COVID-19 has taken the world by storm, transforming our usual daily routines into something far from familiar. Although considered a blessing for some, the work from home order has been an increasingly difficult task for those who thrive in fast paced, ever changing daily work schedules. Rolling out of bed, walking to your desk and turning on your laptop has become the new ‘morning routine’ which has left some feeling depleted, run down and over worked. Combining your work life and home life is an overwhelming task, as the lines between work and play become almost non-existent.

Although this is a trying time, it is nonetheless important to acknowledge the privilege of being able to work from home. Working from home is a luxury that many people around the world do not have, and have been left jobless following the pandemic crisis. That’s not to say that is it particularly easy to live and work at home for months on end. Taking care of yourself and your mental health is incredibly important during this time, so we’ve put together a list of 5 healthy habits you should develop when working from home.

Let’s dive in and get you started with these 5 healthy Work-From-Home habits!

Take a break from screens

Now with meetings taking place over Zoom, a surplus of emails coming in and increased activity on social media, screen time can begin to take up the majority of your day. By looking at screens for prolonged periods of time, whether it’s your phone, laptop, tv or tablet, you are likely to develop eye strain, sleeping problems and burn out.

Take a break from screens and read a book for example - Picture by Min An (Pexels)
Take a break from screens and read a book for example – Picture by Min An (Pexels)

Take time out of your day to be away from the screen – take a walk, read a book, paint, play with your pets, whatever it may be. Make sure that these breaks are consistent in order for them to become a habit and part of your daily routine. If social media is the problem, remove some apps. If its emails, log in at designated times only.

By giving yourself this time off, you’ll be able to keep a steadier energy level and manage stress.

Set up a designated work space

Creating that distinction between your home and office is what most struggle with. To combat this, it’s important to create a designated work space separated from your usual home life. Doing so creates a better work-life balance by separating where you carry out your tasks from where you relax. It doesn’t necessarily need to be an entire office, but can be a spot at the kitchen table or desk in your room.

Create a designated work space - ekaterina-bolovtsova
Create a designated work space – Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova / Pexels.com

Whatever it may be, make sure you only work in that spot. When work comes to an end at the end of the day, you’ll have a place you can stand up and walk away from. This allows you to transition into off-hours and truly enjoy the leisure time spent in your home, away from work. Decorate your space to your liking – add plants, candles, flowers and art.

By creating a positive space you’re likely to feel inspired and at ease while working.

Prioritize mornings

It’s no secret that when you have nowhere to be, your mornings are likely to be slow. Working at home requires you take your mornings seriously – get up, get dressed and make your way to your work station. This is perhaps one of the most difficult habits to get into but, once mastered it has the ability to change your work from home experience. Having a sense of seriousness about your work is likely to pay off.

This is not to say that you need to wake up at 4am, exercise, read, meditate and eat all before 6 – it’s about what works for you in regards to your productivity. By creating a structured morning routine it will be easier to let your brain know that it’s now time for work.

Whatever morning routine you find works best for you, make sure to maximize that time, as our minds are freshest at the start of the day.

Be active and social

During this time, it can be incredibly easy to get caught up in your work from home routine, and abandon other facets of your life.

Although being active and socializing is important at any moment in life, it is more so now than ever before. Consider going on a walk, interacting with other people from a distance, feel the sunshine on your skin and boost your serotonin! Getting out and about is a great way to take a break from home and work, and is likely to uplift your mood. Ideally, try get out for some exercise too, as it’s no secret that exercising releases chemicals that improve your mood. You can also take on group exercise activities with friends or family in your city.

Why not exercise?
Why not exercise? Photo by RF Studio / Pexels.com

Making sure to stay social during this time is a detrimental aspect to overall health and productivity. Try and plan regular social events or activities with others as a means to disconnect from work. Although this pandemic may at times feel lonely, we are all experiencing it together – so why not create a small support circle of friends to blow off some steam?

Set up ‘Do Not Disturb’ rules

If you’re working from home, its likely you may not be alone but surrounded by family, roommates, your spouse etc. It’s completely understandable that others engage with you when you are around them, either in an office upstairs or at the kitchen table. While this may have been the case when home was separated from work, it no longer is.

As I’m sure you know, work hours are an incredibly important time that requires a great amount of focus and intent. When your brother, child or roommate disturbs you, this concentration is broken and overall productivity is lost. You’ll then need to refocus your attention which is likely to be broken again at a later time. To avoid this you’ll need to establish firm ‘do not disturb’ rules when you are within your working hours.

It is increasingly important to achieve optimal creativity and productivity during the day, so make sure to set boundaries accordingly. Explain in a patient matter that you cannot be disturbed during a certain time period or perhaps if your door is closed. Set the boundaries that work best for your work schedule.

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