With much of the country under shelter in place orders, the current public health emergency has significantly impacted many American’s day-to-day lives. Whether it’s your first time working from home, or you’re on the frontline fighting the pandemic, here are some tips to help you adapt to your current work environment.
- Maintain familiar routines as much as possible. Sticking to familiar routines can help create a sense of normalcy during these uncertain times. Try to stick to your current sleep schedule and wake up at the same time every day. If you’re working from home, figure out your most productive hours and create a schedule that supports this. Making a daily checklist can help you prioritize tasks and keep a consistent routine.
- Take a break. Now more than ever, it’s important to make time for breaks. Whether it’s taking a quick walk or journaling your thoughts, it’s critical to incorporate mindful breaks to keep you feeling refreshed. This also includes taking a break from the media. While it’s important to stay on top of current information, take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories. Whether you realize it or not, hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can end up taking a toll on your overall well-being. When you are tuning in, experts recommend sticking with direct and reliable sources like the CDC rather than social media.
- Set boundaries. Many of us were probably not prepared to turn our living room into an office, and for some a classroom as well! Since you likely have your spouse, children and pets all in close quarters, it’s essential to set boundaries at home. If you are working from home, designate a specific area that offers some privacy so you can get work done. It’s also helpful to give your family signals as to when you’re unavailable. For example, if the door is closed that may mean that you are on a conference call and shouldn’t be disturbed. Setting boundaries also helps us maintain a professional work environment while working remotely.
- Stay connected to your coworkers. Check in with your coworkers outside of any virtual meetings you might be having. Schedule some social time with your colleagues to have conversations with no agenda. Reach out to your coworkers and talk to them about how you’re feeling or if you need assistance with a particular task. In turn, make sure that you’re there to help your coworkers as well.
- Take care of yourself. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed in the midst of these unprecedented challenges. The best thing you can do to combat these stressors is taking care of yourself. Be sure to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs and drink as much water as possible. It’s also important to make time for physical and creative activities to help you unwind and feel refreshed.
Remember to also practice gratitude. Spend a few minutes each day to intentionally stop and think about what you are thankful for. Studies have shown that gratitude increases mental strength, helps people feel happier and reduce depression. Even in the most difficult times, we can find something to be thankful for.