'Kat' now works full time from home. Its 6am, she's laying in bed answering emails that hit her inbox between midnight and 4am, she didn't sleep well because she's worried about all the things she needs to get done. Another two hours pass engrossed in emails and soon, there's a flurry of getting half dressed (the top half in case you were wondering) on auto pilot already thinking about the full day ahead (which might not be finished before 9pm). She feels anxious, exhausted with no end in sight.
There's this new assumption that since we are at home, we are available 24/7 and if we aren't, we may find ourselves feeling guilty and under constant pressure.
Sound familiar? The psychological aspect of working from home is something we haven't quite figured out yet. In the last couple of weeks, people in my professional network and friends who are usually composed and poised are experiencing severe anxiety and emotional turmoil and openly admit they are not coping with this new norm. the emotional fatigue is overwhelming. There are things you can do right now to create better balance;
Create transition between home and work
That small act we call 'commuting' despite its challenges often gave us space to transition between work and home. Whilst for many the comfort of home and it's convenience, we still need a little space and time to transition between work and private life. It's easy to become flippant and work work work tirelessly and not really think self care and your human needs now that life has changed forever. Create separation, break the pattern, even ifs for 10 minutes. Go for a walk, cycle, drive and do it consciously. Breath-work whilst working or simply being aware of your breath is enough to get into your body.
2. Have a pre bedtime and post bedtime routine
We rejuvenate and repair during sleep. We all need restoration time. Turn your phone off or on airplane mode 90 minutes before sleeping. Get an alarm clock that isn't your phone. Create a routine that allows your body and mind to start to wind down. Doing the same upon waking and allowing yourself to start the day with ease will create a more peaceful and calm start to the day.
3. Create a home self care checklist
What things bring you happiness and joy? Get a visual list on the go of things you love to do. Examples: talk to a loved one, dance for 5 mins to your favourite song, set an intention for the day, learn something new, read for 30 mins, exercise and so on. Use this as a daily checklist to create happy habits and even in moments of stress and anxiety, all you need to do it go to the list and spend 10 mins do one thing that feeds your soul.
4. Say no (and if you can't, learn to negotiate)
You are not able to work productively for hours on end with no breaks. Your mind and body needs variety and fuel. Don't commit your diary for every hour of every day. You set your own standards by putting them in place and sticking to them as much as possible. Flexibility is key for you and your boss. Co create new habits if that's what it takes.
5. Keep perspective
You have one life and regardless of covid limitations, we have choices we can make to be happy. Reflect on what you are grateful for, appreciate all the things you have. Look for opportunity to create the life you want on your terms. Think back to the days of working in the office and see what's really changed when it comes to your work day? Probably not much which means its no one other than you that can create the life and balance you crave. When we have perspective we can navigate with clarity and feel in control of our own destiny.
We have one body, one precious life. Rise up, be brave and know that you can make a change in an instant, when we set standards for ourselves, we are teaching others to meet them.
HR executive + coach | www.zoewalters.com
Image by Ryan McGuire