It’s hard to find even one aspect of life that hasn’t been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis has uprooted lives and disrupted daily schedules for people across the globe. And now, with more schools closing down and a large number of companies relying on remote work to help prevent the virus’s spread, it can feel especially difficult to achieve any semblance of normalcy in our day-to-day lives. And that can be stressful: over 80 percent of people say that they’re worried about changes to their existing routines and structures in our new normal, according to a Thrive Global survey of 5,000 respondents around coronavirus pain points.
Establishing successful new routines — when we can’t keep our old ones — is key. A study from Virginia Commonwealth University found that a consistent morning routine helped people fall asleep faster come nighttime, and helped them sleep more soundly. Good sleep is always important, but at a time when we all need to protect our immunity, it’s more critical than ever. A study from the University of Tübingen in Germany found that sleep deprivation reduces the efficiency of immune cells that help fight off viruses and pathogens.
And routines don’t only boost our physical health; they can also strengthen our mental well-being, mitigating the sense of general anxiety that many people feel throughout the day, according to research in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. That study also found that in a moment of anxiety or upset, turning to a ritual or routine is more effective in reducing anxiety than simply trying to calm down.
Ready to begin building new morning routines and set your day up right? These Microsteps — small, science-backed actions you can start taking immediately to build habits that significantly improve your life — will help:
Every morning, dress the same way you would if you were going to the office.
Working in whatever you would wear at the office rather than your PJs signals to yourself that you’re in work mode.
Start each remote workday with a quick gratitude exercise.
Write down in your work notebook one thing you’re grateful for today, whether it’s the chance to spend more time with family, the extra time saved from a commute, or the familiar view out your window. Science shows that flexible workers experience greater gratitude, so use this time to soak that in.
Working From Home in the New Normal is a data-driven storytelling initiative from SAP and Thrive Global, bringing together insights powered by the Qualtrics Remote Work Pulse with actionable Microsteps and stories from Thrive to help you navigate working from home. Visit daily for the latest data and stories to help improve your focus, prioritization, and well-being.
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