Ali Honig, LCSW
Working From Home Continued
If you are like us and based in NYC then you too are most likely still working from home. As we approach the last month of the summer, we want to prepare both physically and mentally for the next working-from-home season. You might be asking yourself, how will I continue to stay motivated and engaged in my work? How will I feel good about myself and stay both physically and mentally healthy? How will I take care of my kids and maintain virtual learning if they don’t go back to school? Learning how to manage and handle all that life throws our way is not an easy task.
Life is a constant balancing act. Learning how to juggle these twists and turns that life is throwing at us right now takes practice and consistency. Whether you are struggling to stay engaged in your job while working from home to support your child’s education or trying to manage your relationships with friends, family, and significant others, it usually comes down to one overarching theme: SELF CARE!
Taking care of yourself first in order for you to have the energy, motivation, and strength to take care of everything else in your life is like putting on an oxygen mask on an airplane. If you yourself are not breathing, how can you take care of your loved ones? In our day-to-day lives, self-care will allow you to be at your fullest potential so you can be strong and present in all other aspects of your life. Throughout the past 5 months, we have all heard the go-to self-care strategies like take a walk, listen to music and get some exercise, and while we should all still be doing that, I have some new and approved (2.0) self-care tools to try!
1. Prioritize Down Time
Even while working from home, we are all still constantly busy and moving non-stop. Whether it’s working all day, preparing dinner for a significant other or family, squeezing in that walk or workout, or catching up with a friend on the phone, finding alone time is near impossible. And sometimes, even when we do find that alone time, we end up feeling guilty about not being productive or feeling like there is always something more we could be doing. Prioritizing downtime and alone time as if it is part of our schedule allows us to feel like we are permitted to hang out on the couch, binge watch a show, or even take a nap if needed One helpful tool is to write yourself a permission slip as if you were a kid going on a field trip. “I give ______ permission to have an hour of downtime on Thursday, August ___”. It may sound silly but it allows us to feel like doing nothing in a time of chaos is okay.
2. Daily Affirmations and Setting Intentions
Since it continues to feel like Groundhog Day, starting each day with a different daily affirmation can help you set a specific intention and help differentiate each day from the others. What do you want the day to look like? To feel like? Setting a daily intention will help you to feel motivated in your work and give you a feeling of purpose throughout each day. Sometimes we find ourselves going through the same motions day after day: eat breakfast, feed family, work, eat lunch, work workout (maybe), eat dinner, watch tv, go to bed. Rather than allowing every day to feel the same, start your morning by looking at yourself in the mirror, thinking about your strengths, and reciting a daily affirmation to remind yourself that you are doing great! This will help set you on a more positive note.
While working from home, it is hard to keep track of the days! Each day flows into the next and time flies by. In order to enjoy your time off, make it a priority to shut down for the weekend – close your computer, turn off your email, and enjoy time with your friends and family. Working from home makes it easy to constantly be connected to the office, but we have to remember that we all still deserve days off, time off and vacation days, too! Traveling right now is tricky, but it is important to be in tune with your mental health and notice when you need a break. Whether that is an actual vacation, a staycation, or just a regular weekend of not working – think about what you need and ask for it!
4. Be Grateful
Journal! Journal! Journal! It is one of my go-to strategies when feeling overwhelmed or stuck. We are always constantly on the go and quick to find the negatives in life. One thing that I find helpful is to take a moment, step back, and notice the things in your life that are going well. Take out your journal and write down 3 things you are grateful for. They can be as big as your health or as small as your breakfast that morning. If you can really slow down and recognize what is in front of you, it can help you to appreciate all that you have rather than getting caught up in the little things that pull you down.