WFH: Three ways I have maintained my sense of self
I am here typing this whilst sitting in my bed. I am surrounded by all my creature comforts – I have a warm blanket draped over my knees, a Spotify playlist humming in the background, and the light scent of lavender essential oil floating through the air. This is lovely… but very strange!
I have never worked from home, and this adjustment has taken me nearly four months to fully lean into. I am typically someone who thrives off of in-person conversation, and I am a big advocate for keeping work/study/home life all in their own neat little boxes. “Don’t blur the boundaries” is my go-to motto whenever I hear about someone replying to emails at all hours of the night, or studying whilst tucked into bed.
Well, my boundaries are officially blurred and I have to say – I don’t dislike it as much as I thought I would.
Here are three simple practices I have implemented since working from home that have helped me to feel… like myself.
1. I suit up
There was one day, early on in the piece, where I decided to opt for the office mullet (blouse on top – track pants on the bottom), and I felt totally out of character. I changed into trousers at lunchtime and immediately felt like I was in the zone, and ready to tackle what the day threw at me. From that day forward I dressed up for work (head-to-toe) every single day. This has helped to create a sense of routine, and is also a small way that I can help to maintain the boundary between work life and home life. Now when the day is done, and I hop into my comfy loungewear – I feel like I am no longer at work, and it is time for rest and rejuvenation.
2. I stay connected!
In my role I talk to people all day long – bouncing between meetings with colleagues and Careers Drop-in sessions with students. I love this part of my job, but I was starting to feel like my only interactions were work-related.
When I began working from home, I really missed the incidental conversations that would happen on campus – bumping into someone in the corridor and chatting about the latest podcast I was listening to, or spontaneously going out to eat with a colleague at lunch. I have since made a conscious effort to remain social in the ways that feel good to me. I signed up to online improv classes, I check in with my team to see how they are going (not just with work stuff), and I call my friends up to chit-chat, read books over the phone together, and even cook the same meal via video call.
3. I go outside!
Spending extra time on my devices was making me feel drained, and my sleep wasn’t as lush as it could be. Getting fresh air has been the best daily practice I have implemented. So simple, yet so effective! Even when restrictions were at its peak – I made sure I went outside daily, even if just to soak up some rays in my backyard.
Now I make sure I go for a walk every lunch, and if time permits, I will hit the pavement once again after work. This physical practice of leaving the house and going into nature helps to break the day up into distinct segments and allows me to mentally relax when it is the time to do so. If you do want to get out in the sunshine, make sure you keep an eye on the most up-to-date advice from the NSW Government.
Whilst it hasn’t all been rainbows and lollipops (just ask my housemate about the meltdown I had when I dropped my phone in the toilet), I have been able to find moments of normalcy and comfort during this unprecedented time.
Simply by putting on trousers, staying connected with community, and making sure I get outside for some Vitamin D – I have been able to find the silver lining to this new way of working. As I sit here tucked into my warm, cosy blanket, and it trickles rain outside… I start to think… I could get used to this!
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
By Sarah Marlor
Sarah is a driven HR practitioner with employment experience spanning across talent acquisition, on-boarding, customer service and career advisor roles, so it is fair to say that people are her thing! With a bursting enthusiasm for helping individuals work towards being their best selves, Sarah brings a passionate vibrancy to her current role as a Recruitment Advisor at the University of Technology Sydney.