As it nears the one-year mark since I started working from home, I’ve been spending more time reflecting on what has changed. I’ve managed to transform my video game space into an office, double my collection of sweatpants, and download every conferencing/screen-sharing app on the market.
But beyond that, I’ve also managed to develop some sustainable habits that have saved me from going quite literally nuts. I want to share these habits with you in case you’re looking for new methods to help make working from home more manageable.
Habit #1: Take Daily Walks During the Day 🚶♀️
When working from home, you lose the commute. This obviously leaves plenty of time in your workday to do more work. But instead of more work, why not take a walk? It will get you out of house, burn some calories, boost your energy, and improve your mood (there are many benefits to taking a daily walk).
I’ve been taking two walks a day: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Even if it’s only fifteen minutes, that’s plenty of time to get me feeling refreshed and ready as soon as I return to my desk.
Habit #2: Stretch Immediately After Work 🧘♀️
As soon as you turn your computer off for the day, spend ten minutes stretching. Stretching will help loosen up your muscles from being in one position most of the day, relieve stress, and calm your mind.
Your home is also your workplace, so it’s more important than ever to focus on stress relief. Taking a moment to focus on stretching will not only help reverse the damage of sitting, but will also prepare you for relaxing for the rest of the evening. This article has six easy stretches you can do in your home office. I challenge you to start today!
Habit #3: Be a WFH Nomad 🧙♂️
Working in one room, all day, M-F, can get boring pretty quickly. This means it’s time for you to become a work-from-home nomad (noun: a person who does not stay long in the same place; a wanderer within their own home).
Set a goal to move at least once a day, once a week, or whatever works for your schedule. Move where? The backyard, kitchen table, living room sofa, or bean bag in the basement. The goal is to change your surroundings a bit and make working at home a bit more interesting.
Habit #4: Eat Away from Your Desk 🍔
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that, yes, I have the bad habit of eating at my desk. Remember earlier when I said that not having a commute gives you more time to work? Instead of working through your lunch, take this gift of time to make a healthy meal and turn off notifications. Your brain will thank you.
Habit #5: Turn Off the Computer and Get a Hobby ⛵️
As software developers, we are always on our computers. Maybe you’re doing some additional programming as a hobby, or you’re working late on a problem you’re trying to solve. My recommendation is to stop immediately!
Take the time to learn something new and do that in your evenings instead of staring at a screen even longer. Sewing, knitting, woodworking, boating, drawing, puzzling, gardening — these are all screen-free hobbies that will refresh your mind.
Don’t believe me? My coworker Meredith just described three ways having a creative outlet makes her life better.
Taking a Break
If you haven’t seen the pattern yet, I will go ahead and spoil it for you: give your brain a break! It has been a stressful year for everyone, and the challenges are great regardless of individual circumstances.
It takes effort to set aside time to relax, but it’s so, so worth it. As I near a year of working from home during a pandemic, I believe these habits have helped me stay mindful, healthy, and happy. You deserve that too.
Let me know what you think of these five habits and if they’ve worked for you. Also, if there are habits that you personally have formed over the past year that have been helpful, please share by leaving a comment!