COVID-19 has changed the world. Not only this, it has had a great impact on the way we work and live. Many people around the globe have shifted to work from home which did sound exciting at first since we get to maintain our work-life balance. But on the downside, it can become very frustrating for social people. Like me.
I have never worked from home in my life before. Being an outgoing individual, I like noise. Staying home during quarantine for self-isolation was very eventful for me. Still is. It is not just Pandemic that has forced me to work remotely, but also my fracture.
Either it is the pandemic or broken bones, this new reality is actually stressful and I can attest to that from my own personal experience of being locked up at home.
It is a total myth that working from home is stress-free. It isn’t. Changing routines, adapting to technologies and zoom meetings, learning to communicate virtually, growing as a professional… all of these are contributing factors to our fear and anxiety. Working from home has its own setbacks, managing which is a skill.
I have had many episodes of emotional outbreak and depression during my stay at home. Because I was not only dealing with the change in routine which meant a great deal to me since I don’t accept change easily, but I also had to manage workplace expectations and personal responsibilities and relationships.
The first few months were very difficult. But then you can not keep dwelling on it. I had to make a change and so I did.
Here, I will share some of the tips that helped me manage my stress while staying at home. Because we all know, deep down, that quarantine is not going to end anytime soon.
Set early morning work-out routine
Exercising is considered a great medicine for reducing stress. We may not be able to hit the gym during the Pandemic, but we can still have a 10 minute morning work-out session before starting our daily activities.
At some point, stress depletes our energy which makes it difficult to concentrate, simple breathing exercises can rejuvenate your soul. Meditate, stretch, lift weights, dance to your favorite rhythm, or walk around the house. Even doing chores is the best way to release stress.
I usually watched youtube fitness videos to follow, but since I have had a fracture I only do what I can.
Accept that you need a break
If you are working from home, you know that you have spent hours staying connected to your screens. That’s not how it should be. Spending minute after minute working, adds to your stress and robs you of your work-life balance. I remember when I had unhealthy working from home patterns. I used to work and eat and repeat. There was no concept of day or night.
During quarantine and social distancing, you may not be able to get away for a weekend but you can still take a break. Make yourself a nice cup of herbal tea, sit by the porch, and enjoy nature. You don’t have to spend hours sitting on the porch; only a few minutes can do the trick. You simply need some time to unwind.
Know when to ask for help
Are you the one with all the responsibility? Working from home and managing family expectations can become very overwhelming. But it doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own.
Taking on too many responsibilities on your own fuels stress. So don’t be afraid to ask for help. Call up your friends or parents if things become a little too unmanageable. Delegate tasks to your family members or better yet set a schedule for who is supposed to do what and when.
Arrange virtual parties
When we are working from home we may lose track of our socializing activities. But spending time with friends and family other than yourself is also very important. Since we can not hang out at a fancy restaurant, arrange virtual dinners and potlucks.
My favorite was having movie nights over the weekend with my partner since he is away from work and quarantine is restricting the visit. But to curb loneliness while staying and working from home you can still plan social-distancing hangouts. You just need to be a little creative in your approach.
Take time out for self-care
For me, self-care is not just going to my favorite spa or getting my nails done. Cooking my favorite meal and reading a book can fill in the gap. Working from home actually allowed me to experiment with food which I found very exciting. It not only gave me a sense of accomplishment but also I got to try new things.
Also, reading books is a perfect way to kill time if you are bored. Not only did I just cook or read, but I also tried making sock puppets after I binged Friends.
Learn to say ‘NO’
Staying connected to your team during the Pandemic is crucial. Obviously, you don’t want to disappear but know when to say NO. There are times when we get work requests after office hours and it becomes difficult to refuse simply because we are working from home so why not.
But, trust me, it is perfectly fine to say no. Show some compassion to yourself. You can not be productive at all times of the day. Try not to let the stress of saying no consume you. Delay the task on to the next day knowing that you have done your part for the day. Procrastinate a little, it doesn’t hurt. I have always adopted a polite approach to saying no, and I think it is the best way.
Last but not least
Staying at home is not easy. At the office we are surrounded by people with their saucy gossips, we simply can not recreate the same environment during remote work. But we are presently stuck in a situation where we are trying to strike a perfect balance between work and life, stress, and relaxation.
Having said that, you may not want to put too much pressure on yourself during these times. Just choose to spend your time in a way that makes you feel happy and stay stress-free.