noon to 9 pm, go for it! If you are an earlier riser and want to just knock the work day out early, this is your time! Just make sure that work time is work time, and at some point, you’re off the clock to do other things you enjoy and need to do.
7) Get Creative
When it comes down to it, you might need to get creative to work from home successfully. Someone we know chooses to pretend like she’s going on a long flight when she works from home. She looks up the flight time from Denver to Miami, puts her phone on airplane mode, stocks up on the “in-flight” snacks, and stays focused for that length of time.
Maybe getting creative during this time of COVID-19 involves getting creative about keeping the kids busy while you try to complete your daily tasks. Maybe creativity for you looks like finding a workspace in a home that didn’t have one before. But wherever you find an obstacle, don’t see it as a setback. Use it as a chance to innovate and come up with a solution. It’s okay if your first solution doesn’t work! You’ve got tomorrow to try again.
From all of us here at ESTUS, good luck discovering that secret sauce for working from home success. You CAN stay sane while working from home, and we are all in this together!