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  • Writer's pictureEllen Manson

Working From Home - Holding onto your sanity

Working from home sounds like a dream come true until you realise you haven't left the house in four days and you can't remember when you last interacted with another human being. If you are like me and have taken the plunge into remote work, here are some of my favourite ways to look after my mental wellbeing to ensure I don't seek company from a volleyball (sorry Wilson, you won't get me this time).

Leave the house at least once every day

It is so simple but so effective. Even if you are neck deep in deadlines, make sure you leave the house at least once every day for a change of scenery. Where possible, make sure you get some sun, even if it is only the walk from your home to the grocery store, corner shop or post office - I guarantee you will feel so much better. Taking some time to get outside will refresh your mind and may even boost your productivity when you inevitably have to return to your desk.

Create a ritual or ceremony

When you are working from home, it is very easy for your work life and private life to become one. To create some separation, be sure to create a ritual or ceremony which is entirely YOURS and yours alone. The ritual doesn't have to be anything complex or time consuming, it can be as simple as making a pot of tea, taking a bath with a candle or indulging in a green tea face mask. It doesn't matter what it is, just make sure it makes you happy and isn't something you have to do. As they say, "treat yo' self".

Create designated spaces

I cannot stress this one enough. Make sure you don't EVER work in bed or on the couch no matter how tempting that fluffy duvet is. By creating designated spaces for work and for your personal life, you will help your subconscious associate those spaces with certain mindsets and tasks. This way, when you leave your desk at 5pm - work stays at your desk and you have the rest of your home to enjoy in your own time. By doing this, you will also be able to create a space free from other distractions which will boost your productivity - who knows, maybe you will even finish your work early!

Don't get lazy - ALWAYS wear pants

In every work from home situation, there is always that one co-worker who never wears pants to the weekly zoom call. Don't be that co-worker. Getting up and getting ready in the morning signals to your body that you have started the day. Making sure you are dressed and ready will mean you are always prepared for any unexpected video calls from the boss, eliminating the panicked scramble to get out of your pjs and into something work appropriate. If you are dressed for the day, it will also make getting out of the house more achievable.

Use a digital calendar and keep it up to date

Keeping up with all your responsibilities and tasks can be a chore. Don't let your work get the better of you and keep track of when your deadlines are and what tasks you have due by adding them to a digital calendar or task manager. On my calendar, I also include my personal tasks and responsibilities to ensure I don't sacrifice my personal life for work. If you are using a digital calendar, ensure it isn't able to be accessed by any of your co-workers before you add any of your personal information! (I am fairly sure Gary from sales doesn't want to know when your next gynecologist appointment is).

In short, working from home can be a bit chaotic at first but once you get the hang of it, it can become so much more enjoyable. Life can get busy and don't beat yourself up if you can't keep up with it all, just take a step back, take a deep breath, reflect on how you are feeling and what you can do to get back where you need to be, and try again.

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