Before quarantine, I always wondered what it would be like to work from home. A break from my 50-minute commute was something I could only dream of. My dream became a reality 5 weeks ago, when we were instructed to stay at home due to COVID-19. Initially, I was excited to wake up later and indulge in the free time, but over time, after the newness faded away, I started to miss the in-person interaction with coworkers that video conferencing can’t replace.
To ease the transition, I got on a schedule, established a separate working environment, bought a mouse for my laptop (my wrists thank me), and started taking breaks outside. Over time I have seen noticeable improvements to my overall wellbeing. After making those changes, I wondered what my coworkers were doing to take care of their mental health and preserve their joy. Here are some of the responses I got.
Steph – Office Coordinator & Receptionist
How I am staying sane during quarantine is honestly going outside. Either taking my laptop and working outside for a few hours or going for walks just to get out. As more time goes on, I find that even just sitting in my little make-do office starts driving me insane. However, I noticed that when I took a small table and a chair and worked outside, it really lifted my mood. It made me realize how lucky I am to be able to work outside temporarily because once we are back in the office, I won’t have that option as often
Mark – Functional Consultant
I try to keep myself busy so I go on walks frequently and bought a guitar so I could learn how to play. I figured if I used this time to learn something new, then that would keep me engaged enough to not go insane!
Andrew – UX Designer
I think the biggest thing that has helped me is my mindfulness meditation practice in tandem with physical exercise. I’ve been doing both for a few years, and they’ve become really important aspects of my life. I think everyone should give meditation an honest shake, starting with an app like Headspace or 10% Happier, which are both great options. It’s helpful to learn to train the mind to deal with trouble, stress, and thoughts in general. I exercise five days a week and that seems to chill me out a bit too.
DeAngela – Technical Projects Manager
Each morning I pray to start the day and have a daily devotional twice a day. I try to find five things to be grateful for each day and take mini-breaks throughout the day. I still take lunch breaks away from my computer, but I typically go for walks and or read a book. I love to clean, so my house is always spotless. I stay connected to my church through online streaming and make care calls every day to members of my church, family, and friends.
Ariel – Systems Analyst
I have been taking 30-45 minute lunches and going outside for walks or to work out. I have also been using puzzles and family happy hour (we don’t drink) to occupy my time.
Gina – Functional Consultant
I’ve been trying to stay active daily, whether it’s a 30 min walk or doing a workout video on YouTube to get me energized and keep my spirits up. Spending time with my family via Facetime has been great and I’ve had a great time catching up, hearing past stories, and celebrating birthdays and milestones. I spend a lot of time laughing during these sessions which is so helpful for my mind and heart. I’ve also got back into doing old hobbies I haven’t had a chance to do. When I need to mentally check out, I reach for my coloring book and color away and it helps me de-stress. And I’m finally reading books that I haven’t gotten around to yet.
Vila – Accountant/Business Analyst
In the beginning, it was difficult and overwhelming to balance both work and home-school for my 5-year-old. Having God in my life and the support of family and friends, I never felt alone, and adjusting to my ever-changing routine seems easier.
Klas – Senior Implementation Consultant
My work location is my work location. This means not focusing on things I would not do if I were working in an office. This includes not unloading the dishwasher, washing clothes, cleaning the house, or any other activity I normally perform at home. In my spare time, I have made some home renovations. I guess I have found the energy and/or harmony to do the things that my wife and I have been talking about for a long time, but never really started or completed.
It’s ok to struggle right now – this is a big adjustment, and an unprecedented one. Without a plan in place to keep your spirits up, it’s easy to become stressed or even depressed during quarantine. Take the steps you need to establish a schedule for normalcy and find the things that bring you joy.