Now more than ever, work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat, but as we discover new ways to connect with ourselves and each other, we can also begin to uncover new positive working habits. From her south coast abode, Designer & Content Creator Shay Roach shares her tips for working mindfully from home.
Prepare the night before
As the days begin to blend into one big week, month, year...(Is 2020 over yet?) many of us are experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety. This is completely understandable given the current circumstances and you shouldn't beat yourself up about it. We often feel anxious when events feel out of our control, or when we feel that we don't have the ability to cope with a situation. These feelings can impact our sleep quality, energy and ability to focus. Get a clear sense of what tomorrow looks like before your day ends by putting aside some time in the evening to write a to-do list. A concise list can help to ensure you wake up with a purpose and doing it the night before assists in setting your mind at ease, so you can relax knowing you're prepared for the day ahead.
Create a routine - and stick with it
Are you a morning or an evening person? Now is your chance to work as productively and intuitively with your body as possible. Set a clear start and end time to your day and sandwich either side with activities that signal to your body that it's either time to work or time to wind down. I like to start the day with a quick walk or online yoga class and a cup of soothing herbal tea or coffee. Taking this time in the morning allows me to mentally prepare for the day and savour some time for myself. Once my workday is complete I leave my office and try to stay off screens as much as possible.
Curate a workspace you want to spend time in
Nominate a spot in your house, whether you have an at-home office or you're taking over the dining table - whatever you do, avoid your bed!
Designed to inspire creativity, my office is a considered combination of neutral tones, natural materials, and objects I love. I know that when I'm in this room it's time to work, and I can separate this space from the rest of my home. My top tips for curating a space you want to work in are:
- Add some greenery
- Incorporate scents by either lighting a candle or diffusing essential oils
- Be close to natural light
- If you are able to, open a window so that fresh air can circulate the room
Shay wears the Kin Fleece Top in Grey Marle
Practice mindfulness while you work
This was a game-changer for me. In general, I am sensitive to noise, so the combination of me plus every single one of my neighbours being at home has made for some interesting moments (I'm talking about you, lady, with the microphone giving us a back yard rendition of Lady Gaga).
Two amazing apps I have been using are Noisli and Headspace, both encourage mindfulness, just in a slightly different way.
Noisli is like a digital soundboard of beautiful sounds designed to block out noise and increase focus. You can mix and match a variety of sounds to suit your personal choice. My favourite is a little bit of ocean, a dash of fire crackle and a sprinkling of chirping birds. Annoying noises be gone!
Headspace offers a range of guided meditations to help you focus, breathe, stay calm, perform at your best, and get a better night’s rest through the skills of relaxation, meditation, and mindfulness. They have a huge selection of categories to choose from but my personal favourite is the 'Creativity' course in their 'Work & Productivity' category. This one is great for when you're feeling a little stuck.
Ditch the PJ's and get ready for work
I know it's tempting to work in your pyjamas but try to get ready for the day as you would if you were going into work. PJ's are super comfy but you don't want to fall into chill mode when you've got an important zoom call with Stacey in 10. Getting ready in the morning can help increase your sense of purpose and encourage you to feel motivated and ready for the day.
Boost your energy with healthy, yummy snacks
With the kitchen so close you'd be forgiven for taking a few too many trips to the fridge! Get your snack on still by avoiding food high in sugar and carbs and instead opt for fruit, nuts, and snacks high in protein. The latter will keep you feeling full and nourished and steer you clear of the all too familiar 3 pm slump.
In the end, I encourage you to be kind to yourself. These are difficult times and we are all learning to navigate the world as it changes. Please support each other and practice gratitude and compassion.