We find ourselves spending most of our time at home now a days. The freedom to go out without restraint seems to be a far-fetched dream for months now and counting. Today, most of us are doing a once unimaginable balancing act of work, rest, and ‘play’, all under one roof.
Whether we like it or not, this is the hard reality that most of us have to face. When the physical boundaries between work and home blur, just how can we possibly keep our work-life balance intact and healthy? How do you separate the two when you’re busy talking in a Zoom meeting at the kitchen/dining table? How do you squeeze in a workout with your never-ending deliverables and meetings (that sometimes go beyond work hours)?
Let’s face it, we won’t be returning to business-as-usual soon. The crisis will continue for months to come and the world will not stop turning for us. Unfortunately, this is not within our control. Right now, the most important thing that we can manage and do is to find ways that will let us balance work productivity with personal health and well-being.
Here are a few (personal) tips that I’d like to share on how I am able to cope day in and day out. I’m no expert, but I am writing this with the hopes of helping out those who are struggling to get by. It may or may not work, but at the end of the day, the change in mindset is what’s important – the willingness to move forward.
1. Create a routine that works for you and your schedule.
You can start with sleeping and waking up at a reasonable time. If you have a day job to consider (like me), I suggest you create a schedule that includes time for work and self-care. The key is to create some sort of barrier, no matter how small it is at the beginning, to make you think twice before doing any work during your non-working hours.
P.S. Set a workspace that isn’t your bed. Your bed is for resting, not for working.
2. Take breaks in between.
This might be a no-brainer, but most of us tend to forget, especially given the current situation. So, I’m saying it anyway – it’s important to take a mental break.
‘Power breaks’ will help you avoid fatigue and will even make you more productive at work once you resume. For me, 15 – 20 minutes break time is an acceptable amount of interval to reset and do something to unwind.
- You can do a short guided meditation. There are tons of free podcasts on Spotify that you can check out.
- You can squeeze in a 15-minute workout if you’re unable to do it in the morning. Any exercise that can get you moving for the day is fine and YouTube has a lot of content for that.
- You can simply have a cup of tea or coffee and just let your mind wander. This is how I take my breaks. I make myself a cup of Joe, look at my plants, and make time pass for a good 15-20 minutes.
3. Learn how to switch off.
You need to make a conscious effort to not be tempted to finish off a few things in the evening. We all used to clock off and set time and travel home from work, now we need another evening ritual.
- Leave your work phone and laptop be. Out of sight, out of mind. Put your phone and laptop in one corner and leave them be, or might as well HIDE IT. Else, you’ll be tempted to reach for it once you officially clock off. And you’ll fall into the endless work spiral again.
- Focus on your dinner. No work phones or laptops in the dining table. It should only be your food, your family, and YOU.
- Set a social call. Make it a point to talk to your friends or significant other. This automatically switches your brain from work to ‘play’ mode. Tried and tested, I tell you.
- Sleep. Need I say more?
4. Be active and stay consistent.
With or without the COVID19 pandemic, this should be a mainstay on your list. Am I right?
See, we’re just at home most of the time. We’re probably just on the sofa working all day, taking minimal steps to the bathroom, kitchen, and to other parts of your house that are probably just 20 steps away from where you are. Think about it. We spend less physical energy during this time and that’s not healthy.
Right now, we need to make a conscious effort to move more and make that steps meter go up (and I’m not talking about taking more frequent trips to the kitchen).
Staying fit is not just crucial to maintain a healthy physique, it is also imperative for a healthy mind and emotional wellbeing. We have to realize that moving our body and breaking a sweat improves our mood throughout the day, above all else. Thanks to that great rush of endorphin and dopamine.
We stay active and commit to it not just to have a sexy body, but to stay mentally and emotionally fit as well. So, start now! YouTube and Google are your friends!
5. Prioritize your relationships.
Keeping in touch with people who matters to us the most is the best way to soothe our sanity. Since we are no longer given the luxury to see our friends and significant others as often as we used to, it has been extra challenging to stay connected.
Good thing technology is here for us to take advantage of.
Communication has always been an essential part of a healthy relationship. Now more than ever, you should take time to schedule calls/chats with your friends/significant other. Talk about the positives from your day – small achievements, something that made you smile, reminisce about fun memories, etc. This will surely help you feel lighter at the end of the day. And who doesn’t want that?
6. Keep your weekends sacred.
Another no-brainer. Weekends should always be sacred. And I’m saying it again, in case you forget.
Relax and treat yourself! Being at home all the time doesn’t mean you can’t take a break from one helluva week.
Do your work-out. Go binge-watch Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. Bury yourself in bed and sleep all day. Just do it. The weekend is yours. You deserve it.