As of today, I’ve officially been full-time working from home for 8 months. I’ve been into the office once during this time, so all in all I’ve been sat in my living room with my laptop and headset, business as usual for a total of 243 days and counting. Eeeek!
Many people I know who have been WFH have struggled with the lack of human interaction that an office environment once brought, but personally, I don’t mind that part so much. If it means I get to save a significant amount of time and money that would’ve otherwise been spent commuting, I’m happy to sacrifice a bit of small talk by the water dispenser!
I regularly have chats with my colleagues via Skype calls anyway and I’m fortunate enough to be living with my family, so I get my daily dose of human interaction.
What’s been hardest for me regarding working from home has been the increased workload. Some days are fine, but other times I feel absolutely swamped. I get so overwhelmed looking at my to-do list sometimes that I just want to curl up in a blanket and go back to sleep! On those days it’s hard to muster the motivation to do anything.
Skype calls can become incessant, the number of tasks are forever increasing and deadlines are becoming shorter and shorter. During the busiest periods, I often find myself glued to my seat for hours at a time, forgetting to drink water, snacking on anything and everything just to keep myself going and taking no pride in my physical appearance whatsoever.
The result of that is a very snappy, yet zombie-like Sharan. So to counter those stressful feelings and to nip the unpleasant side effects in the bud, I’ve started taking emergency measures before I’m too far gone! And honestly speaking, they’ve really been helping me, so I thought I’d share. 🙂
- I try to start my day listening to prayers, to get the good vibes flowing as soon as I come downstairs
- I try to do Yoga or meditate at least once a day, to cancel out all the white noise and centre myself
- In times of immense stress I tell myself to stop, take a few deep breaths, unclench my jaw, relax my shoulders, release any tension in between my eyebrows and stretch: guaranteed steps to finding your inner calm
- I try to make sure I wear a different outfit every day or every two days, even if the clothes aren’t dirty or smelly, it just helps me feel a bit more put together and less tramp-ish!
- I try to keep moving, every hour or so getting up, sometimes with my laptop, for about 10 mins to do 1,000 steps
- I keep a 1.5 litre bottle of water next to me that I try to refill twice during the working day
- I try and get some sunlight on my face (although that’s getting increasingly harder, given that it’s Winter and also I live in the UK which doesn’t exactly ooze Vitamin D)
- I like to have scented candles on sometimes, they can be oddly comforting!
It’s also hard when you’re working from home to feel like you can justify taking a sick day. But I’ve learnt the hard way that if your mind or body is telling you it needs a break, it won’t ask for your permission, it’ll just clock out. Especially in the current climate, it’s not worth risking your health for the sake of meeting a deadline. Just call in sick. #BetterSafeThanSorry
Even booking annual leave feels strange during lockdown; what am I even going to do with a day, or heaven forbid an entire week, off?! It’s not like I can travel anywhere! But days off are actually vital for preserving our mental health.
Even if you stay at home, have a lie-in and just watch TV, or read a book, or do some cooking, make sure you tidy away your work station, or get as far away from it as possible to truly switch off and recharge your batteries. You’ll actually feel refreshed when you do eventually log back on to your workstation. 🙂
Ultimately, with all of the job uncertainties and redundancies going on this year, I try not to get too wound up about the increase in my workload, because I know that I’m in a position that many are working really hard to be in. So I am very appreciative. And I can’t commend those on the front line enough, who go in every day risking their lives, seriously, hats off to you guys: you’re superheroes. ❤ Even all of the parents who are working from home and juggling kids in between Zoom calls, I have absolutely no idea how you do it, you’re truly awesome. 😀
In the meantime, while it doesn’t look like the social activity that I once eagerly anticipated every week as my time to wind-down with my nearest and dearest will be revived any time soon, I’m focusing on trying to consciously form some good habits that will preserve my mental health and stop me from burning out.
To anyone reading this very long and rambling post that was only meant to be a couple of paragraphs, just know that you are stronger than you think. Many of us are going through the toughest times of our lives right now, but we will get through it, together.
We may not leave this pandemic as the same people we were at the start of this year, but whether that’s a positive or negative thing is up to us; it is what we make it. Sending lots of love, light and good health to you and your family. ❤