Social distancing is absolutely the right thing to do – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I’m an extrovert and thrive on interacting with others and routine, so being home 24/7 is challenging in some ways. However, we’re trying to make the best of it.
This post is geared towards parents who work full-time outside of the home and are now faced with being at home full-time. Here’s what I’m doing t0 stay (somewhat) sane.
Sleep is so important – maintain your regular sleep schedule. I know it’s tempting to stay up late and binge on Netflix series, but given all of the stress and anxiety a lot of us are feeling due to all of this, adequate rest is really important to our overall health and wellbeing. You also don’t want to mess with your typical sleep cycle. Eventually we will all go back to work and it will be much easier to get back into that routine if you’ve maintained your wake/sleep cycle.
I follow the same routine now as I did when I was working outside of the home. I don’t wear a robe or pajamas all day. I wake up, play a podcast like usual and apply some makeup (some days I style my hair, too). Following this routine helps me feel ready/prepared for the day and also makes me feel good about myself. I’m wearing workout clothes everyday (leggings/sports bra/comfy top) because it’s easier to squeeze in a workout when I’m already dressed for it and I do recommend dressing comfortably while at home, but change out of your pajamas/robe.
(don’t wear these to work from home!)
A DEDICATED WORK SPACE
Our dining/breakfast table has never gotten so much use! It has become my workspace and where the kids do some of their school work as well. Kevin and I have been switching off supervising the kids as we have calls and work tasks throughout the day, but the dining table is my personal command center. I have horrible posture, so working from the couch is a no-go for me.
When you’re working from home with younger kids, you can’t really quarantine yourself to another room, so the dining table was the best location for our situation. If the kids are doing a craft or activity at the kitchen island or playing with toys in the living room, I can see them in both areas. The kids do play in the playroom unsupervised at times, but we can hear them from downstairs as our house isn’t huge.
I have Invisalign, so it’s easier for me to do (because it’s not worth it to have to floss and brush my teeth for a small snack), but I encourage you to maintain the same eating schedule you do when you’re working outside of the home. It can be so easy and tempting to snack all day while at home, but I think it’s important, just like with sleep and the rest of your routine, to maintain the same patterns you usually do.
I usually drink a TON of water at my desk while I work. I’m not always good at hydrating while at home, so I make sure I have a larger tumbler of water next to me at all times. Every morning (after coffee, of course) fill a water bottle or tumbler with water and drink throughout the day. If you have to get up to get water every time, you won’t do it as often. I like this size tumbler because it holds a ton of water and doesn’t need refills constantly.
MOVE EVERY DAY
I think there are three categories here: people who worked out at a gym or studio and are finding it hard to exercise at home, people who were already exercising at home and people who don’t have an exercise routine. In times of elevated stress and being cooped up at home, it’s more important than ever to move our bodies – for the physical and mental health benefits. There are so many amazing online workout streaming platforms (I do P.volve and Melissa Wood Health) – if you like dance cardio and toning workouts, check out The Sculpt Society. I’ve also heard great things about Obe Fitness.
Now is a great opportunity for all of us to move more often. Think about the time you spend commuting to and from work every day – that time can now be used to exercise. Some things to try:
- Take a family walk (be sure to maintain social distancing protocols – 6 ft. apart from anyone else you might encounter)
- Take the kids for a bike ride
- Stream a workout from your phone or laptop – you can try 30 days of P.volve for FREE via my blog – just click here for more info!)
- Look at streaming options via local studios – support small businesses by signing up for their streaming platforms
- Play in your backyard (do NOT allows kids to play on playground equipment, even if the park is empty. This is not recommended by medical experts and will continue to spread this virus).
- Find free workout videos on YouTube
I have found exercising at home while working FT from home has increased my energy levels and decreased stress. Highly recommend.
Many of y’all likely find yourselves in the same situation as our family – two spouses working from home. Something we need to get better at is communicating our daily schedules (and calls we have) so that we can be fully aware of when the other parent will be unavailable. That way there is less frustration and we can better plan for the flow of our workday.
GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
It’s okay to have bad days. Days where your energy is low, you’re exhausted and out of patience. It’s HARD to be at home 24/7. It’s hard to work, make sure your children are learning, maintain the household, cook, etc. Not leaving your home is also tough – no change of scenery other than a walk down the street…it’s a lot to adjust to. Allow yourself to acknowledge a bad day and then move on from it. The only way is forward!
What tips would you like to share about working from home?
I have worked from home full time for 2.5 years (for a boutique PR agency), and before that, about two to three times a week. Some things I haven’t seen mentioned often that really work for me are:
– Not applicable for everyone, but do not feel guilty about taking a break to fold laundry, vacuum, etc. Most people work much more efficiently at home because they aren’t distracted by others, which means you don’t necessarily need to be “butt in seat” for eight hours just to get your work done. These breaks often help me refocus if I find myself getting distracted.
– Don’t feel guilty about checking emails first thing in the morning/late at night. Again, this doesn’t work for everyone, but I find myself able to sleep better/do my morning routine better if I know what I’m going into before my work day officially begins.
– Connect with your coworkers on non-work related topics! My remote coworkers and I send each other pics of our lunches, keep each other up to date on our kids, etc. We use Slack, but if your organization doesn’t have an IM system, consider a group text with your closest coworkers.
– Don’t be afraid to switch up work stations if you find yourself unable to concentrate in one place. Even a patio chair in the backyard while the kids play can be an option for work that doesn’t need extreme concentration.
– Have a go-to video call spot–one where you can at least semi-hide from the kiddos and has a neutral background with good, non-distracting lighting.
what a helpful and thoughtful post! Thank you so much for taking the time to write it 🙂 fantastic advice!