I thought I had it made once.
I had a job that allowed me to work from home.
I dove in headfirst, taking advantage of every luxury the opportunity afforded me. Wearing pajamas all day, working with the television on, eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. And on and on.
By the end of the first week, I was off my rocker. Moody. Tired. Weird poops. The list goes on.
What I didn’t realize was that even though I was working from home, I was still a normal human being. This wasn’t a Get Out of Jail Free card. There were certain expectations my mind, body, and spirit had come to expect from me to feel healthy and whole, and I wasn’t anywhere close to meeting them.
Pajamas all day, for example.
Our minds make connections with the things we wear. This, in turn, influences our behavior. Subconsciously, pajamas equal bedtime, or at the very least, not working. Staying in pajamas all day – even if we change into a fresh pair after your morning shower – tells our brain that it is the exact opposite of work time. And when we try to work, we are resistant and less productive.
When I had my first day of work from home this week, I made sure I kept my routine of getting up early, doing yoga, taking a shower, and getting dressed for work.
It made a huge difference. Despite the absolutely wild ride this week was, I felt better on Friday night than I did at the end of the first week of that job I referred to earlier.
How about working with the television on? Again, this external element is a signal to our brain that our priority should be the noisy picture box in front of us, not the other stuff we’re trying to get done. I’ve reached a point where I can’t even write with music on. I need quiet. If I’m in the next room and I hear a TV or podcast, I’m done.
There’s a time and a place for everything, and we need to be mindful of that as we adjust to our new, temporary lives as home workers.
Then there’s food. Oh, food. I love you so much. Especially you, pizza. But working from home isn’t a free-for-all. By the time I’d decided to find an office to work in at that job from earlier, I’d put on nearly 12 pounds. Being home all the time means easy access to food. Especially comfort food, which we’ve never felt more of a need for. We can’t do it, though.
I’ve spent the last six months or so doing intermittent fasting. I don’t eat between 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 a.m. Then I eat healthy meals with a reasonable treat here and there. Sunday is my cheat day, and I enjoy a nice breakfast. I’m sticking with this as work from home (and as of Monday, unemployment) became the norm.
The common thread between these three things is this: establish a routine and stick to it. Look at your daily schedule, prioritize what is important in this new situation we’re in, and make it happen every day. Eating, sleeping, working, reading, exercising, writing, napping, whatever. Make a time for it, and be consistent, with the allowance for some flexibility.
Make the best of our new situation, but don’t over-indulge.