Now let’s face it putting the three letters – WFH – in your online calendar pre-March 2020 had a lovely ring to it. It meant that you would be working, but in the comfort of your own surrounds and not with your omnipresent boss hanging around every corner. In fact I used to highlight my WFH in purple to stand out from the rest of the meetings in my calendar; as a little beacon of relaxed working, something to look forward to in my working week.
Fast forward to March 2020 and WFH has a totally different meaning. Now it means day after day of motivating yourself. An entire day of not being able to bounce ideas off of colleagues. And worst of all, an entire day of the dreaded Zoom meetings.
So today, I thought I would look at ways that you can make working from home an altogether happier experience.
Declutter and make a designated workspace
Having a designated space to work from can make all the difference to your working from home experience. As we all know junk and clutter disrupt the flow of the Qi in a space, and whether you believe in that or not, an untidy space can cause anxiety and stress. Couple that with the unusual experience of working from home, without your colleagues around you, and you can start to develop other stressors, such as headaches and sleep disruption. So take some time to make your workspace as harmonising as possible.
If you have a space in a spare bedroom, make sure that it’s a decluttered, tidy space, without boxes and junk everywhere. Use pictures and framed photos to make it feel like your desk. Grab your own ‘work’ mug for drinks and generally set it up like your own work from work office. Make sure that there are times when you aren’t disturbed, like when you’re making the dreaded Zoom calls!
If your commute is the short walk from the kitchen to your newly decluttered workspace then the need for a stretch is all the more important. Your traditional commute would have involved some movement for sure, and whether that would be running for the bus or the train, you would definitely be stretching muscles as part of your daily activity, and a lack of exercise has a huge impact on many aspects of your life.
So get up from your workspace regularly. If you have a smart watch you’ll have a handy setting on it which reminds you. Spend at least a minute doing some luxurious stretches. Arms up above your head as far as you can reach. Hip circles first clockwise then anti clockwise. Run up and down the stairs to get the blood pumping, and if you don’t have stairs, do some squats. Bend your knees with your torso hunched over them, and then stretch up as high as you can with your hands in the air. This is great for the butt too!
Let in the light
Sunlight makes the body produce the hormone Serotonin, which is responsible for boosting your mood, helps you to feel calm and focused, and is known to reduce anxiety. So if you’re able, put your desk near a window to get the most natural light you can. Why not use mirrors as well to reflect light and give the illusion of a much bigger, airier space. There are also natural light light bulbs and lamps, which are ideal for your desk.
Bring the outdoors indoors
It’s long been established that being out in nature can make all the difference to your mood and general wellbeing, so bringing nature into your workspace can have a similar effect. This doesn’t just have to be house plants, which are great for mopping up contaminates like benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, but it can also be natural objects such as driftwood and pebbles from the beach. For instance you might have been on a gorgeous beach combing walk in the summer with your family and found these objects, and by having them in your workspace they can have a seriously positive impact on your mental health, through the good memories you associate with them.
Get social… not just media and distancing!
There is only so much Zooming, Skyping and Facetiming you can do before you crave being in the physical company of others. And nothing beats meeting up with friends and being in social contact with them. Of course it will depend on where you currently live, as to whether you are able to do this or not. But if you are able to meet up with one other person (not from your household) outside for a walk then grab the opportunity with both hands is my advice. Having a walk at lunchtime with a different person will make all the difference to your mood and wellbeing. Just make sure you stick to your local social distancing rules.