Even if many of us have been working from home for a while now, having no physical separation between the home and the office can be a continued source of stress. It seems, however, that remote work will continue to be a trend, so here are 7 things you can start today to help you make it more manageable:
1. Establish ways to transition from home to work, and from work to home.
If going to work means stepping outside your bedroom, then it helps to create your own rituals that signal your transition from home to work, and vise-versa.
In the morning, it could be something as simple as brushing your teeth, fixing your hair and changing from your pantulog into a smart casual top. For the ladies, taking a few minutes to apply some light makeup can help get you "work-ready".
For me, when I'm done with morning chores and rituals, I like spritzing a facial mist and applying lip balm or lipstick, fixing my hair and changing into a decent top whether or not I have any video calls. Then I set up my adjustable standing desk which serves as my office space, where everything is within easy reach – from my laptop and speaker to a little caddy containing notepads and pens. When I'm done, all of these are set aside, signaling that work is done for the day.
2. Mind your posture.
Hunching forward or craning your neck too far up or down for long periods of time can cause neck or shoulder pain, headaches, and other symptoms. If your work involves a lot of computer time, make sure your screen is aligned with your line of sight, so you’re neither looking up or down at the screen. Just fixing this one thing can do wonders for your posture. Many affordable laptop stands and adjustable desks can do the trick.
3. Take frequent movement breaks. With everything you need just a few steps or clicks away, it’s entirely possible to avoid moving from your seat for hours on end. But being immobile for too long -- even if you find time for a workout sometime during the day – can increase your risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. In the short term, it can cause tightness or pain in your neck, lower back, shoulders, knees, and hip flexors, among other discomforts.
Stand, walk or do microworkouts at every opportunity, ideally every 30 minutes to an hour. At my company, we’ve started a rule that for internal meetings, everyone needs to do 10 reps of any workout of their choice, whether it’s marching in place, jumping jacks, pushups, squats or any other exercise. It takes just a few seconds but helps get everyone into the habit of moving several times during the workday.
Related: Microworkouts to Keep you Moving
4. Prevent eye strain with the 20-20-20 rule.
Staring at a screen for long periods of time takes a toll on your eyes. If you’ve ever consulted with an eye doctor you may have already been given the advice to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes, to help your eyes relax.
5. Enjoy your lunch break.
Resist the urge to work while eating. Laptop down at lunch means I get to focus on and enjoy my meal. If you have company, then setting your devices aside allows you to be present with them. After all, they need a break, too.
If possible, step outside after eating to get some sun and a change of scenery. Walk for a few minutes, or spend some playtime with the kids or your pets to clear your head and prepare you for another round of work.
Related: Should we be afraid of the sun?
6. Keep junk food out of sight and out of reach.
We have so many options for online shopping and food delivery today, which makes it easy to get hold of healthy meals and ingredients, but also makes it convenient to buy sweets and snacks with little nutritional value.
If you have a lot of sodas, chips, and sweets at home, one way to avoid consuming too much is to store them out of sight and out of reach. If you do decide to treat yourself, then have some, but then return the package to where you cannot immediately access it again.
What SHOULD be within reach is a jug or pitcher and glass of water, so you can stay hydrated throughout the day.
7. Carve out some non-negotiable me time.
It really is important to set boundaries. If pre-pandemic we would shut devices down by a certain time and prepare to go home or head off to our leisure activities, then we should do the same. For me, weekends are sacred, and I make sure to find time to work out in the evenings or attend dance classes 3 times a week because these are things that make me feel good. Me time is a priority, so don't skip your feel-good routines and self-care rituals.
Hope this helps!