“Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you because it will.”—Cheryl Strayed
I’m used to working from home – I have been doing it for five years. And it didn’t feel different, to begin with, although last week things began to sour like a sourdough starter I’m growing in my kitchen – no baking yeast, we make sourdough!
Suddenly, I couldn’t keep focus anymore. My thoughts became unclear like that tap water in Switzerland—when boiled, it resembled skimmed milk due to the high concentration of calcium. The flow of ideas became as dry as a forest stream in the summer heat. I started feeling drained and unmotivated.
My first reaction was frustration with myself: Put yourself together, girl! You have work to do!
Guess what? It didn’t help. So, I took a piece of paper and wrote a few short sentences about how I felt and what I thought might be going wrong with me. Short sentences are easier to complete; they are clear and to the point.
And here’s what I learned.
We are living in a strange time, and our lives are far from being normal. We can’t go out with friends, enjoy coffee in cafés, or invite people home. I haven’t seen my son for a few months; we had to cancel all our planned trips, and this is just a few things.
To me, it isn’t regular working from home, either.
We all have things to think about and to process. We have to be vigilant and quickly adjust to the new circumstances. We worry, yes, but our reaction to this extraordinary situation is normal – the lack of energy is normal, your failing concentration and distraction are normal. If your performance is not at the top, it’s ok – you are not alone—no need to be hard on yourself.
Beating yourself up won’t help, but accepting the reality as it is and living one day at the time will help you to relax and feel better.
Need some inspiration?
Here’s What Helps Me Stay Afloat
Look at the bright side – there are always good things in the middle of chaos:
- Spring is here, and the sun is shining.
- People you love are healthy and safe.
- You don’t have to commute and can sleep longer!
- You don’t have to drink office coffee/tee (🤢 ) and, instead, enjoy your favorite brand from the beloved cup.
- You can play music while working (if you are still young enough 😜).
- No need for dress code – yey!
- You can take breaks whenever you want and use them as you pleased – go for a walk or work in the garden, put laundry into a washing machine, make a dough for the evening bread, do exercise, and even take a nap!
- You can eat at times that fit you best. For example, I don’t eat breakfast first thing in the morning, and it suits me to have my kitchen nearby any time I want to fix myself something fresh.
Now, working from home, you need to follow a few rules.
- Keep as much of your usual routine as possible, especially in the morning.
- Make necessary adjustments to compensate for the changes in your everyday life. Need ideas? Check out our Guide to Joy course here.
- Keep the balance between work and free time. It’s easy to work longer when you are working from home. We want to do a little more, especially when we love what we do. It’s crucial, for the sake of your health and for your family, to keep work and free time separated. Set up a clock and simply stop working when it rings.
- Keep in touch daily with your colleagues, family, and friends. Write to them, have Skype conversations, or use a phone. Physical distancing doesn’t have to become social isolation!
- Keep the time you spend on social media, websites, and reading emails under control. Because of the shutdown, more businesses moved online looking for new customers. It can be overwhelming! Set limits on your use of the Internet and stick to it. The best way of doing it, in my experience, is having fast time windows to go online.
- Although, you don’t have to dress up in a suit every day now, remember to shower and use a fresh outfit that you enjoy. Look yourself up in a mirror – do you like what you see? 😍
If you have small children at home, it might be the biggest challenge of all – to manage those energy balls and your work. Please, share your tips to help others! Take photos, too, and email them to me. I'll publish the best on my social media next week!
Do you need some ideas? Here's the link for you to enjoy. Let's see if you can beat them!
You will Survive This, Too
Get out to breathe fresh air every day, if possible. Move your body regularly, and not just between your desk, kitchen, and couch!
And most importantly, be kind to yourself – you are doing your best.
The pandemic will pass, but as long as it is here, remember that life goes on, and we must live it as fully as possible.
And if you need more support, you can still book a 15-minute call with me. It’s free. Here's the link.
They're also plenty of good ideas in this article to check out (I have no affiliated links there).