I’ve been working from home for quite some time now yet not full time. Typically, I report into an office location a couple of days during the work week. My young children attend school. This was my normal routine before March 16, 2020.
Now, like the rest of the country capable of working from a home office, I am doing so full-time. Plus, my children are young enough to need guidance to get through school lessons. Oh! And don’t forget the typical housework that needs to get done during the week. Somewhere in the time crunch we must find time for self-care. I’ve got some tips for you that are (so far) working for me.
Tip #1 – Get up before your children.
Getting up before your children may very well mean getting up really early. That may sound like a horrible idea, but getting up early before your children will give you some time for yourself.
Now, you may be tempted to jump right into your work. I get it. You’ve got a lot to do. However, I urge you not to do that. Take this time for you to breathe, to think, and to enjoy some quiet moments before the noise of the day begins. You may even develop a morning routine. If you don’t, that’s okay, too! Either way, this morning time will allow you to begin the day on your terms.
Tip #2 – Put your clothes on.
Yes, as tempting and inviting as it may seem, working in your pajamas is not something I recommend. Take the time to get showered and dressed as you would any other workday. You are caring for your body and your mind at the same time.
When you take care of yourself in this manner, you are giving yourself some normalcy, you will feel more professional, and you will feel ready to tackle your workday. If you have children, this might even give you 10 minutes to yourself. So, yes, put your clothes on, Girl.
Tip #3 – Schedule your breaks.
When you are working from your kitchen table, your couch, or your home office, it’s easy to get caught up in all that you must do and forget to take breaks. However, that is not healthy. Schedule your breaks throughout the day, including a lunch break.
This might be a great time to implement the Pomodoro Technique. The technique gives you short bursts of work time followed by brief break periods. I’ve written about this before, and I’ve linked that post here.
Do not eat lunch at your computer. Take a normal lunch break away from your desk. Since you are home, make it fun. Eat on your front porch (weather permitting, of course) or eat lunch with your family. A good friend even suggested teaching your older children culinary arts and have them prepare lunch for all of you. (I will leave that to you to decide what your children are ready for in the kitchen.) With more time in your home with your family right now sharing a meal with them is important. It gives a sense of togetherness and family.
Tip #4 – Schedule home-school time.
If you have young children who need to continue with their studies, be sure to schedule their home-school time. Determine how much time they need based on how their school is approaching their home-based learning. Do your children need to show up for virtual classes? Are they given assignments that they need to complete on their own? Keeping their school-time to a specific time of day allows you to keep your focus where you need to during the day (and not divided).
Tip #5 – Set your work-day end time (and stick to it).
I recommend setting clear boundaries around your work-day. Know when it begins and know when it ends. When you are in your own home, it can be too easy to work all hours. If you find yourself having difficulties breaking away at the end of your scheduled work-day, you might consider using an alarm clock to signal the end of your day.
Setting clear boundaries and sticking to them allows you to be there for your family and yourself. You know when to come up for air and take time for yourself.
Tip #6 – Get your exercise.
Make sure you get enough exercise. When you work out of your home, you have several different options for exercise. You might take a walk in your neighborhood, use a workout DVD, walk up and down your stairs, or put some music on and dance in your living room.
Taking care of your body is excellent self-care. Exercise can boost your mood, help you sleep at night (just don’t exercise too late in the day), and improve your overall health. Oh, come on, we all know these things! Let’s just do it, okay? It’s good for us and makes us feel good.
Tip #7 – Get your sleep.
And last (but definitely not least), make sure you get enough sleep. Not too much and not too little. We are looking for the Goldilocks zone of sleep. This form of self-care is paramount to your whole day. When you are well-rested, you have the energy to get your exercise, work your schedule, oversee your children’s homeschooling and anything else that may come up.
I know we don’t talk about self-care a whole lot in this blog, but it really does have an impact on your productivity (something we do talk about). Right now a lot of things are different. We are spending more time under our own roof right now, and it’s too easy to take care of everyone else’s needs and forget ourselves. However, if we don’t take good care of ourselves, we put ourselves at risk of not being there for our family. You know the saying on an airplane, “Put your oxygen mask on before helping someone with theirs.”
Question of the Day: Do you have any tips you wish to share? Put them in the comments section below, so that we can all come together and help one another.
Now This Is Moore Like It!