Ever since the pandemic began, the world is on a grand work-from-home-experiment. To some, working from home has been a dream come true: wearing pajama bottoms all day, taking meetings in bed, avoiding the commute. For others it may be the exact opposite: no social interaction, lack of a workday structure, and staying in all day can start to get in the way of our productivity, but more importantly, our mental wellbeing.
As a managing partner at Scale Media, going from interacting with dozens of colleagues on a daily basis and helping maintain a high level of energy and collaboration, to sitting in solitude at my desk every day has been quite an adjustment. Seven months into this, I’ve managed to draw on my past experience in the military, and as a remote freelancer to establish a healthy daily routine, that I’m consistently optimizing.
Here are five things I do to help maintain productivity, positivity, and mental wellness.
1. Meditate: meditation is perhaps the most useful tool in my arsenal to combat anxiety and instill a sense of calm and equanimity. It can take some time and effort to find the right one for you. I rotate between several different meditations every couple of weeks to keep things interesting.
Here are some of my favorite resources:
Insight Timer(App): the largest meditation resource and community in the world with over 60,000 meditations, most of them free. You’ll surely find something to suit your style.
Headspace (App): If you’ve never meditated and are looking for an easy way in, take their free 10 day course. It’s a great onboarding experience to the principles of meditation and it’s only 5 minutes per day
Yoga Nidra: Yoga nidra or yogic sleep is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, like the “going-to-sleep” stage, typically induced by a guided meditation. I love doing it to help me fall asleep at night. My favorite is this one here by bulletproof. If you google, you’ll find dozens of them online.
2. Maintain personal appearance: It’s tempting to completely let go of our appearance in the isolated environment we are currently collectively experiencing. Make sure to keep your daily hygiene and wardrobe routine (with some comfortable exceptions, of course.) Keeping this routine helps maintain a sense of normality and control. When I served in the military, this was a key principle we would always adhere to during long times away from home.
3. Sit outside, in the sun. Try to work (or play) for at least 30 mins per day outdoors. If you have a patch of grass or earth, take off your shoes and put your feet on the ground (read more on “grounding”.) Connecting to the earth and getting in some sun all have meaningful health benefits. Breathing in fresh air, and feeling the sun on your face can help prevent feelings the blues, and cabin fever
4. Help others in need: Feelings of helplessness in the face of this current situation are not unfounded. This is a crisis of global scale that can make us feel very helpless. Taking a proactive approach, and seeing how you can pitch in can help promote lift your spirits and good karma. Whether it’s donating your time, talent, groceries, or cash towards local and global solutions, there’s never been more of a need for a global concerted effort at the individual level.
Some Donation Sources include:
- Feeding America – Helping feed communities in these uncertain times.
- Getusppe.org – providing protective equipment to our healthcare heroes
5. Cut back on the news: It can definitely be tempting to get sucked into the never-ending news cycle and refresh your favorite news outlet every 15 minutes. I got sucked into it for a while and it did not do me good. I made a conscious decision last week to cut down my news exposure to 1-2 times daily and on the weekend, nothing at all. I am feeling a lot better and still well-informed. Instead, I’ve been focusing on doing all of the above!
7. Read books (instead of reading the news). I’m a big reader but must admit that in recent years, my patience for reading full-length books has dwindled (may be all of that instant gratification from my social feeds ;). A great way to keep up on all the new books out there are the multiple book summary startups and apps check out the blinkist app for a great way to read book summaries.