Almost every one of us has been dreaming about doing work from home: the pleasure of never having to leave the bed, taking naps now and then, and not having to deal with the evening-packed train or the traffic jam. Now, as the pandemic has taken control over our lives, we are forced to work from home.
As it turns out, working from home has left many of us feeling even more exhausted compared to going to the office—if not more. And if so, then how is it possible?
First of all, a constant video call creates fatigue upon us. It takes a lot of energy to maintain long eye contacts while deliberately reacting to what your co-workers said through the laptop screen. The way that we engage in virtual space has made our communication patterns flattened, as the value is diluted. The lack of social interaction in the professional sphere has inevitably left us feeling empty, especially since we are expected to get the work done without being able to gain emotional fulfilment from others.
With less human contact in our workplace, the ability to do everything and not doing anything at the same time also adds to more problems. As our offices move into our home, it blurred the lines between our private and social contexts, which might be uncomfortable for most of us. Starting from having a call while cooking lunch, to procrastinating on the bed and doing nothing, our work-life balance gets heavily disrupted. Our sleep quality gets deteriorated as well, when we either oversleep or are lack of sleep at all. This can lead to impaired cognitive function, and physical exhaustion as our circadian rhythms get messed around.
As hard as it may sound, the most important thing we have to do to maintain our physical and mental health is to create some rules and boundaries on ourselves. Believe that if we keep doing this unhealthy routine, we will not just mess with our works, but we will even fall apart anytime soon. Here are some rules that we should apply to keep our health on the check.
Stick to your schedule
Maintain the same schedule with your regular routines before the pandemic happened. If you already customised to wake up at 7, then do the same routine. Even if you don't have to commute to work anymore, but use the spare time to take a shower, get dressed, and make breakfast so that you will be properly prepared for the day.
If you take lunch at 12, then maximise your lunch break as to how it is used to be—use it to take a rest, listen to some music, or even take a 20 minutes nap if necessary.
It is also important to keep your sleeping schedule on time. While it is tempting to stay late at night reading books or watching movies, but keep in mind that your sleep cycle is highly crucial for your health and wellness.
Work anywhere—except on your bed
It would be best to work on your office desk so that you will be able to fully concentrate on your work. If you don't have a proper desk, you may also convert your living room as a temporary work station. However, it might also be another challenge when you live with other family members, such as partners, parents, or even kids. That being said, the best thing you can do about it is to negotiate with your family to find the best solution, such as schedule ahead your uninterrupted work time around your preferred areas.
If your bedroom is the only available option, then, the least you can do is to not conduct your work from bed. Find any space in your bedroom that you can transform into a workspace. That way, you can put your focus on your work instead of fighting the temptation of your comfortable bed.
Limit your news consumption
Sometimes, the disadvantage of working from home during the pandemic is not even about the work itself. It is about our anxiety, fear, and worries that taking control of our bodies. Taking a few days' breaks from the news could really help us to maintain our mental health. We may not realise it, but our stress and insomnia might also come from the excessive news consumption during the day.
Don't be so hard on yourself
Productivity is not your main priority—your wellbeing is. We get it, a job is really important, and a little bit of stress was a standard part of working life, right? That's why it came with a paycheck. But when you overwork yourself to the point of chronic stress and burnouts, it is not safe to continue that habit of yours anymore. You need to feed some love and compassion for your mind, body, and soul by asserting important boundaries in your work life.
Treat your body with kindness by eating a healthy meal so that you can function well throughout the day. Limit your caffeine intake, instead, practice a light exercise to keep yourself revive, as well as avoiding fatigue. Make some spare time to meditate when you wake up and when you're about to sleep to keep your mind in check. Last but not least, always remember to take good care of yourself and allow time to recharge by celebrating everyday small wins.