My secret to staying sane while working from my home all week
When you’re home all day, every day, all week, every week it’s natural to begin to feel a little cooped up. So how do you fight these feelings? How do you remain a sane human, not get completely sick of your space, oh and stay engaged in your work for your company that is affording you the opportunity to be remote?? To answer this it’s important to consider the mindset and experience of the remote worker.
When you don’t got into an office every day there are some inherent social aspects of a job that you miss out on. Sure you can participate in a team fantasy football league and make picks in a March Madness bracket but there are social aspects that you just simply don’t get to be a part of: happy hours, group lunches, decorating a co-worker’s cube for her birthday.
Even if the social piece of your job isn’t all that important to you, the simple act of getting out of your house every day and interacting with other humans is something that you will notice. And if you’re like me and don’t live with a significant other, kids, roommates, or even have a pet, this can particularly take a toll.
It’s easy to fall into the mundane routine of getting up, having breakfast, working, having lunch, working, hitting the gym, having dinner, relaxing, going to bed. Rinse and repeat. Even if you have a roommate, significant other you live with, or even a pet, it’s easy to fall into this trap. It’s easy to fall into this trap if you do go into an office each day.
So how do you avoid getting massive cabin fever and going stir crazy when you spend a significant portion of your life cooped up in your home? What’s my trick?
I get out.
I’m not talking about spending an afternoon or two a week at Starbucks. I do that sometimes but that’s not the real interaction I seek. What I have found to be most effective is to have actual plans during the work week. Like going on a walk or doing a gym class with a friend at night. Or making a point to go out to dinner or drinks or a sporting event.
This isn’t rocket science, I know. But think about how easy it is to fall into that mundane daily cycle. And think about what you want to be doing after a looong day. If you’re anything like me and you crave (and need) down time to recharge and reflect; after a demanding day I love nothing more than curling up with a book or watching TV in peace. Especially after a few hectic days it’s so easy for me to go hermit mode at night; I tell myself I’ll see my friends and interact with the world on the weekend.
But when I started to work remotely this began to back-fire on me. When I was going into the office daily it was nice to come home and spend time alone; essential actually. But after being by myself all day I was ready for–needing really–human interaction. This was a surprising shift. What was more surprising what that it was impacting my work. If I stayed at home every night a given week by Thursday afternoon I would find myself struggling to stay focused. “Powering through” the end of the week turned into “powering through being in my house for another day.” While I still very much need my rest and downtime to reflect on myself and my world, when I’m home all day I very much need to leave home at night. So that’s what I now do.
This simple observation and change has really made all the difference for me. I’m human so when Thursday afternoon rolls around I still begin to taste and crave the weekend but I’m no longer sick of my space. I can stay focused and stay engaged in my work space, which can be half the battle when you’re a remote employee.
What do you do to stay sane from your home office? Share in the comments below!