At this point, it’s safe to assume we’ve all worked or studied from home at some point in our lives. It’s a minefield, to say the least, and the lack of concrete plans (like someone expecting you to be in the office or lecture hall at an exact time) can wreak havoc on our routines.
One minute, you’re on a roll, working or studying from the dining room table and the next, you’ve turned on the second wonderfully awful Christmas movie of the day. At this point, it’s a given that you’ll be working late — and there’s a good chance you’ll be kicking yourself for it the entire time.
The good news is, we’re here to help you form healthier habits. According to Queensland Health, keeping a daily routine can help give you feelings of familiarity and reassurance, which is particularly important when it feels like everything around you is changing (sound familiar?). In 2020, we’ve all experienced varying degrees of upheaval and while some people have let their routine go altogether (guilty!), many others have developed some pretty great habits.
No matter which camp you fall into, we want to have a little chat and help you hold on to healthy habits, and ditch toxic ones. Keep on reading to find out our best tips to help you avoid letting your routine go down the drain (or how to pick your discarded routine back up) when you’re not going into an office for work every day.
Don’t work from the couch (or your bed)
Working from the couch seems like a great idea until you realise your posture is truly messed up, your neck is aching, and you no longer enjoy settling in for a Netflix and chill sesh at the end of the day. Working or studying anywhere but at a desk (or at least on a desk-like surface like the kitchen bench) is bad for your back and trying to get work done with one eye on the TV is a disaster for productivity.
While we’re at it, don’t work from your bed, either. You and I both know your bed isn’t an ergonomic working environment, plus, failing to separate your workspace from the place you unwind and sleep in is the quickest way to start having work-related nightmares. Basically, you just deserve better, so don’t do it.
Work on creating small and achievable healthy habits
If you’re looking to get your life together and form healthy routines, it can be tempting to set vague goals and make millions of changes at once. We urge you not to do that. First, write a list of actionable goals, for example, “get out of bed when my alarm goes off at 7 am on weekdays” is way better than just “wake up earlier”. Next, take small steps towards building a great daily routine like showering when you get up, or actually changing out of your pyjamas before starting work.
Find healthy ways to signal the end of the work day
Celebrating the end of the workday with a cheeky alcoholic bev is all too common in 2020. But while many people feel that drinking will relax the mind or help with sleep, that’s actually not the case. Sure, in the short term it may ease some of your stress, but when the alcohol leaves your system, it’ll come right back — and it may even lead to disrupted sleep.
We know it can be tempting, but it’s a slippery slope. What might start as treating yourself to early knock-off drinks on a Friday will suddenly turn into Wednesday night bevs and, before you know it, you’re having a glass of wine with lunch. The simplest way to avoid this is to set boundaries, for example, not drinking alone, on weeknights, or during work hours. It’s also a good idea to find other ways to celebrate the end of the day: pack up your workstation so you can’t look at it after hours, go for a walk with a friend, or make yourself a nice dinner.
Make time for your meaningful relationships
This might not sound like something that will make you feel productive, but we wholeheartedly believe it is. It’s amazing how a conversation with a loved one, a laugh with a mate, or a big debrief with your work bestie can fill up your love cup and refocus you. Being social and building strong relationships can help you cope with stress, build your confidence, and bring you joy — so make that time to catch up with your people.
Exercise for your mental health, not physical just gains
I am guilty of biting off more than I can chew when trying to form any kind of healthy workout routine. This year, I’ve tried to shift my focus to exercising regularly, in brief bursts, and not being too hard on myself.
Building exercise into your daily routine doesn’t have to mean multiple HIIT sessions a week. Instead, focus on doing any movement you genuinely enjoy (walking counts), and watch the many health benefits (like better sleep and more effective concentration) roll in.
Celebrate your wins
If you’ve managed to incorporate healthier habits into your daily routine this year, then now is the time to pat yourself on the back. We’re proud of you, friend, so keep it up!