We’re heading into week four of social distancing, physical distancing, shelter in place, Safer at Home, quarantine… whatever it is you want to call it. Last week was my second week of working from home, and my first week having students “in class,” and I realized that getting into my new normal has been really hard, for myriad reasons.
I know we are all trying to adapt to our new, and might I add temporary, normal. For some, the new normal looks pretty much the same, if not much more stressful. Essential workers have no choice but continue to work, and before I go on any further, I want to give them a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for continuing to keep us safe and/or fed during all of this. Your job is probably unimaginably more difficult while impacted by this pandemic, but you continue nonetheless. “Thank you” doesn’t even begin to cover how appreciated you are.
The new normal for those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to work remotely and whose employers are able to keep us on also looks very different. I’ve been seeing tons of cute home offices popping up on my social media — spare bedrooms or closets being converted into makeshift workspaces, some Pinterest-perfect, and others less so, but a designated work spot, nonetheless.
Me? I don’t have a desk or an extra room or closet, so I quickly figured out what I needed in order to make this whole work from home thing work.
Teaching from home without a desk, designated workspace, or privacy (Chris and I are working in the same room… we have a one-bedroom apartment and both agree that working on the bed is out of the question, so what choice do we have?) has been a challenge. As I’ve gotten more into a routine, I’ve started noticing the little things helping me be productive and that make me feel a little better physically and mentally. These are the things that are putting me into a better space and headspace for this indefinite period of working at home. I hope that if you too are trying to figure out how to make working from home easier for you too.
Working from home is a challenge in many ways. Not only do some of us have small spaces that we’re sharing and are just trying to make it work, but there’s the whole needing fresh air a good environment and tools to help us accomplish things. Here’s my list of things I’m using to help me:
- Essentials Oils and Diffuser: I’ve been using a blend of peppermint and eucalyptus oils to freshen up our stale air. It helps a lot and feels like our space is somehow more open.
- Laptop Desk: The one I ordered has since sold out, but here are two great options if you, like me, don’t have a proper desk at home. I use an adjustable tabletop laptop stand similar to this one. It enables me to work on the couch with the stand over me or on the coffee table while I work. Another good option is a cushioned lap desk like this one.
- Blue Light Blocking Glasses: I bought these a while back, and I’m glad I did. They come in a set, and as I find myself working on a screen more, these have been so helpful. I completely forgot about them on my first day of distance teaching and had a massive headache. My head and eyes feel so much better when I wear these!
- Candles: Honestly one of the greatest benefits of working from home for me is that I can make things feel cozier. Grab a candle and enjoy. Sometimes I burn some aromatherapy candles, and other times I burn candles that trigger some happy memories for me. If you’re looking for long-lasting, clean-burning candles that smell incredible, I cannot recommend Highland Bluff Studio and Gypsy Vine enough.
- Earbuds: If you don’t already have something to stick in your earholes to help you shut out the world and concentrate or have a semi-private virtual meeting, these highly-rated earbuds are only $10!
- Planner: Working from home makes it even more important to stay on a schedule. It’s hard balancing the things you want or need to do with work when you’re at home. Keep track of deadlines and to-do lists.
- Notebook and Pens: I’m a teacher… did you really think we were getting through a home office must-haves list without Flair Pens? I use pens to color-code things and honestly, just because they make me happy. I also find myself making a lot of notes these days. And wanting to journal. This moleskin notebook pack has been my go-to for both.
Working from home sounds like a great idea in theory, but under our current conditions, let’s be honest… it sucks. It takes a mental toll on us. Here are some ways I’m combatting the mental and physical struggle:
- Vitamin D Pills: The sun is a magical thing and without a yard, patio, or porch, we’re not seeing much of it these days. We started taking Vitamin D pills to make up for being inside and not getting any sun. I think it’s helping our moods and energy levels a bit.
- Comfies: I am all for getting up and showered and dressed each day, but I don’t want to wear jeans. Who does? Still, I want to feel nice. I think it helps my mental state. Investing in a nice new pair or two of cute and comfy sweats or lounge shorts and wearing them around the house has really helped how I feel. I also wear slippers all the time… kind of just completes the whole ensemble.
- Hand Care: We’re all washing our hands a lot more right now, and I think it’s a good time to get some scents that make you happy and feel better about the incessant washing. I couldn’t find soap at the grocery started when the hoarding started, so I ordered a few bottles from Bath and Body Works. I LOVE the Cactus Blossom handsoap, and something about a pleasant scent makes me feel better. With all the washing, however, comes dry hands. We’ve been using Jergen’s Hand Lotion more than ever. I also sometimes mix in a little body oil when my hands get really bad. I love the smell and feel of this one.
- Natural Sleep Aids: If you have been following me on Instagram, you might remember that I’ve been struggling to sleep better for a while now. That has only gotten worse since the pandemic. Luckily, I discovered some natural products that have been helping. The first is Olly Sleep Gummies. These have really been helping me fall asleep and not wake up as often in the night. I’ve also been using This Works Deep Sleep Body Cocoon, but this hot commodity has been seeking out on websites so fast. It’s no wonder why. This lotion has been incredible in helping ease some of my stress and get a more restful night’s sleep while helping to heal my dry, overwashed hands. A similar product (which is in stock online and less expensive) is This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. I haven’t tried this yet, but if it’s anything like the Body Cacoon, it’s incredible.
I hope that if you have been struggling with the changes that come with working from home like we have been, that this helps you. I purposely chose items to share that you DO NOT NEED TO LEAVE THE HOUSE FOR! Please, stay at home. And stay safe ❤️