It seems kind of basic, but it makes a huge difference. This doesn’t mean you need to create a dedicated home office or buy a bunch of fancy notepads and paper clips. I just mean take a few moments before you sit down to work to nest a little. Here’s what that entails for me:
Tidy up the space if needed. Move used coffee cups to the kitchen, put scattered pens in their designated holder, stack those miscellaneous papers into a neat pile. Boom, that’s it. Don’t actually WASH that used mug or start sorting papers—that’s a recipe for procrastination. Just neaten up a bit so you start your day a little more organized.
Accumulate the necessary work comforts. In order to actually get anything done, I need a mug of coffee and a glass of water by my side at all times. I tend to like having my phone nearby, but that’s debateable in its helpfulness. And I need my headphones within arm’s reach in case the neighbor kids start screaming.
Create the right ambiance. Take a minute to sit at your workspace and assess your current mood. Then figure out what kind of atmosphere you need to create in order to make it a successful work day. Feeling sleepy? Cue up the Lizzo playlist to give yourself a boost. Stressing about the work ahead of you? Light a scented candle and put on your comfiest leggings. Starting to feel stir crazy? Open all the windows and blinds in your space, or even consider working outside if you can.
See? Not complicated or time consuming, but SO much better than plopping down in front of your computer amidst a mess of papers and needing to interrupt yourself every 5 minutes to grab coffee, then find a snack, then go down a rabbit hole searching for the right playlist.
It’s weird to admit that I’m sort of thriving in quarantine. Normally I have a lot of anxiety about things I should be doing and places I should be going. But when everything becomes limited to what I can do with what I have at home, life becomes a lot simpler and the FOMO disappears.
Five years of working from home has taught me a lot about being a successful homebody. Let me share what works for me to take care of myself, maintain my sanity, and enjoy some quality time at home.
Read that stack of books you’ve been avoiding. Somehow I’ve managed to collect a LOT of books that I never ended up reading. And now that my local library is closed, it’s the perfect time to get into it. It feels great to finally make a dent in that old collection. I’m finding new favorites and clearing out the duds from my shelves (making spaces for new reads!).
Take your vitamins. Yep, I’m another person here to tell you that CBD helps me get through the day. I love the brand Not Pot in particular because their gummies are vegan, they’re woman-owned, and (most importantly!) part of their mission includes criminal justice reform—each month they help pay someone’s bail. I start every day with my CBD gummies and daily vitamins from Ritual to help me feel like a healthy, well-adjusted human.
Spend a little time cleaning every day. Anyone out there recently started cooking at home more and is SHOCKED by the number of dishes you can dirty in a single day? This drove me crazy for a while when I first started working from home, until I instated a rule of cleaning the kitchen for 15 minutes each day. It even functions as a nice break to get you on your feet and move around a bit if you’ve been sitting on the couch or at your desk for too long.
Get some fresh air and take a nap. These are my two favorite self-care activities right now. I feel like it’s kind of a no-brainer that taking a walk or sitting outside for a few minutes each day can make you feel like a different person. Naps, however, seem to have a little bit of a bad reputation. Naps are for lazy, depressed people and babies, not healthy, functioning adults. I’d like to reclaim the nap for us all. A good nap can feel so luxurious and restorative. It can reset a bad day or be a healing mental break if you’re feeling scattered. When you nap, you’re exclusively focused on comfort and rest. I can’t think of a more complete act of self-care than that.