Jul 25, 2017

Work From Home In A Structural Mindful Way

Happy Tuesday friends. Today I have my sweet friend Jamie from Balance + Vine to share some tips and tracks for your work from home day. By the way, she's an American living in Australia so you know she's cool ;) Follow her on Instagram here

“Working from home, I’ve got ideas in my head and a desire to succeed. But well, I also have Netflix.”  

When I had my corporate full-time job, my favorite day of the week was Wednesday. Why, you ask? Because it was my ‘work from home’ day; yay! I loved every minute of it. I would sit on the couch in my pajamas, play Netflix in the background, and answer e-mails and generally be as lazy (physically) as possible.

When I quit my job in April 2016, I couldn’t believe that I got to make everyday a ‘work from home’ day. It was like a dream come true!

Little did I know working from home five days a week is a lot different than working from home one day a week. After just my first week of working from the couch, my back and shoulders were in knots, my hands were getting arthritis, and I felt like the laziest bum on the planet.

If anything, this past year of being self-employed has taught me about how to ‘work from home’ in a mindful and healthy way. In fact, it has taught me how to be at home in a mindful and healthy way. It isn’t just employees that this applies to. Mothers and Fathers around the world spend countless hours at home with their children, caring for them. There is no question these Mothers and Fathers also ‘work from home’ in very much the same way as employees do. When I refer to ‘work from home’, I am referring to anyone who spends their day at home, rather than going into an office every day.

It is important to understand how you can make the most of your ‘work from home’ days, so that you are not only productive in your responsibilities but also taking care of yourself.

The Cooldown
Here are some tips and tricks I would recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to ‘work from home’.  

Decide on a habitual schedule and stick to it

You don’t have to have a mundane “same schedule” every day. However, in general, I recommend choosing a morning ritual, as well as an “active” ritual.

Morning Ritual: For my personal morning ritual, I wake up and drink a glass of water. This is a great way to hydrate and give you energy first thing in the morning. I then brush my teeth, comb my hair, and wash my face. I eat a protein bar, change into my active clothes and head out the door for either yoga or running or [fill-in-the-blank] activity. When I return, I shower, get dressed and boil a cup of tea with honey to get my workday off to a great start.

*For Mothers and Fathers, this may be a little more chaotic getting the kids involved but, it’s OK. It’s your morning ritual, and whatever that entails works. The point is that habitual behavior is calming for human beings and, this is an attempt at finding the de-stressing regularity.

Active Ritual: Getting active and sweaty helps you get out of the house at least once a day, and not to mention all of the other benefits of being active! I recommend choosing a few fitness classes a week that you like to go to. If you choose M, W, and F at 7:30am, then I recommend holding yourself accountable to those times.

*If you’re a Mother or Father and on full-time duty, I recommend finding a fitness class that offers free babysitting. These usually happen around 9:30AM on their schedule. Barre is a common fitness activity that offers this service, amongst others. It’s becoming more and more common, so reach out to your local studios to find out! Other ideas would be to take the stroller for a run or, if your kid knows how to bike ride, plan a run alongside your child when he is bike riding!

Shower everyday

This can be more important than you even realize. Showering gives you a fresh (pun intended) perspective on your day. Being clean makes you feel more presentable, and honestly better from an ego perspective. One big callout: waiting until 4pm so you shower before your partner comes home is not technically the same thing. Although I’ve been known to do that a few times…

Change out of your PJs

Believe me, I know how comfortable they are! Sometimes I still wear my PJs because they just feel so much better! However, I find that I always feel “less productive” on the days I wear PJs. It is a psychological shift from feeling cozy and introverted (ready for bed) versus feeling productive and presentable for your day.

Work from a Desk or Table

Again, I know how comfortable the couch is! However, there’s a couple good reasons why this lowers your productivity and is bad for your health. First and foremost, most couches are not set up for you to have proper alignment in the spine. This leads to back, neck and shoulder pain, injuries and improper alignment in your spine. Also, if your computer, keyboard and mouse are sitting on/next to your lap, they are not set up for correct alignment. This can lead to wrist, hand and shoulder pain quite quickly. Boo! On top of that, if you are listening to background TV noise, I would argue that typing an e-mail is never worse than when you are listening to someone else talk. I have gone back and read e-mails (or blog posts) I wrote when I had Netflix on in the background and, you would be amazed at the typos I created!

Drink Water
I am a firm believer in drinking water. That said, I always forget to drink water. Does this ever happen to you?! What I do to counteract this is, I have a 16 oz mug that I keep next to my computer (and me) at all times. When it is empty, I know that is the time to get up and fill it. No excuses. No e-mail or phone call is more important than water. I bet I have 30 more oz of water in a day just because of this simple habit.

Are you like me and are bored by just plain water? Don’t worry, spice up your water practice! Add fresh mint, lemon, or cucumber to any glass of water for an instant refresh. Herbal tea is always a great option, too!  

Set your Alarm Hourly

This is sort of silly but, it works. Set your alarm or calendar to go off every hour or every 2 hours (depending what feels best for you), and let it be a gentle reminder to get up and do something else. Even if it’s just to walk to the other end of the house, or step outside for a quick jaunt around the neighborhood or grab a cup of coffee or even laundry. I find that the best ideas I have are when I am away from my desk. When I come back to my desk, I always have more clarity on what I want to accomplish in the next couple of hours. Works like a charm!

Keep in mind, I have many times rearranged my habitual schedule to accommodate a special occasion or appointment. Don’t worry about changing it up; just as long as in general you are sticking to a schedule. Remember, it’s all about balance.

Above all else, don’t forget that ‘working from home’ is a privilege. Many employees who go into an office everyday would be thrilled to have the opportunity to ‘work from home’.  We are so lucky to live in a day and age in which working from home is even a possibility. Whether you are spending your days with your kids, or you have a job that allows you to ‘work from home’, you must take time each day to be grateful for what you have. The grass is not always greener, my friends. In this case, you really are on the greener grass. Relish in it.

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  1. I've also just started working from home, these tips are great. I must start being active and leave the house for an hour a day and go for a walk in the park, being cooped up inside all day everyday surely isn't good for me.

    Natalie | Illuminated Hearts

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  2. These are great tips.Especially when I have to work from home

  3. I love these tips! I feel like getting dressed, even when I have nowhere to be, really helps me to feel more productive.

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