We’re living in unprecedented times. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, much of what we are used to about life and work is changing. For one, the two are becoming increasingly blurred as a result of rapidly developing work from home policies.
While this was more or less compulsory at the height of the pandemic, there’s not a lot that is changing now. More and more companies (and workers) are permanently opting for remote work, giving us more time to spend with our loved ones.
But the allure of remote work can quickly wear off. It’s always great to see the kids and be able to spend all day with them, but they can drive you crazy. If you’re not careful, work from home can quickly become an inconvenience, causing you increased stress and affecting your productivity.
The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions reports that41% of remote employees experience higher levels of stress. This is compared to just 25% of their colleagues who turn in for work at the office.
Frankly speaking, working from home can be great, but it can also go the other way. Are there any steps you can take to keep your remote work experience from going south? Try out these tips and see how they help.
Relax and allow yourself to do nothing (no cellphones allowed!)
When you start to feel overwhelmed (especially after breaking up the tenth fight of the day), just drop everything and take a breather.
You’ll likely have a lot to do in terms of house chores and watching the kids, in addition to work. Taking short bursts of unfocused relaxation in between tasks can be valuable for mental health as they help you ease up and center yourself.
Plus, it will help you step back and see the big picture as you stifle the urge to seize the kids and put them up on eBay. Just remember, no cellphones allowed! You can take a walk around the house, sit out on the porch or just spend a few minutes gazing out the window.
A great way to spend those few minutes relaxing is to indulge in a spot of meditation. This involves clearing your mind, measuring your breaths and attempting to achieve a state of calm.
According toHealthline, meditation can help you reach inner peace, and can also help improve feelings of well-being. You don’t have to go cross your legs in a corner and start chanting (but it’s fine if this works for you). Just keep the session short, between 3 and 5 minutes, so you don’t fall asleep and miss your meeting. There are apps that can help you get started, includingHeadspace.
Read an educational book with a focus on personal growth
Your time away from the office can be a great period to bump up your personal growth. You can invest some of that time in learning a new skill, brushing up on your financial literacy, or just read up on something you’ve always wanted to know.
The great thing about doing this is you’ll obviously learn new things and they’ll hopefully help you become a better person – always a worthy goal to achieve.
Listen to an educational podcast (news is not included as educational)
Just like with reading educational books, you can listen to podcasts that teach you new things about the world. There are quite a few podcasts out there that can help you learn just about anything – science, history, culture and much more.
Have a bit of fun with this one. Try out a few podcasts and settle on one that fits your requirements, both in terms of the knowledge you’ll be gaining and the way the podcast is delivered.
Play with your pet
It’s almost criminal to spend all that time at home and not devote some to your adored pet. They probably missed you sorely all those days you had to go to work. Now that work has come home, you can put a few more smiles on that furry face.
Playing with your pet is not just good for the fur face though, it’ll also be a great way for you unwind after a long day of sitting at your desk. You can go on long walks with your pet (following social distancing guidelines, of course), or enjoy a game of catch in the yard.
Play with your kids (enjoy them!)
The great advantage we all recognize about remote work is how it gives us more time to spend with the ones we love. Don’t spend it all sitting in your home office or yelling at the kids to cut out the noise.
When you’re on break or at close of work, reconnect with your kids, tell them stories, play a game with them – just enjoy their company. You’ll be reminded how lucky you are to have them and feel a lot better about working from home.
Cuddle your significant other
As if we have to tell you about this :)
But if it’s something you’re not already doing, take every chance you get to enjoy the warmth and presence of your spouse or partner. In addition to this, you can carve out special times in a day or week to do something different with them.
Apart from the fact that this will be great for your relationship, it will also help you recover from the stress of remote work.
Do something that makes you smile
Watch that dopey movie you’ve always loved, enjoy your favorite sport or resurrect family game night – just indulge in something that makes you smile.
It will help you see the lighter side of things and this will in turn leave you feeling lighter, happier and ready to tackle the next challenge. It will also draw you closer to your family, and keep you centered in the turmoil of these times.
By taking the chance to do the things you love every chance you get, you can ensure you never lose the joy of life and all that it brings.
Create something artistic or play an instrument
If you have some artistic talent, this period is a perfect time to practice your art. If, like many of us, there’s no difference between your drawing of a horse and a table, you can take this time to learn.
You’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment as you showcase your newfound skills. And if you’re already skilled at your art, you’ll feel peace and a sense of wholeness as your art flows through you.
Listen to music you love
While we all have different tastes in music, there’s no doubt about the effect that music has on us. According to the smart folks at Durham University in the United Kingdom,music can help relieve stress, bring comfort and pleasure, and boost happiness.
If you think you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed, pop your AirPods into your ear and listen to the music you love. It’ll help you feel better.
Practice gratitude with a gratitude journal
Finally, reflect on all the things you have and are thankful for. Sometimes, it can be tough to find things to be thankful for, especially if the pandemic hit you where it hurts. But don’t let it get to you.
Start by being thankful for the small things and before you know it, you’ll find a lot more to be grateful about. Writing things down in a gratitude journal can help, and it also reminds you of all you have left, when you’re tempted to think about what you’ve lost.
As you become more and more used to working from home, home life and work life may start to feel the same. You begin to lose the simple joy of coming home from a long day of work and the little pleasures associated with it.
In all the mayhem of a home filled with kids due to COVID-19, things can feel overwhelming. But these tips will help you stay centered through it all, and even thrive, as you work from home.