In these difficult and uncertain times, it is so easy to get yourself wrapped up in anxiety. A lot of you have never had to work from home before, making this new scenario seem much scarier and a venture into the unknown. Not to mention the fear of not being able to separate the work from home life. It’s true, cabin fever is a real thing.

Being self-employed myself and used to working from home on a regular basis means I can shed some light on the positives, plus give tips on how to stop yourself from going stir crazy. I’ve also given some some suggestions for those of you that may be struggling with the self-isolation, have been put out of work, and in need of something to keep your mind occupied.

Routine

You may feel tempted to have that extra hour in bed now you’re working from home, but it’s so important to keep your routine as normal as possible. Getting up early, making your bed and practicing your normal morning rituals has a much more positive impact than staying in your PJ’s all day. Once the work day is over, you can look forward to getting back into those comforts, settling on the sofa with a glass of wine, just as you would when coming home from the office.

Writing lists and setting out goals throughout the day is also beneficial. There is nothing more satisfying than crossing off completed tasks no matter how big or small, it gives a sense of accomplishment, which will greatly help with mental health too.

Stay disciplined. The only time I will work from the sofa or watch telly in the middle of the day is if I’m hungover (true story). Keep those leisure and work times as separate as possible. If you wish to watch something on your lunch break, by all means do so, but make sure you don’t get sucked into a Netflix binge session and complete a whole TV series in one day.

Try setting up near a window or where there is plenty of light. It helps to boost your mood and creates a much more pleasant environment to work in.

Take regular breaks. One thing that can help is putting your phone away and do 45 minute intervals of productive work. You can then reward yourself with 10/15 minutes on your phone, whether that’s scrolling Instagram or creating a quick Tik-Tok video. Whatever floats your boat.

 

Practice self-care

The news is scary, uncertain and causing a lot of panic. But you’re not alone. Practicing self-care is such an easy way to distract yourself and keep those anxieties at bay.

Be kind to yourself, whether that’s taking a long bath at the end of the day, putting on a face mask or buying your favourite chocolate. Cook your favourite meals, watch a feel-good film. Boosting your mood can really be as simple as that.

There are a whole range of different apps to use that can help you practice self-care too. ‘Calm’ helps to support you through anxieties, which may be particularly during self-isolation, by teaching breathing exercises and meditation.  Cooking apps are also a great option to help inspire you at meal times and give you something to look forward to eating each day. Comfort food doesn’t have to be just takeaway pizzas and chocolate, learn a new skill and cook something you normally wouldn’t have time to do!

 

Get moving

The gym is one of the best distractions for when things get a little too much, now a lot of those have closed, it’s time to turn to home work-outs.

Loads of fitness influencers and celebrities have been doing Instagram live videos, meaning you can join in just as you would with your own personal PT. Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) has joined the bandwagon and has already been streaming live work-outs each morning, which you can join in at the same time or save for later. Doing these from home mean you can take your time and exercise at your own pace, which is great for those of you that aren’t used to high intensity training.

If you’re not used to working at home and don’t necessarily have the right working equipment i.e a proper back supporting chair, yoga is another great option to help stretch out. YouTube is your friend here; you can choose difficulty levels as well as goals, for example, morning energising routines to help start your day or evening power-down sequences that help you relax after work. ‘Yoga with Adriene’ is someone who does this well, and is a great way to start introducing a new exercise into your daily routine. The meditation is also a really positive way to deal with anxieties during this difficult time.

You can purchase home work-out equipment online (Amazon prime next day delivery is a great option) such as weights, resistance bands, yoga mats and more. If you’re a little strapped for cash, get creative and look for things around your home. Bag of sugar? Empty 2L milk bottle filled up with water? Detergent bottles?

Turn to literature

A lot of us are so fixated on our phones and social media, it can actually make us feel worse about the situation that is happening around the world. Although social platforms are often a positive way to stay connected, not to mention the crackin’ memes that are coming out this pandemic. However, putting your phone away and focusing on a book or a magazine is one of the best distractions you can have.

If you’re not big into literature, Google books that are more light-hearted and easy to read, this means you’ll enjoy it much more rather than get bored and reach for your phone again. There’s a lot to be learnt from reading, studies have shown that it can help reduce depression, stimulate your imagination, enhance your vocabulary, improve your writing skills and lower stress. Plus, if you pick up your book half an hour or so before bed time, you’ll have a much better quality sleep. What’s not to love?!

 

Passion projects

Ever wanted to do something or start a hobby but never had time to do it? Now’s your chance.

Whether it’s making tracks to start up a business, learning a new language or even just a skill you want to perfect, these are small things that will keep your brain stimulated and engaged, therefore channelling that negativity into something positive.  Particularly for those currently out of work, these next 3 weeks could be spend doing something you actually really love, try and enjoy it.

 

Get creative

This may not be for everyone, but for the majority of us, we all like engaging in some sort of creative project now and again. Whether that’s musically artistically, written or whatever you enjoy doing.

Self-isolation doesn’t mean you have to sit there and stare at the same 4 walls all day. There are lots of supplies you can buy online and have delivered to give you something to do. From painting, sewing, knitting, crocheting type crafts to finally getting around to those home furnishing jobs you’ve been putting off all this time.

Stay connected

A lot of us are worried about feeling lonely over the next however long. Popping over to your mates for a beer is no longer an option. Introducing the ‘virtual pub’. Join a FaceTime group call, open up your favourite drink and that’s it. No need to faff around getting ready either, you can just chill out in your PJs; kind of a bonus really. You’re still socialising, but in a much safer way that doesn’t go against government guidelines. And when you’ve drank a little too much, you’re already home so no need for a taxi home. WINNING.

Netflix have recently released ‘watch parties’ which means multiple people can tune in at once and you can all watch a film or series together, but remotely. You can invite friends, play, pause, fast forward and rewind films together therefore always staying on the same time-frame. No need to call up and do the “3…2…1…play!” thing anymore. This is a free extension for Google Chrome so make sure to check it out.

It’s so important to check in on friends and loved ones at a time like this, not everyone will be dealing with it well and a friendly chat can go a long way.  What’s 10 minutes out of your day to say hello?

 

Get organised

Everyone has one of those random drawers full of ‘things’ that don’t have a home (or stuff we just can’t be bothered to put away properly). You say you’re going to sort it out all the time but never do. Now’s your chance!

Why not go the whole-hog and give your house the spring clean it (probably) needs? Here is a list of ideas to get you started…

Kitchen

  • Clean out fridge and wash all the drawers/shelves
  • Clean oven
  • Clean out cupboards & drawers (food, crockery, pans etc.)
  • Clean microwave
  • Tupperware
  • Cleaning supplies

Living room

  • Organise any drawers, cupboards or storage spaces
  • Put aside any books, DVDs, CDs that you are wanting to donate.
  • Sort out any odd electrical bits- get rid of those cables, chargers and plugs that have no use

Bedroom

  • Wardrobe clear out- be ruthless! Including shoes, bags, accessories, the lot.
  • Organise your bedside drawers
  • Sort through any linen cupboards

Bathroom

  • Sort out all those half empty shampoo bottles and moisturisers (ones you most likely received in a Christmas gift set back in 2016)
  • Thoroughly clean the shower, sink, toilet and bathroom sides
  • Clean all your make-up brushes
  • Organise your skincare products and chuck away anything out of date

Other

  • Sort out your purse, bin any unwanted receipts and organise bank cards
  • Organise all your life-admin things such as paperwork/ bills and put them into a labelled file
  • If you’re self-employed, this is a great time to get ahead of your taxes
  • Clear your computer desktop and any unwanted files
  • Sort through your emails and delete junk mail
  • Clear your phone camera roll/unwanted apps to free up storage space

Small, simple tasks like these are a healthy way to keep your preoccupied whilst still feeling like your accomplished something. Not to mention the great feeling you’ll have once this is all over and you’re coming out of it feeling the most organised you’ve ever been. Bonus or what?!

Cover image : @kate.lavie (Instagram)