In the midst of our recent practices of social distancing, many of us are likely realizing how much we’ve depended on a daily routine to stay mentally focused, physically healthy, and emotionally stable. When that structured schedule is pulled out from underneath you, you may find yourself scrambling. Transitioning from an office to working from home tends to result in one of two things: You struggle to be productive in a new environment and find yourself easily distracted, or at the other extreme, you are sucked into the work grind at all hours of the day/night and cannot seem to establish healthy boundaries.
Many of us are navigating this new phase together, so rest assured that we have come up with some tips & tricks to help you create a new, healthy routine while you find yourself spending more time at home!
INCORPORATE HEALTHY HABITS WITH YOUR EXTRA TIME
Time is a commodity many of us feel like we never have enough of. Do you normally have a 30 minute commute to work? Consider what positive changes you can take advantage of! Now you have 30 minutes to start your day with a walk outside to catch up on your favorite audio book! Or use this extra 30 minutes to knock out your favorite on-demand workout class first thing in the morning – my IGTV has simple at home workouts that can be done with body weight or a simple set of dumbbells – with new ones added weekly!
Maybe this extra 30 minutes can be allocated toward other healthy lifestyle goals – such as solidifying some much needed extra sleep, or making a balanced breakfast a priority.
CREATE A DESIGNATED WORK SPACE
Establish an area in your home that is purely designated for focused work. If possible, avoid working in a ‘high traffic’ space that has a lot of potential distractions, such as the living room or kitchen table. If you can see laundry that needs folding, dishes that need washing, or other household chores, you will feel distracted from work at hand. Working in your bed or bedroom is also discouraged. This practice can make it very hard for your brain to shut down at night as it no longer separates work and relaxation environments.
Consider investing in a small desk that can go in the basement or guest bedroom – or even consider working outdoors if weather allows! Keep your space clean and clutter free. Spruce up your surroundings with indoor plants – many plants are known for their air filtration abilities and will keep your space fresh for maximal brain power.
PRACTICE DAILY SELF CARE
Treat every day as if you’re still going into the office. When you work from home, it’s easy to stay in your pajamas, not put on makeup, or even forget to brush your teeth. Try to maintain your normal morning routine – whether that’s a early morning workout, shower, breakfast, work attire, hair/makeup – keep your self-care schedule consistent. It’s hard to be productive if you are anxious to get in the workout you overslept for, or distracted by hunger pangs.
This applies to meal routine, as well. While this is certainly a time to experiment with some new meal options made at home, attempt to keep your meal times consistent. Be aware of poor habits that may attempt to sneak their way in – such as more frequent coffee or snack breaks. Sporadic meal schedules can also throw off other healthy habits – such as ensuring sufficient water intake and keeping up with your daily supplements, like your multi-vitamin, fish oil, probiotic & Vitamin D. Maintaining as much of a ‘normal’ for yourself will help prepare you for the day and keep you on task longer.
SCHEDULE STRATEGIC BREAKS
If it hasn’t set in yet, cabin fever is a real probability! Add in strategic breaks to help you space out your day and keep you focused on tasks. Carve out a break for lunch, a quick walk with the dog, read chapter of your latest book, call a friend, or even a 10-15 minute stretching routine to keep you back & shoulders healthy sitting at a desk! These little brain-breaks help divide up the monotony of the day and help you feel like part of a community and not just home alone.
During this time, allow yourself time to go through the trial and error phase of finding your new normal routine. Accept that one day you may be extremely productive at home, and other days you may need to try different strategies. Realize that you, like many others, are learning to establish a new, healthy routine to keep your mental, physical, and emotional health the best it can be.