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Are you working from home during the pandemic? New remote workers often struggle to adjust to their changing lifestyle, even without a worldwide crisis taking place.
When I started freelancing, I remember a period of time where I felt like I was going insane. The adjustment was crazy difficult because I wasn't used to being home alone all day. I felt isolated, lonely, and soon after, insecure.
And that doesn't even take into account what many people are facing now. People, some of which may have never worked remotely before, now must figure out how to stay productive at home while juggling added health and safety stresses.
Some people take care of their at-risk or elderly friends and family members. Others are trying to figure out where their next meal will come from, or how they're going to pay rent next month. They're focused on survival only.
Many more people also have their kids at home too. They're now acting as a full-time parent, teacher, and remote worker.
My point is that our experiences are all different. I won't even begin to say I understand what everyone else must feel like, but five years of working remotely have taught me that self-care is the #1 way to cope with an ever-changing and highly unstable lifestyle.
Self-care is especially essential now more than ever.
If you're feeling angry, lonely, down, stressed, or just blah -- you need to stop and practice self-care. I know your day is probably already crammed full of tasks and to-dos, so you may want to push your needs to the back of your priorities. But please, please resist that urge.
When you feel crummy, take it as a sign that your needs aren't being met.
Keep in mind that self-care isn't science though. You may need more self-care one week than another. It's also completely normal to require more self-care during a crisis. The more your sense of safety or lifestyle change has jarred you, the more you probably need self-care practices.
Try to weave a few self-care techniques into your daily routine. Start the day out with your favorite self-care tip, and you'll notice you have more energy to give back to the people around you throughout your day. You can't pour from an empty cup, am I right?
Also, explore various options to find what works best for you and when. Everyone is different. What works for me may not work for you if you have children. Likewise, your needs may change on a day-to-day basis.
On the days where my anxiety is high, for example, I find that a quick 10 to 20-minute jog makes me feel like new. When depression strikes, a hot shower helps me restart the day. Hiking in nature boosts my creativity when I'm running on steam.
Working from home allows me to work my schedule around what I need, so I may hike on a weekday to avoid the crowd in exchange for working on a Saturday. I understand not everyone has the capability to set aside responsibilities on the fly.
The important part is to notice when you feel crappy and treat it as a trigger toward self-care. It's all about knowing yourself and becoming closer to your inner needs.
So don't be afraid to try out a new self-care tip here and there. Use one option when you're in a pinch and another when you have more free time to focus on your needs. Figure out what works best for you and when.
And when your normal techniques don't seem to work, check out a new self-care tip. Here are 21 self-care practices to adopt if you're working from home during the pandemic, and why each could help you.
To build a healthy work-life balance, make time for exercise during the day. Humans need to move. Take regular breaks from your screen to refocus, and you may notice your daily productivity jumps up.
Workouts are vital for so many reasons. When it comes to working from home, exercise will help you work to the best of your ability. Working out can also help you deal with isolation, stress, and anxiety.
A morning yoga practice can promote more energy throughout the day. If you're short of time, head outside at lunchtime for a quick jog or walk around the block. What's vital is finding the movement you need.
2. Meditate for 10 Minutes
Meditation is proven to boost an individual's overall health and wellbeing. It helps bring in a little calm. Even a quick 10-minute daily meditation practice can refresh your body and recharge your soul.
At the end of your workday, shut down your computer and take a few deep breaths. Reflect on the day. What are you grateful for in your life? Where do your priorities lie? What little things make you feel happy?
3. Read a Book
Turn to a book instead.
I'm a fond believer that reading is packed full of benefits, no matter what type of books you enjoy. Books teach us how to take better care of ourselves, how to see a new perspective, or just entertain. They're mood boosters that promote mindfulness and calmness.
Books also fill your time nicely during isolation. You can spend hours with your nose in a good book. Before you know it, you may start looking for easy ways to read more books.
4. Put on Pants
Yes, yoga pants count.
I'm a firm believer that there's no reason you need to get dressed up like you're going to the office every single day.
However, that's me. Some days I refuse to put on a bra because, well, why? I'm a bit rebellious, even before I started working from home.
When you're working remotely, what's important is to change from your pj's. You can boost your daily productivity by getting up in the morning and getting ready for the day as if you were heading into an office. This signals the change from rest to work hours and prepares you to tackle your day.
Wake up with plenty of time to shower, eat breakfast, and at least change your pants. You can change into sweatpants or yoga pants. Just don't wear what you slept in throughout your day.
5. Drink Water
Previous studies show that people who work from home often tend to overwork themselves. The problem for me (and many others) is that I zone into the screen and forget to drink enough water.
Water is the key to preventing hunger, energy lulls, and dehydration. Drinking water regularly can help you boost your focus and energy, especially if you get tired in the afternoon each day.
Try drinking a glass of water first thing each morning to rehydrate, especially if you typically head straight for coffee in your early hours.
Refuel every so often throughout your day by keeping a water bottle near your workspace, always within reach. Set an alarm for every two hours if you need a reminder.
6. Get Some Sun
Sunlight promotes happiness by increasing your serotonin levels, which is why it's also known as the happy hormone.
You need at least 10 to 20 minutes of sun on your arms, chest, and face each day. To reach this, you could go for a walk or jog. I like to read in the morning sun while I drink my coffee.
Bonus points for combining multiple self-care tactics in one.
UV rays may cause you to burn, so remember to use at least a 35 SPF sunscreen while you're outside too.
Water washes away the day's stress.
Whether you prefer to relax in the tub or pamper yourself in the shower, water therapy is an excellent way to treat yourself and de-stress.
There's nothing like a hot shower or bath to help you relax after a long day. Throw in some Epsom salt and candles for a truly awesome experience.
Pamper yourself a little. Take the time to shave your legs, exfoliate your skin, or let the water massage your tense shoulders.
8. Break for Lunch
Step away from your desk for a real lunch break. As I talk about in my recent post, How to Achieve Work Life Balance: 15 Tips for New Remote Workers, you need a lunch break to recharge.
Studies show the break provides the time you need to recover and tackle the rest of the day with added vigor. Lunch breaks also result in lower stress levels, more creativity and concentration, and overall better health.
9. Grab Fresh Air
A dose of nature therapy can keep you going, but sometimes fresh air around your neighborhood is as close as you can get to nature.
Go for a walk around the block, sit on your porch for a few minutes, or open a window if you're in full-on quarantine mode.
The main point here is to get some fresh air any way you can right now.
Bonus points for pairing this habit with H2O to promote drinking more water. Head out to your patio to drink a glass of water and don't return inside until your glass needs refilling. (I learned this technique when I quit smoking cigarettes, so you may also use it to handle cravings).
10. Snack on Berries or Yogurt
Healthy snacks are awesome for promoting feelings of vitality. You can use food to promote positive wellbeing or even to boost your energy levels when you're dragging.
Stock your kitchen with healthy treats, like berries and yogurt. Granola and almonds pair well too.
If you feel sleepy every afternoon, try a healthy snack. Berries boost your energy, making the healthy snack a perfect alternative for that afternoon coffee.
Berries are also immune-boosting superfoods. Head for the blueberries if your system needs particular help.
You can also promote gut health, which can significantly impact your overall wellness, by snacking on yogurt. A happy gut = a happy person.
11. Smile & Laugh
I know it may seem hard sometimes, but when smiling and laughter feels difficult is the exact moment you need it the most.
Laughter is healing and de-stressing. Plus, it's contagious.
Avoid the news a bit and turn to sources that make you laugh. Throw on a few minutes of your favorite comedian on Netflix of YouTube. Spend some time playing with your pets, children, or partner if you can. Turn to nostalgic memories through old photos or facetime a friend who can always cheer you up.
12. Hydrate Your Skin
During the pandemic, many people have noticed worse skin or more breakouts. To combat these issues, hydration is more important than ever.
Nourish your skin regularly.
A solid skincare routine, whether in the morning, at night, or both, helps keep the lines between work and rest hours clear. Many people enjoy using the time to reflect on the day, regroup, or focus on priorities. At the end of the day, skincare can also help you shut off your brain.
Hydrating your skin also helps to:
- improve elasticity
- fights wrinkles
- flush toxins
- reduce oil production
- provide a glow
- control breakouts
- reduce chances of all skin issues
13. Try Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a natural, non-toxic way to boost your energy, de-stress, and promote calmness.
You may not know this, but I also run a Health and Wellness blog called Doityour.health where I focus on nontoxic lifestyle and natural health. Essential oils are one of the best tools at your disposal.
The essential oils I recommend you have on hand while working from home during a pandemic include:
- orange: promotes energy and provides a clear-headed uplifting feeling
- lavender: excellent for stress, anxiety, and balancing your mood. Also, boosts creativity and communication skills
- rosemary: stimulates productivity and concentration
- ginger: promotes calmness and boldness, excellent when you need a mood boost
- bergamot: boosts self-esteem, creativity, and positive feelings
- sandalwood: calms and increases your focus and self-esteem simultaneously
- ylang-ylang: great when you need to kick burnout and start a new project
- pine: boosts creativity and courage
- cedarwood: helps you feel grounded, courageous, and focused
14. Keep a Journal
Writing in a journal each day is vital right now because we are living in historical times. You may not want to remember how the days dragged by and you had difficulty sleeping, but journaling can help now more than ever.
Journaling (15 to 20 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week, over the course of 4 months) is proven by studies to help lower blood pressure and boost live function. It can keep you healthy and sane.
There are many ways you can go about this without writing about your daily life too. A gratitude journal can help you stay focused on the positive, for example.
15. Organize Your Space
Clutter is distracting and can hinder your productivity when you're trying to work at home.
Get organized before you start your work hours by figuring out exactly what you need to do and what tools you need to accomplish your daily goals. Clear anything else from your workspace.
I think it's also important to disinfect your workspace regularly. Use rubbing alcohol on microfiber cloth to wipe off your cellphone and laptop screen. Wipe off your work surfaces and remove piles from your desk.
A planner may help you keep everything straight if you have trouble keeping track of your tasks.
16. Steal a Nap
Sleep is one of the most crucial and overlooked needs we have. People need a good night's sleep for proper productivity, but sadly, more people than ever are waking up at odd hours or having trouble staying asleep.
(If this is happening to you, don't worry. It's normal considering the added pandemic stress).
Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night. If you can't reach that much sleep overnight, try to work in a quick afternoon nap to boost your energy.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a short 20 to 30-minute nap improves alertness and performance without the groggy feeling or interfering with your sleep at night.
Napping comes with other psychological benefits as well. If you're not normally able to sneak in a nap, it may help your 'quarantime' feel closer to a mini-vaca.
17. Schedule a Zoom Meeting
Zoom meetings can help you stay on the same page with your remote team and remain organized, which are both vital for your productivity.
While working remotely, you need to set "in-office hours" and adequately communicate with your colleagues via the internet or phone. When issues arise, Zoom can even help you tackle them quickly.
The platform is also highly popular right now because it helps people stay connected. Zoom provides the face time people crave.
If you're feeling lonely or confused about something at work, scheduling a Zoom meeting can provide some much-needed face time while you keep your distance.
18. Take an Online Class
Learning a new skill can help you feel recharged and motivated, which is particularly helpful if you have extra time but no motivation.
Why not enjoy your time and learn a new skill?
No matter what you enjoy, there are so many online classes available right now. You can connect with people over the internet through an online yoga or painting class.
Free options are always available, but I know I've been able to find many more free online classes than ever since the outbreak.
19. Join an Online Group
Connect with likeminded people on the internet to feel less isolated. Online communities allow you to create long-lasting and potentially influential connections, even as you practice social distancing.
You'll feel less alone and can still network with business associates, get advice on any issues you're facing, or simply connect with others.
If you're interested, you can join Bewrit's Writing Community on Facebook.
20. Take a Mini-Trip
If you can, take a self-care trip to get away for a bit. Veer away from your regular schedule for the day, hour, or weekend to do something for only you. Go to your favorite location (near or far). It could be somewhere you feel safe, happy, relaxed.
A self-care trip can be a full weekend getaway if you feel particularly stressed, but it doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg.
When I feel drained, I like to head to my favorite local bookstore or library. Just being in the space helps my creativity start to recharge, and a boost of motivation often follows the short trip so I can get back to work feeling ready and rejuvenated.
You might not be able to really go anywhere depending on where you live too. If that's the case for you, sitting in a grassy area near your home (not a public park) can help you getaway for a bit.
Head to your happy place, wherever that is for you.
21. Play with Your Pet
Pets promote happiness. According to science, all you have to do is pat your dog on the head or look your pet in the eyes to gain benefits.
Play around with your pet for a little while when you need a mood boost. Seeing their happiness can spark your own.
Pets owners also receive benefits like:
- heart health
- more exercise
- added laughter
- lower stress and depression
- more relaxation
- added comfort
- better health and wellbeing
Remember, Self-Care is About What Works for You
Whichever tip you decide to try first, taking the time for your self-care is what's imperative. Focus on putting your needs first and noticing when you're failing to take care of yourself.
Soon enough, you may start looking for tiny ways to work in self-care throughout your day. You might even start practicing Self Care Sunday to start your week out on the right foot.
Let me know which self-care tips work for you in the comments below. I'd love to hear your favorite techniques!