The onset of the pandemic since March this year has completely altered our lifestyle. It has made us question our choices in life as we find ourselves struggling to learn and adapt to the changes caused by the coronavirus. As social distancing becomes the norm, office goers have moved out of their workplaces and into their living rooms. Along with increasing anxiety regarding job security, many employees are struggling in this forced shift to an online workspace. As comforting as the term ‘work from home’ sounds, it brings along its own set of challenges. Just as we bring our work home, not having a set routine may throw our life out of balance. So let’s step back for a moment and look at some common challenges of the WFH lifestyle with a problem-solving mindset.
Now that we work from home, there is a tendency to lose track of everything apart from work deadlines. We spend one half of our day attending Zoom calls or planning for the next team presentation and the other half beating what is being famously referred to as Zoom fatigue. This leaves us with little or no energy to tend to our other needs and engage in our passions.
Draw up the lines again:
Here we can draw some lessons from our school time-table – prepare a neatly drawn out agenda for the day. It is a great way to prioritise the tasks at hand, manage time and also allow oneself some leisurely moments in-between work to water the plants or quickly put together a snack. Timely breaks can enhance our performance by helping us focus more and procrastinate less.
One thing to keep in mind while making a routine is not to set over-ambitious goals, rather divide the day artfully and make sure you stick to it, especially those juggling multiple gigs to avoid overburdening of duties.
It is important to remember that we are trying to survive a global pandemic and it is not business as usual. Some days might get overwhelming as we struggle to keep our head above water while getting inundated with news which has been bleak for most of the year. Women, couples with kids and ailing parents face a double burden of work. This might not only affect physical health but our mental health can also take a hit.
Nurture the self:
Now, more than ever, it is important that we listen and take care of our body, mind and soul. As we save the time we spent manoeuvring through the morning traffic in the pre-covid era, we should set aside some time to rejuvenate ourselves in the morning before hustling for the rest of the day. An hour-long walk in the nearest park with your dog, meditating to soothing hymns or just sipping your coffee while listening to the chirping birds can do wonders to your spirit. Put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in your warm shower, or buy yourself some roses – it always pays to be kind to ourselves.
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Going digital has exponentially increased our screen time. Work fatigue is a phenomenon that sets in slowly and incrementally, and is often accompanied by other ill-effects as well – headache, sore eyes, disrupted sleep and a prolonged sense of exhaustion. Left unchecked, this may lead to long term health implications.
Bring back human connection:
While some might not have the luxury to cut off from work, but for those of us who can, we should make sure that once we sign off from work, we do so both mentally and physically. COVID 19 has slowed down our lives and has created unimaginable hurdles for some but it has also given us time to reflect and discern the real values of life. It has taught us the value of human connection which was missing in our fast-paced lives.
So pull out those board games and enjoy a wholesome moment with your family, watch a movie with your sibling and if you live alone, set up a video call with your loved ones or dust off that ukulele and strum it away into the night. Experts have long stressed the importance of compassion – try sending your neighbour some flowers or a slice of that banana bread you baked, or offer a small gift to someone who works for you.
To Sum it Up
For most of us, the work from home lifestyle is a new concept and it may appear challenging at first. However, we as a species are known for our capacity to adapt. So with proper planning, clever time management and by prioritising our goals for the day, we can turn these challenges around and weave a more balanced and healthy lifestyle around it.