4 Tips for Staying Physically and Mentally Well While at Home.

 Lady doing yoga with Harbor Hood

 Illustration by Kate Brandy

The isolation of working from home can be difficult, but there are things we can do to make it feel better. Before we dive in…I want to acknowledge that not everyone is able to work remotely, but many of us will be spending a lot more time at home, whether self-quarantining or simply practicing social distancing. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, working from home can be hard psychologically because we are meant to coexist with other humans. When that interaction is taken away we can start to feel anxious, lonely, or even bored. With that in mind, and with safety being the top concern, here are 4 tips for staying physically and mentally well at home during this difficult and scary time. 

TIP #1 Stay Socially Close While Physically Distant

Being “socially distant” doesn’t have to mean being unsocial! In fact, you might find that you have extra time to catch up with friends and family you haven’t seen in a while. Here are a few ways to keep your friends close in spirit:

~ Call or FaceTime a friend to watch a movie together. Sharing reactions and laughs in real time can really add to your Netflix-binging routine.

~ Bake something! If you (like me) usually don’t have time for baking something from scratch, try setting aside your normal commute time to use all those raw ingredients to get mixing! And be sure to take a pic to swap with friends and family! :)

~ Use your digital social groups to connect with your community and offer help and support--whether monetary, emotional or instructive.. It is important to know and share the facts while debunking the myths. It’s also important to try to talk about something else! Swapping cute puppy memes is a great place to start!

~ Try a virtual yoga or workout class with a friend. There are plenty of free classes available online at YouTube and other sites and apps. Try to sync the timing of the start of your class so you can chat before and after. That way you still get the social aspect of the workout experience, just like going to a gym. Getting exercise will also help you stay centered and feel less cooped up.

TIP #2 Do Something Just for You (Great with Your Harbor Hood)

While it’s important to stay social, it is equally important to practice great self-care. Personal space and wellbeing, especially during difficult circumstances, is something I am personally passionate about (hence, I created HarborHood). Here are some of my favorite ways to stay centered at home:

~ For stress relief and maintaining a calm state of mind, try a guided audio meditation, such as Headspace or Calm. They are great in a quiet space with few distractions, and can work wonders to calm the nerves! 

~ Reading a book can help you escape to another world for a while. Listening to an audiobook can be an even more relaxing way to lose yourself in a story. My personal favorite is Harry Potter because of Jim Dale’s artfully done voices from the magical stories.

TIP #3 Do Something to Feel Accomplished

Another way to stay mentally fit is by feeling productive, and luckily there are plenty of ways to do that at home:

~ You knew it was coming...Try tackling a chore you’ve been putting off, such as dusting and cleaning your home or descaling your Keurig. You finally have some time for it (I’m trying to convince myself as much as you with this one)!

~ Get lost in learning! Wonder how the internet works? What are the keys to true Italian cooking? How does a plane fly? Google search away! Even better, try a digital education program such as Lynda.com, Doulingo, MasterClass.com, or CuriousityStream.com

family on the couch

 Illustration by Kate Brandy

TIP #4 Make Space to Delineate “WFH” from Being Home

Use physical cues to delineate “work” versus “play.” While getting on a subway is out of the question right now, here are some other physical cues that can help you turn your work brain on and off at will:

 ~ Create a home “office” space that is separate from your living space. Even in a small apartment (like mine) you can define a separate workspace, such as a desk or table, and commit to not working anywhere else (i.e. not from your bed or couch).When you delineate the purpose of your spaces, even in a small way, your mentality will shift to acclimate to “work mode” or “play mode.”

~Working with kids or roommates at home? Try creating a signal that means you're busy, such as wearing your HarborHood while on conference calls (I guess a baseball cap could work, too). ;)

~ Finally, put your work laptop away & out of sight at the end of the day and switch to a personal device for entertainment and other non-work-related activities.

Hopefully these tips help you stay at your best despite the circumstances. Whatever you do, stay safe in there! Finally, thank you to everyone that is out there on the front lines fighting to control the pandemic that the world is facing. May we all do our part to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

Thanks for reading! Please Follow Harbor Hood's story on Instagram and Facebook: @harborhood

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