As those of us that can work from home adapt to what our days will look like for the foreseeable, here are a few little tips for ensuring the ‘new normal’ works for you as much as possible.
1. Still set your alarm!
Sticking to your usual routine is really important, and so starting your day like it’s any other by flinging your arm out of bed to silence your clock, phone, cockerel, gong – whatever you use to stir your stumps – is the best way to set the tone.
2. Go for a short morning walk
If you can, heading out for a quick jaunt around the block (sticking to NHS guidelines on social distancing), at the time you’d usually be getting in the car, on a bus, train, bike etc., is another good way to gear yourself up.
Think of it as your commute. I know it sounds a bit odd, but getting your blood flowing and breathing in some fresh morning air can work wonders for getting you in the mood to sit down and crack on with your day. Plus, it counts as your once-a-day advised exercise, if the thought of dragging yourself out in the evening fills you with dread.
3. Stay social with your workmates
Seeing familiar faces – or just hearing their voices – is a really positive way to start your work day and limit that feeling of isolation, using any number of video conferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype, or just something simple like the good old telephone if you can’t use these.
You’ll connect with people outside of your own four walls, check up on everyone, swap laughs and fears if you want to, and of course it’ll give you a chance to catch up on any developments in the business.
4. What’s for lunch?
Working from home is a good opportunity to add some variety to your lunches – if you’ve managed to get what you need from the supermarkets, that is. Although, I doubt many of you will be concocting something out of toilet rolls, sugar, and paracetamol.
Use your lunch break to make and enjoy some healthy fulfilling lunches, or maybe make them in the evenings to save time. This way you can spend your break doing something different after enjoying your lunch, like reading, enjoying your garden if you have one, or giving a friend or loved one a ring.
Some supermarkets have started labelling things that are high in vitamins, such as vitamin D (chestnut mushrooms!), which we’re all probably lacking a little of at the moment with outdoor time being limited, so keep your eyes peeled for these.
Take a look at some healthy lunch ideas here.
5. Have a ‘clocking off’ time
Try to have as marked an end to the day as you have for the start, either by putting your work things away – depending on your set-up – going for a walk around the garden, or maybe doing a quick workout. The NHS’s ‘sofa workout’ has been entertaining me personally, but there are loads of videos on YouTube that you can follow.
Alternatively you may be very proficient and already have your own routines, in which case, crack on with what you know!
6. Make time for new things
It is a very odd situation that we’re in, but you can’t deny that it’s opened up a lot more free time that we felt we didn’t have before. Think about using these extra minutes and hours to try something new.
Maybe start those indoor exercise routines if you’re normally pretty sedentary; read that book that’s been sitting on your shelf for months; start a blog about something you love; listen to podcasts; binge a box set or two; dig out that instrument from childhood music lessons; reorganise your wardrobe; you get the idea.
It’s all about keeping your mind stimulated with something you enjoy in your downtime, but don’t forget to take some time to relax and reset.
7. Get enough sleep
We’ve been told this again and again, but at this time when it’s easier to get stressed and worried about things, making sure you’re sleeping at least seven hours a night is important. I know it’s easier said than done for some of you for various reasons.
Try to stick to your normal routines and go to bed when you usually would – and no, the advice above about binge-watching doesn’t apply if it means you’re still awake at 2am!
If you find drifting off difficult at the best of times, think about employing some relaxation methods like meditation, breathing exercises, or listening to calming music. There are plenty of playlists available, as well as free apps to help guide you through meditation exercises.
So there you go – a few small hints that will hopefully make these strange days of ours seem a little more normal.