I recently got my job back after being furloughed for 6 months. Many of my peers adjusted to working from home during the months that I was without a job, so I had a lot of great advice to get started! Recently, I posted on my Instagram asking for advice after a particularly hard day of working from home, and received sooo many thoughtful, practical, amazing tips for working from home! I’ve been back to work for a month now, and I’m still adjusting (so many distractions!!!) and I certainly don’t follow all of these tips at all times - but I’m so thankful to know how other people are getting through.
Blue light glasses
I had an agonizing headache for the entire first week of work. I thought that my brain was just letting me know I was out of working shape, but my brain was just trying to let me know that it was taking in tooo much blue light. I walked around the block to TJ MAXX and bought a pair… but they gave me an even worse headache!! Turns out they were blue light READERS! Hahaha - back to square zero. I overnighted non-prescription blue light glasses and it made a big difference.
There are tons of options but here are some that I think are cute!
On top of wearing my blue light glasses, I adjust the blue light of my screen. If you go to the display settings on your computer, you can adjust the light/brightness. On my computer it’s under Night Settings. I turn it on and I turn it wayyyy up. It makes your screen more orangish! Give it a shot.
Sitting is the new smoking.
On top of terrible headaches, I had debilitating back pain that I believe was sparked by sitting for 8 hours more than usual. I did some research on how to "sit better" without buying a fancy chair and I learned so much!
The optimal position for sitting is knees below hips, as it helps maintain the natural curve of your back. I was sitting on a regular kitchen chair, and my knees were in line with my hips. I stacked 2 pillows to sit on and it was an instant posture fix.
For my birthday, my aunt bought me a Gaiam active seat, which is even better than pillows. Not a necessity to improve your seat, but a chair hack that I am so appreciative of!
So, to add to my list of aches and pains of working from home: my neck. My computer was always positioned far below my line of vision, so naturally I’d look down. I took to Instagram with this problem, and lots of people suggested an adjustable laptop stand. I needed a more immediate / less expensive solution so I adjusted the height of my laptop with a stack of books.
If you don’t have money to spend, I got you!! Here are some ideas for a DIY neck saver:
Big stack of books
Laundry basket turned over
Large kitchen pot
Standing desk (DIY)
This whole situation might be a stretch for a lot of people… but it is free and accessible for most anyone working from home. DIY standing desk!!! I try to stand more than half of my work day because it feels better for my back, and I switch off between standing barefoot and wearing shoes! I have a tall windowsill that my computer fits on, so before Jonah built me a desk, this was my office! When I'm working from my parents house, I use my dad’s dresser or the kitchen counter + a stack of books. Look around, use what you have, get crafty!!
If you have a budget for improving your WFH situation, there are tons of options for standing desks on amazon. I have this one, which I inherited from Jonah. I love it! I’m so thankful I have this option!
Breaks + walks.
Taking breaks is so important to my productivity. I usually work in bursts of either 45 minutes or 1.5 hours or 2.5 hours. Then I get up and take a break. My breaks look like this: grabbing a glass of water, having a snack, walking around the block, switching laundry, vacuuming, doing another chore, or just walking away from my desk and scrolling through social media. Taking intentional breaks makes me feel good about how I’m spending my time, and usually stepping away for 5-10 minutes gives me enough energy to plow through the rest of my day. Lately, I've been setting a timer on my phone, setting it face down, and not touching it until the timer goes off. It helps bring me focus in a setting that is my home/office/gym/restaurant!!
I love starting my day with 10 minutes of movement. Almost every single day I take a walk around the block before I start working. Some mornings, when I can’t get out on time or the weather is bad, I do sun salutations and gentle yoga. Getting my blood flowing helps me connect mind, body, brain, spirit.
Also, I use my lunch break to workout. In the morning when I make breakfast, I’ll also prep some stuff for lunch so that when it’s time to eat, it’s quick. That way, I can spend 30-45 minutes working out. When the weather permits I go outside and soak up all the fresh air. Working out midday is ideal for me and not something I could do if I was working in an office! It also allows me to spend the rest of my evening enjoying Jonah. Or a book :)
Build yourself an office.
We have an upstairs loft that is too small to be used for anything but an office or a place to read. We have a little couch up there, and there is a small alcove that was asking to be filled with a desk. Jonah spent a few days building me a desk and now the loft is officially my office. I'm so thankful to have a space separate from our living area to do my work. We hung up some of our degrees, awards, medals, and other things that are sentimental and inspiring to me. Whatever space you have, surround yourself with things that get you through the day and set a schedule that allows you happiness :)