How have the last few months been treating you in terms of work-life balance? Have you been feeling stressed, losing sleep, and struggling to draw the line between work and home time due to the mandatory work from home and Shelter-In-Place orders? Sister, you’re not alone.
I’m here to tell you that although work is important and productivity is a must, you don’t have to be productive 100% of the time while you work at home. It’s important to remember that while we are working from home we are still working in a crisis. Practicing self-care and mindfulness are vital for getting through this difficult time and it’s okay to rely on others for figuring out how to adapt to this “new normal”.
That being said, as many Shelter-In-Place orders extend and businesses’ budgets tighten, many companies are offering permanent work from home positions for their employees. While some may enjoy working from home or not, everyone’s situation is different. Whether you are deciding to venture back into the office or hunker down at home for a while longer it’s important to approach this transition delicately and with your own mental wellness in mind.
To aid in this transition, I’ve rounded up a few wellness strategies from professional “zen artists” who understand the importance of adding wellness to your workspace and work routine. These professionals include organizational experts, wellness architects (yes, that’s a thing), naturopathists and holistic coaches. With these simple strategies in mind, you can take ownership back over your current or future work set-up and ensure your mental and physical health isn’t being side-stepped. Keep reading for wellness strategies to incorporate into your workspace.
Optimize Your Space for Comfort
While your home or office may not be equipped with ergonomic furniture, that doesn’t mean you have to suffice with an uncomfortable workspace. Ask your employer if you can take office furniture home or “check-out” devices for optimal use at home. While not everyone works the same way, M Moser Associates, Global Design and Architecture Firm, offered a few best practices on this topic. They said, “To create a comfortable and positive work from home space, people need to feel empowered to discover aspects that create comfort and enhance mood and performance in their own homes.”
They also recommended creating a minimum of three high-performance work environments. This, they say has proven to support a range of benefits including “boosting motivation through freedom of choice, creating mood-enhancing playfulness, stimulating the brain through micro-movements, and providing head space for new ways of thinking.”
Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Routine
The next step to incorporating wellness into your workspace is by adding mindfulness into your routine. This can be done by setting strategic intentions before, during, and after your workday. Shawn Johal, Entrepreneur & Business Growth Coach at Elevation Coaching emphasized the importance of taking mindfulness breaks as you may feel that working from home means staring at your computer and phone screens more often. He says to “take purposeful breaks for mindful moments away from the screen. Breathe, meditate, and take a 5-minute walk outside every hour. Your mental health will be in better shape, your family will see you as calmer, and your work will be accomplished with more success.”
Communicate Boundaries and Set Standards in Your Work Place
As millions of employees headed home at the start of the pandemic so did millions of students and family members. You are most likely experiencing challenges you never thought you would and are being asked to set unfamiliar boundaries with family members and roommates.
To remedy this, business expert Shawn Johal also said to create boundaries for work time. He said to “communicate to your loved ones how your day is scheduled – maybe even give them a copy of your schedule.” This will give you more time to spend with them and you can incorporate walks, breaks, and meals to be spent together.
Level-Up Self-Care and Level-Down Self Destruction
There are many ways to prioritize self-care during quarantine and it seems like that’s all anyone is talking about. However what is less commonly discussed, but just as important is practicing self-care at work. While we commonly associate lighting candles and using essential oils for times of relaxation, their use can have many impacts on improving your workspace and make it more enjoyable.
Naturopathic Milana Perepyolkina recommends incorporating essential oils into your work routine due to its relaxing benefits for the body and mind. Incorporate lavender to relax the mind, bergamot to lift your mood and peppermint to increase energy and mental activity. Whatever self-care activities you incorporate into your work routine, use mantras to limit negative self-talk and spirals of anxiety that can so easily entrap us during the workday.
I hope this piece has inspired you to add some moments of wellness to your work routine and encouraged you to prioritize your mental health during the turbulent time. For more inspiration and ideas on adding wellness to your workspace check out the infographic below with strategies to “zen” your workspace.
Stacy Walden is a writer from sunny San Diego. She enjoys covering topics around productivity and wellness in the workplace. When she’s not writing she likes spending time with her family and friends and traveling to new places abroad.