Whenever I am on Twitter, it’s filled with Tweets about how March felt 6 years long and April felt like 6 minutes and well January? That was 7 years ago. I couldn’t agree more.
Working from home is the new normal. When I first heard it, I was overjoyed. Being an introvert, talking to people gets a bit much and sometimes when I am stressed, I just want to lie down like Mindy Kaling and WFH lets me do just that. For me, this was the greatest thing that could happen. But now, we are at Day 41? 42? 43? It’s 56 (I had to check online)
There are days that I feel demotivated, where I miss my team, the chai wala (Not the You Know Who but actual chai wala), the secret joy of watching shows at work and being paid for it and feeling like a God, and most of all, I miss packing up and going home. Now? Conference calls and endless sitting in one place for hours with backache is my life.
When I feel super bleh, these are just a few things I like to do when I don’t even feel like doing anything.
Here it goes:
- Having a routine: One of the greatest things about WFH? I get to wake up at 9:59 and start my day. What a way to live life. I start work at 10, sit and eat in the same place, take calls, and the day doesn’t end. I was living and breathing work. I was working in my pajamas and it felt insane. But slowly the novelty wore off and I started getting fried. My life was even less exciting than before. I came to an embarrassingly slow realisation, that in order for my well being, I had to make sure that I am following a routine. So, I started waking up at my normal time, and do things I used to do at work, eating my lunch at a respectable lunch time and taking breaks, so that it didn’t feel like I living the same day over again and somehow still gaining weight.
- When work becomes your life: It’s easy to get consumed in your work. You have client calls, discussions, mails and endless WhatsApp messages to respond. Raise your hand if you are guilty of not eating on time, working till 12 midnight or later, not contributing to house work and taking calls in the bathroom on mute? Me culpa. I wasn’t giving enough time for my brain to rest and it wasn’t sustainable to keep going on like this. Another slow realisation to me was, no bell is going to ring for me to eat lunch or to indicate the period is over. I had to make a conscious effort to take a break from work. Focus on your food or your snacks or just walk around the room. Slowly, it started becoming a habit for me. This allowed me to rest mentally so that I didn’t feel overworked.
- Taking leaves: I cannot stress this enough, take leaves. When someone in my team is feeling unwell, they usually feel guilty about taking leaves or worry about the workload. A lot of people (including me at times) assume that working from home means that you don’t need leaves or you need to take them only when you are extremely unwell. Working non-stop in a high stress situation can burn you out, so making sure I take enough leaves, or even a half day to chill is super important If you think you are not in a headspace to work. If you are not physically or mentally healthy, the bottom line is, don’t work.
- Let go a little: This is a little guilty pleasure to spice things up. The perks of working from home is, you are working from home. Take a half an hour nap, or longer tea break or watch an entire one hour episode if you need it. It seriously helps you feel better. Don’t do this frequently, or trust me, novelty will wear off.
- Getting out of the funk: There are days when I genuinely don’t feel like moving from my bed.There is nothing to look forward to except work. Days like these, I don’t feel like doing anything, taking a bath, reading, watching stuff or even eating junk food. The only thing that has helped in this is to take effort to just get up and move. Seriously, if I put an effort to make my hair look good, it cheers me up. It’s so easy to not put an effort, but that does more harm than good. When I make my bed, I feel like I accomplished something and gives me the energy to tackle more work. Working in your pajamas should be guilty pleasure and not a norm.
- Pressure, pressure: Lately, I have been feeling this pressure instigated by my Instagram account to learn a new skill, cook or workout. I consciously have to tell myself, I am not on paid vacation. This is not “mother nature’s way” asking me to live, laugh and love. More often than not I feel gratitude that I have work and that I am getting paid so that I can help with groceries and online shopping. Don’t feel guilty about not doing Instagram story worthy things. Or feel guilty about just watching stuff on the weekend. It’s fine to not cook or learn a new skill. You aren’t wasting your time, you are working and give yourself credit for that.
This is a new situation for all of us. We are all coping in different ways and right now it seems like this will never end. So do whatever works for you, and if you have any cool suggestions on how you are coping, please share! Till then I will be just lying down on the floor (I seriously love lying down and will look for different excuses to do so). To misquote Leslie Knope, “we need to remember what’s important in life. Friends, rajma chawal and work. Or rajma chawal, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third.”
By Angela Bagga,
Sr. Manager, SoCheers