For a year now, I’ve been part of the group that have been forced to work from home. When the pandora hit, I for one had no idea to what extent it would hit and the hold it would have over the world over a year later.
At first, working from home wasn’t all bad. Since it started during my internship, it was convenient to not have to pay for two homes while I finished the last of my schooling. Being in my university town also made sure I was close to my friends and the people I had bonded with most since moving to Sweden. On another note, working from home wasn’t all bad when it started. Taking care of chores during the day, cooking for lunch, background TV on slow days… The familiar environment made me feel more productive in my personal life as well. For instance, nearing the end of my internship I had to prepare to move out which was easier since I could be more flexible with searching out potential landlords and organising my things. I promise, I did work and worked very hard! One thing I also enjoyed is that when the clock hit 5PM, all I had to do was shut down my laptop and I was free for the evening. In theory, working from home had all the potential to be great, but it wasn’t all roses.
Working from home and being isolated 24/7 ruined my mental state. Every morning I would roll out of bed minute before work and straight into my desk chair. I cover this experience a bit more here. So how did I conquer WFH? I didn’t. Well I feel at least like I’m getting close or at least learnt the things that absolutely do NOT work and the solutions that eased the situation.
1. Forcing yourself to get dressed/shower
This is probably the easiest hardest place to start. It can be uber convenient to just roll out of bed, turning on your camera for zoom meetings isn’t always necessary and no one else is going to see you, right? Forcing myself to get dressed in the morning and out of my pyjamas did wonders for getting my head ready to start the work day. Just putting on fresh clothes can help you trick yourself.
2. Designated area for work
Now this can be a little harder, but even having your desk facing away from your bed can help! The solution for me was moving out into my own place but that’s not necessarily available for everyone. In my new environment, I’m able to sleep in an area that’s separate to my work space. Potentially the main benefit might be having a home to myself, but not being tempted by my bed and being physically forced to go into a different room (even more downstairs) is life changing for WFH life.
3. Make my bed
I think this is an old tip, but still applicable! Making your bed in the morning has more than one benefit. One: doing a simple task like this can get you on the right start for a more productive day. Two: if you’ve made your bed, it’s less tempting to get back into earlier in the day.
4. Exercise a few times a week
It doesn’t have to be too strenuous or too passionate of a work out, but a walk or Zumba class will help more than you think. Getting fresh air, even in a parallelogram, is a necessity. You’ll notice more once you have deprived yourself of it, but it’s good good. Zumba was a great fix as the regular schedule ensured that outside of my 9-5, I’d still have some schedule. There’s a TikTok with a Hot Girl Walk playlist that encourages a daily walk to rework your thoughts and focus on positivity, a great combo!
5. Have something to look forward to!
More than anything, I noticed that I had nothing to look forward to which consistently dulled my spirit. Life was this and nothing was coming up. I couldn’t travel to see my family, at the worst times I wasn’t completely stable in my work, I had supposedly graduated and it was the middle of a pandemic. There was seemingly nothing bright around the corner. For the first time in a few years I was excited for my birthday. Appreciating anything that can be bigger than it might have been before and finding joy where it is appears to be absent will help keep you cool.