You may be working from home more often during the COVID-19 pandemic and understand that staying at home as much as possible is helping to protect you and others from the spread of the coronavirus. Still, you may have days when it is hard staying motivated working remotely or just spending so many hours of your day at home.
“Regardless of whether you are going into work or telecommuting, adhering to the stay- at-home orders can be difficult,” says Dr. Elizabeth Brackin, a psychologist at Scripps Health.
“Whether it be the feeling of loss due to closures of restaurants and gyms, or parks and beaches, or the ‘new norm’ of going to the grocery store while standing in line wearing a mask, everyone is experiencing some degree of discomfort,” Brackin explains.
“Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to stay focused and motivated and feel productive, which are all good for your mental health,” she says.
Here are seven easy tips to help you maintain a good work-life balance during the pandemic. Don’t forget to make an appointment with your doctor if you need care.
Start your day with a similar routine. Have coffee/tea, brush your teeth, and spend time getting dressed for the day, whether you are working or not. Sounds simple enough, but at times like this, it can be easy to stay in pajamas and spend a large amount of time watching TV. Don’t!
Getting your home environment organized gives you a sense of accomplishment and motivation to do other things. Some people like to start their day by organizing their workspace.
Write a list of projects, whether they be for work or for home, such as tidying up a closet or making household repairs. Keep creating new things to do as a therapeutic outlet by spending the time on something you love and usually don’t have time to do, such as reading books or gardening.
If you’ve always wanted to become a better cook, start making new recipes for yourself and/or your family. Go online to get ideas, but don’t forget to eat healthy and avoid gaining too much weight — the “Quarantine 15.”
Check out your local community college district for online classes to keep you sharp and improve your skills.
“Don’t lose focus of your goals,” Brackin says. “This pandemic will pass. Force yourself to keep going forward.”
It’s important to stay informed and keep up with updates but limit the amount of time you spend watching TV news, especially if it is making you upset. Also do your own independent online research and follow news sources that are known to be transparent and unbiased.
Consider how this time allows for reflection and evaluation of what is working well in your life and what things you might want to change in your life. You may wish to incorporate more exercising into your life for example. You have many options. It can be running but it can also be something like dancing.
“Music and movement are great ways to take you to another time or place,” Brackin says. “Plus, dancing is a great form of physical activity.”
Practice yoga, mindfulness exercises and games. Incorporate activities that leave you feeling centered and calm not bored or struggling to stay motivated.
If you need more motivation, reach out to a family member or friend who does not live in your household, but is within reach via social media, videoconferencing or just a simple phone call or text.
There are many creative things people have been doing to stay socially connected during the pandemic, including virtual happy hours, where you can decompress and share stories of the day and about your experiences during these challenging times.
Online gaming and exercise classes are other options. The main thing is staying motivated and making your home a fun place to be.