I may not be “working from home” from a 9-5 corporate job, but as a stay-at-home mom I do know a little bit about staying home all day. And I know how it can be absolutely maddening after a little while. As a new mom I was so excited to finally be at home all day with my kiddos, but the novelty wears off quickly. Thanks to COVID-19 and social distancing, many of us will be (and should be!) staying in our homes and the thought is a little intimidating. Here’s a few tips that help get me through those long days staying home. I hope they help you too!
Keep A Schedule
It is so tempting to sleep until the last possible minute when you’re working from home. DON’T DO IT! Try to stick to a schedule so that you don’t feel like you’re completely lost. This will help your productivity and your mood! Go to bed at your normal time and wake up at your normal time. If you usually have a long commute, use that extra time in the morning to practice self-care. Take a long shower, read a little while with your morning coffee, do an at-home work out, or eat a good breakfast. Any and all of those activities will help you wake up and help you feel more relaxed and refreshed when it’s time to start your work day.
One of the perks of staying home all day is getting to stay in your PJs right? While that may be true at first, staying in your pajamas all day will eventually get old. You will feel sloppy and unmotivated. Instead, get up, take a shower, brush your hair and get dressed. You don’t necessarily need to be in office attire, but don’t work in what you slept in. Put on a pair of leggings and a tee that you’d wear out of the house. Throw on a comfy dress. Maybe put on a little makeup and accessorize. I used to stay in my pajamas most of the day and it always made me feel kinda gross. The days that I’m the happiest and most productive are the days where I get dressed for the day, even if my day consists of staying at home.
Clean Work Space
Just like you feel better and are more productive when you’re clean and put together, the same is true for the space around you. Take the extra time to put your dishes in the dishwasher or hang up the clothes you decided not to wear. A cluttered and dirty space is going to drain you of your focus and energy. Use the extra time in the morning or evening when you are usually commuting to do a quick clean every day. Or set aside a day once a week, like I do. A clean space will help you feel more relaxed when you aren’t working and more focused when you are.
The biggest drawback to staying home all day is the access to all of the snacks! You go to grab a handful of chips and next thing you know, the whole bag is gone. Then after a few days of just snacking all day, you just aren’t feeling your best. It’s so important to make better snack options and good meals available to yourself when you’re always at home. Try choosing one day a week to meal prep for a few days. You can prep your lunches, dinners or even both to make things really easy on yourself. By preparing ahead of time, you’re setting yourself up for having good, solid meals almost every day. You could even prep a few healthy snacks to grab instead of reaching for the junk food. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t eat chips or desserts at all, just not all day. Nutritious meals will help boost your mood, your immune system and help keep live feeling normal. Also, drink plenty of water!
Get Some Fresh Air
Open the windows, go for a walk, drink your coffee on the patio in the morning or have a cocktail outside in the evening, work on the porch of awhile. Whatever! Just get outside! Social distancing may mean that it’s not the best idea to go out to eat or to a local bar, but you can still go outside. Staying cooped up inside all day is not good for your mood and could lead to feeling antsy or anxious, so get some Vitamin D! Whenever I feel like life is a little to crazy or I’m about to lose my mind, I load the kids in the stroller and go for a walk. It doesn’t fix everything, but it definitely makes me feel better.
Going to the gym is definitely not a good idea right now, but there are a ton of other ways to move your body. You could go for a walk, turn up some music and dance it out, or try an at-home workout. There are a ton of excellent programs out there that can be done while staying home. You can check out this post from my friend Liz for some ideas for at-home workout programs. I just signed up for Tone It Up because they are offering a free month to check out their app, which is full of at-home workouts. I also know that a lot of trainers on Instagram are offering free services to help people get their workouts in while staying at home.
Socialize (from a distance)
While social distancing is the best thing that we can do to slow the spread of COVID-19, that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our relationships with friends and family. Call or FaceTime your relatives. Set up group chats on Skype or Google Hangouts and have cocktails with friends in the evening. There are so many ways that you can spend time with the people that you love, even if you can’t be in the same room as them at the moment. I will be having some “coffee dates” in the mornings before my kids wake up with some of my friends, just to keep my extroverted soul happy and energized. I’m also setting up some virtual play dates for the kids too because it’s important for everyone to socialize!
Take the time to take care of yourself. Enjoy an extra long shower or bath, paint your nails, read a book, unplug. When you’re staying home all day it’s very easy to have your home feel like a prison. By giving yourself the space and time you need to relax and recharge will help you not completely hate your house.
Have a Work Space
Now, this tip isn’t one that I’ve had to practice, but my self-employed friends insist that it is crucial to have a designated space to work. This means that once the work day is over, you can step away. The separation of your work space from your regular living space helps to separate work from life, so that you are able to relax in the evenings rather than just think about work. It will also help you to be less distracted when you’re working, especially if you’re in the midst of projects that require a lot of attention.
I honestly hope that these tips help you as we all navigate the crazy times we are in. As an extrovert, I totally understand the challenges of being stuck at home, but I do believe social distancing is for the best. I have family members, including my mother, that are at higher risk and I appreciate any extra measures taken to keep them safe. Rather than focusing on the negative aspects of staying in, I’m trying to think of all good that can come of it. Not only just keeping others safe, but the silly little perks of not thinking about going out. Like how many house projects I can get done, spring cleaning, no excuses to not exercise, getting creative with cooking and watching all of the TV.