As we enter the middle of Q1 2021, avoiding burnout and self-care have been popular pillars of advice. Welcoming the New Year can be highly symbolic for most of us – it’s not uncommon to use the word “reset” while we take a deep breath and hope for better.
This blank-slate, start-fresh mentality, however, lacks a sense of action you can take and a presence you need to be impactful. And when it comes to work, connecting with the present moment is key to getting the most out of your day, in both satisfaction and productivity. After all, remote work is here to stay – projections indicate an 87% increase in remote workers by 2025.
With that, here are some tips for working from home and best practices for how to make the most out of remote work, allowing you to set up your day for success.
A lack of communication with colleagues is a common pitfall for teams that continuously work in silos. With remote work and rising burnout – the “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed” – it is common for us to spend more time fretting than working together to finish projects, deliverables, proposals, etc.
Just imagine that you get a rogue video call from a colleague with whom you’re not used to speaking. You probably think to yourself, “This must be a mistake, we never chat unless we’re having a meeting. I’m just going to ignore this one.”
Instead, imagine you answer the call. And then it’s instant – you feel the rush from seeing a face, making a connection. You laugh a little, even if it’s because you forgot what your hair looked like earlier that morning. You spend 15 minutes asking how they’re doing, how far along they are on a house project, or even share how your new puppy is adjusting.
You end the call and…you’re inexplicably smiling. It’s proven that our brains, specifically the emotion and behavior-ruling parts, lights up during face-to-face conversations. These kinds of quick status checks are beneficial for our emotional health. Simple interactions like these are the background music for immediate motivation and energy boosts, both of which sound like a great cure for the burnout we dread.
With winter in full swing, it’s even more important to take time for fresh air. Even if you’re just grabbing your mail or walking your dog, you can easily spend a few more minutes breathing in the air, watching the snow fall (or the waves lap the shore, depending on where you reside). Not only does nature serve to be a perfect meditative space, hard-and-fast science backs up why nature is so darn good for you.
Indoor air quality tends to suffer in the winter months, as most people are deterred from ventilating their homes with fresh air. If you can incrementally increase your daily dose of nature, your immune system will thank you for the extra exposure to the natural spaces outside your home.
If you live in colder climates, one way to naturally improve your ventilation would be to decorate your home with indoor plants. That’s right, NASA conducted a study to prove that house-friendly plants, such as Dragon Trees and Peace Lilies, were good at removing harmful chemicals and indoor air pollutants emitted from common home items like paint and insulation.
Let’s make a goal to migrate out of our bad habits of not properly taking care of ourselves during the day. Fueling your mental health begins with self-care, explicitly for your mind. And the best way to do this? Through manual disconnection.
It’s simple – step away from the screen. Just as healthy meals and sleep nourish and rejuvenate our bodies, a little away time from our inboxes and instant chats can help us recharge our minds. Simply block 30 minutes on your calendar and set a timer on your phone (or tell Siri/Alexa to do it, she won’t mind).
Even those most resistant to routines can appreciate the value of set time away from their workspace. You can even get creative on how to spend the time. When it’s time to return to your to-do list, respect the routine and reconnect.
Mindset is purely a choice. As your self-awareness grows, choose optimism. Believe it or not, optimism is trending: 75% of Americans say their emotional state is about the same or better in 2021. The stat speaks for itself, but it’s illustrative proof that we’ve chosen to view our lives through a lens of gratitude. Many of us have spent time in deep reflection and have chosen to own what happiness means to each of us.
We’ve crushed limiting beliefs around our ability to solve big-time problems, or what we think we deserve. We’ve learned to embrace the palette of human emotions – we realize “happy” won’t happen 24/7 but we know quicker ways to get there.
The switch is on and the answer is yes – yes you can, and yes you will. It’s time to be proud of the paths you’ve forged, because the good you’ve sought all along is going to chase you this time. You’ve chosen to be here, to be present, in your moment.
Check out the additional resources below for simple tips for working from home you can implement today to be successful in a remote work environment:
Amanda Palczynski is the Brand Program Manager at interviewstream. She is a perfectionist for accuracy; loves getting crafty with hand lettering and typography; and can speak strictly in quotes from The Office for any occasion.