If you're planning to work from home for the next few weeks after Leo Varadkar's announcements, here is a routine to start your day calmly.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made an announcement on Thursday morning about updated restrictions on the Irish public, as part of an effort to stop the further spread of Covid-19. Shops and public transport will remain open, but those who can work from home for the coming weeks are encouraged to do so, with all schools, colleges and childcare closed until March 29.
Since the news broke, anxiety levels have understandably risen in many of us who are worried about what's to come. If you are planning to work from home, and if you may be isolated from others for extended periods of time, it's especially important to look after your mental health and try to be as calm as possible.
It can be difficult to set a routine for working from home — many of us wind up in the trap of staying on the couch in our pyjamas — but your mornings are especially important for setting you up for the day. If you need some guidance in creating a routine to start your day calmly, here are some pointers.
Treat the initial part as if you're actually going to work
When your alarm goes off, don't just grab the laptop and stay in bed. Treat the very beginning of your day as a real workday — get up, have a shower and get dressed in real clothes. They don't have to be formal, or even semi-formal, but don't stay in PJs. It'll help your mental health and will motivate you when it comes to working.
Try to fit in some exercise
The beauty of working from home is extra time in the mornings to do things for you. There's no need to head to the gym — why not put on a YouTube yoga class or take a quick walk or jog around your local area? Start your day by being active and it'll set up your mental state to be better too.
Don't go on social media
If you've been feeling particularly anxious about the news lately, it's in your best interest to avoid social media where you can. Don't begin your day by immediately delving into anxiety-inducing tweets and Facebook posts — this isn't doing you or your brain any good. Keep away from social media until you've had time to get ready for the day, and get a bit of work done. You'll be in a better headspace to deal with any worrying news you hear.
Eat a good breakfast
Again, the luxury of time is on your side when working from home. Make yourself a good breakfast — eggs are always a good shout, or some fruit and yoghurt.
It doesn't have to be face to face. Call your parents or a friend before settling down to work for the day to check-in, or even chat to your workmates via a WhatsApp group like you would over a cup of tea in the morning in the office. Try to avoid any talk of Covid-19 — many of us are sick of talking about it anyway.
Find a mantra
If you find yourself becoming more anxious or panicked, a mantra to repeat to yourself can be of real benefit in calming yourself down. Keep it simple — don't bother making up a long-winded and inauthentic mantra, because it won't resonate with you. Some good ones to try are "this too shall pass," "I always feel better when I pause in response to stress," and "I have control over how I feel, and I choose to feel at peace." Repeat them slowly while breathing in and out, until you start to feel yourself relaxing.
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