Staying well while you stay at home

With a lot of the ecostore team switching to remote working, we’re having to do many things differently. You too may be working from home (WFH) for the first time. As a team, we’ve been learning and practising some of these self-care tips to help you look after yourself while you take care of business.

Set boundaries


One of the most important things to remember when working remotely is to create a distinction between work and home. When you don’t have to go to a physical office, it's easy for work time to spill into home time.

  • Set hours and wake up on time. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, and give yourself time to get up and get ready
  • Try to create a space. Unless you have nowhere else to go, avoid working in your bedroom.
  • As you may be sharing you home with a partner, flatmates, kids and/or parents, it’s important to find a space to work so you’re not interrupted. If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room, try hanging an ‘on air’ or ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door to avoid interruptions.
  • Break for lunch, like you would at the office. Even better if it’s the same time as your regular lunchbreak. (Don’t forget to keep some healthy snacks on hand.)
  • Shut down your laptop at the end of the day, so you’re not tempted to “just pop back in”.

Are you sitting comfortably?


If you’ll only be working from home for a month or so, you may not need to buy a special ergonomic home office set up. But you can make your WFH workspace comfortable and supportive.

  • Try to avoid working for long periods from the sofa, floor or bed.
  • Use an external mouse and keyboard or a raised dock, so you can elevate your laptop and prevent slouching. As a rule, eyebrows should be roughly level with the top of the screen.
  • Make sure your desk (or dining table) is the right height. Forearms should angle downwards slightly when you’re typing.
  • Invest in a height-adjustable chair if you feel you’ll keep WFH in the future.
  • Always. Back. Up. This one’s not about physical comfort, but losing your work is a stress that you can do without right now.

Set a self-care routine


Self-care is vital when WFH. Perhaps it’s stocking up on healthy snacks, working through the stack of novels on your nightstand, or slipping into a warm bath at the end of the day.

  • Get enough rest: adjusting to WFH may give your sleep a hammering. Sticking to your normal wake and sleep times is key to self-care when you’re working from home.
  • If you don’t have any video calls today, why not slather on a face mask or hair conditioning treatment?
  • If you have an energetic dog, this one is probably covered. Light exercise – even 10-15 minutes – will not only make you feel good, it also boosts energy and productivity levels. What you do is up to you: yoga, a brisk walk or bike ride, or maybe sneak in a quick jump on the trampoline while the kids aren’t looking.

Be kind to your mind


Cutting each other and ourselves some slack will help us get through self-isolation stronger and more connected. Remember, this too shall pass.

  • Mess is distracting and can elevate stress levels. You probably don’t have time to clean the house, but try to keep the area around your workspace tidy so you don’t have to look at clutter.
  • Keep yourself accountable. A prioritised to-do list becomes your best friend, and can stop you feeling distracted or overwhelmed. Ticking things off feels pretty good too.
  • Dedicate time (that you’d otherwise spend commuting) to daily meditation or mindfulness. Sit quietly and focus on your breath for a few minutes. Or try an app like Headspace, Calm or Insight Timer to get started.
  • Reach out and check in. Take a few minutes each day to call someone outside your self isolation ‘bubble’. Or share a funny video.
  • Try to limit your time on social media, particularly if you notice it makes you feel anxious or tense.
  • Practice gratitude. Talk to the other people in your bubble about what you’re grateful for, or write them down before bed.

Embrace the opportunity


While these ‘unprecedented times’ can feel stressful and disruptive, it helps to focus on all the things this shift makes possible. How can we use this time to learn something new, or create a life we love?

  • Take this chance to have a conversation with workmates around flexible ways of working, so you can adapt to support each other.
  • Consider the time you save by not commuting, queueing for coffee or putting on makeup. Then commit to doing something you enjoy with that time, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day.
  • Mix up how you work: read on a stationary bike, stand and walk during a phone meeting, or head into the garden with a sketchbook to brainstorm or doodle.
  • Use this time to build new habits that will help you when it’s time to head back to the office. If you treat this ‘new normal’ as an opportunity to reduce your stress later on, it’s likely to pay off.
  • Listen to nature. Embrace birdsong where last week there was traffic noise. And consider how our planet can regenerate when we give it a chance.