I’m typing this from my writing desk at home, adrift in a sea of cardstock and crafting supplies in a shared work room with my wife. This type of scenario isn’t new to me as I spent a number of years working from home, writing for clients all over the world while waiting on immigration documents to come through.
With that said, I consider myself the household expert at the working from home life. When circumstances put me once again into a home office, I was for the second time in the course of the past three months going back to my roots.
I’m in my wheelhouse. I’m fine, all things considered. But so many people aren’t.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re working from home, this column is for you. As you transition into a work-from-home way of life – at least for now – there are a few things you should know about taking care of yourself while working from home.
I get the temptation of wanting to stay in your pjs all day. It’s one less thing to do. However, I find if I get up in the morning, shave, shower and otherwise attempt to smell good and get dressed, I feel much better. Now, more than ever, it’s important to have a sense of normalcy, even if the urge to deviate is strong.
I’m not saying you need to dress in full business regalia, but there should be an element of balance. For me, getting out of the clothes I slept in and getting into something a little more put-together makes me feel a bit more at ease. There’s so much that’s out of our control right now, but the way we dress – one more factor to help us feel good and in-routine – is something we can control. Control of the everyday might make you feel more at ease.
It can be easy to let housework fall by the wayside. Putting together a routine to keep your house clean and tidy, again, helps establish normalcy and put you subconsciously at ease. It’s true, it’s that much more work to do, but normalcy is important.
If you went above and beyond, polishing everything down to the jambs of your basement door, you can probably skip this step for now.
Staying physically active is difficult when you’re cooped up, but it’s important. If you don’t have a DVD of Sweatin’ to the Oldies Vol. 2 lying around, that’s okay. There are a number of ways we can work out in close quarters. I personally favour online routines that involve resistance bands and basic, low-impact cardio that isn’t going to shake the floorboards and make the neighbours below stir-crazy.
If you need to get out of the house, that’s still okay, despite what people may want you to believe. Go for a walk, run or bike ride. Mind the two-metre gap, don’t touch your face. You know the drill.
Talk to each other. Text. Skype. Zoom. Send a carrier pigeon (Okay, maybe not that one). Do whatever you have to do to stay in touch with the people you love. “We’re all in this together” is more than just a nice, poignant platitude.
Working from home makes you feel like you’re an island, and in some ways, you are. Some are okay with that. Others, not so much, but the point is even for the most introverted among us need human contact from time to time.
Check on your shy friends, the social butterflies, the immuno-compromised and the seniors. Even if it’s just to hear a friendly voice, a little “hello” or “how are you doing” can do a world of good.
It’s taken me years to learn to live a day at a time. I’m still getting there. Just remember – with every day that goes by, so long as we continue to keep to the rules (as you have, well done, B.C.!), this, too, shall pass. Stay safe. Stay happy. Stay healthy.
Adam Louis writes from Black Press in the Fraser Valley.