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The importance of self care while working from home
Working from home is starting to become the norm, but I miss my colleagues and ‘I'm looking forward to seeing them all again.
I class myself as an “Ambivert”. Meaning I have traits of both an Introvert and an Extravert. I crave quality time around people but my social meter fills up fairly quickly so it’s not too long before I feel the need to retreat into my own space. I think there is an art in knowing how to be happy in your own company and knowing how to keep yourself content.
I’m hoping that anyone reading this may find some of this helpful. If not, maybe you’ll just enjoy the read and realise another 5-10 minutes of lockdown has disappeared and we’ve all inched ever closer to sweet, sweet freedom.
The internet is full of articles and posts with tips and tricks to get the best out of working from home. I’ve read a lot of them and while I think there’s a lot of good advice out there, I also don’t think there’s anyone correct answer. The answer for me changes from day to day. I have spent entire workdays with my laptop in bed and somehow managed to get more done than some days in the office.
Other days I’m up at the crack of dawn, eating fruit, getting my cup of tea ready and sitting at my desk a full half an hour before the workday starts. Some days I get dressed up, some days I wear joggers and a t- shirt with a sweet chilli sauce stain on it. There’s no one size fits all correct answer for this, even though I assure you the correct answer doesn’t involve wearing clothes coated in last night's dinner. That was, I think my lowest point of lockdown. So far.
Most, if not all of my recommendations below are around self-care, I don’t think it’s completely possible to give your all at work if you aren’t feeling 100%. We all want to do our best for our jobs, but is this all for nought if we aren’t actively looking after ourselves?
First and foremost on my list is a complete cliche. I fully believe in the idiom “Love the body and the mind will follow”. My body is hardly a temple and if it was, it wouldn’t be a temple anyone would want to go to. That being said, right after Christmas I hit a personal record in weight when I smashed 17 stone. I have since come back to 14 stone, after exercising daily. I miss the gym being open but I’ve finally faced my fears and started running outdoors. I now run a few miles a day which not only keeps my heart and lungs healthy, it has a massive affect on my overall mood, sleep and a general sense of well being.
If you don’t like running or can’t run for whatever reason, walking is also just as good. It just takes longer. It’s a brilliant way to clear your mind and allow your brain to make sense of the day. I always run or walk at the time I would usually be driving home from work, this helps me feel like the day is separated and I can switch back to being at home rather than being at work. It’s a simulated commute and it always works for me.
Drinking water is also very important, keeping hydrated helps with sleep, helps with brain function, keeps you from getting headaches and helps keep your resting heart rate nice and low. All of the above are good for keeping anxiety at bay. The only downside I’ve found is how many trips to the loo I need to make.
Make sure you’re getting your Vitamins! Vitamin C and D are both important for your immune system. Drinking or eating things like oranges can give you Vitamin C and exposing your skin to sunlight in a healthy way can make it produce Vitamin D using Cholesterol in the skin cells. Alternatively, you can take Vitamin C and D supplements that they sell at most chemists.
Get up from your desk, bed, sofa and walk around. Try to average 2 to 3 minutes of walking per hour, which will give you around 250 steps. This is mainly good for your heart, but also not a bad thing for your back and joints!
Don’t wait for people to reach out to you, try reaching out to other people for a chat. Message them asking how they are. I know there’s a lot of anxiety around initiating conversation, but if there was ever a time to face that fear, it is now. It’s good to keep in touch with friends. We need to socially isolate physically, but we can use technology to keep us close. Every Saturday night I take part in a virtual pub quiz with a group of friends over Zoom. Last week’s quiz had an Easter dress-up theme, my friend did the entire quiz with an easter egg box on his head with a small cut out for his mouth so he could continue drinking.
Codeweavers has a Tuesday and Thursday “Coffee morning” call through slack. It allows us to regain some of the friendly non- work- related communication we’ve lost due to lockdown. Some people even join the call to mainly listen in. One of my favourite things about Codeweavers is the people, so it is a huge loss not to see and speak with them every day.
Try to limit your screen time, read a book instead if you can. I’ve bought a bunch of jigsaw puzzles and a Rubix cube to get me away from my phone or laptop when I’m not working. Not only is this good for your eyes, but it also has massive benefits to mental health and sleep.
Last but not least, I remind myself daily that right now there isn’t a huge amount we can do about this situation we’ve all found ourselves in. We, of course, all need to closely follow the government guidelines to stay at home and maintain social distancing. The more we cooperate, the more lives we save, the more we slow the spread and the sooner we can get back to some semblance of normality. I hope that you and all your loved ones are all staying safe and healthy and I have faith that we’ll all be in a beer garden very soon.
All the best!