I may be a little too late to the party with this blog post, but better late than never!!
So many of us throughout this lockdown and the previous lockdowns have had to adapt to working from home, and incredibly quickly. A situation that some of us may be familiar with and some, maybe not so much. Being a teacher in the wellbeing/fitness world and thriving in my role from face to face interaction I had to think really quickly how I was going to get classes online. Something I had never ever considered doing before and it was way out of my comfort zone, but needs must and as I always tell my students we grow so much from pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones!
So here I am a year on and still teaching online and loving every second! Even in the in-between moments of freedom I was teaching in the studio and online with a combined timetable and I'm happy to say that I will continue to do so long into the future. It has opened up a whole new world many of us probably didn't think of, and for that I am truly grateful.
I feel very lucky that teaching is my 'full' time job, I can run my home life the way I want and I don't need to rely on anyone or anything to continue working, but doing this on your own means you have got to put in some SERIOUS WORK. Another favourite quote of mine... "The work you put in, you get out". Sure it has its challenges and failures but we have to work through them, adapt and try something new. This virtual space has given me a new perspective on teaching and it won't ever be the same again. I have had to change everything in my home life to continue teaching from home and I must say after all the hard work I have a happy medium!
Here I want to share a few helpful tips to help you get the most out of working from home, even if you're not these things can be helpful in your day to day life.
1. TIDY HOUSE. TIDY MIND.
First and foremost... Tidy house, Tidy mind. Easier said than done I know! After watching 'Jiro, Dreams of Sushi' many moons ago something stuck with me. He talks about keeping his station clean (he's an 85 Sushi chef with the best restaurant in Tokyo). I know his job role is very different to ours but his attention to detail is incredible, all he has in front of him is what he needs. We should take that into account in our work space, our kitchen, I'm even going to say every room in the house! Have you ever lay down in your Relaxation in class and seen a sock hanging off the radiator, your surrounded by the kids toys or you are still being distracted by the noise of the washing machine?
This clip may be the perfect summary and has made me giggle many times... https://youtu.be/zMi9-ZkvKgQ
As if our minds aren't already busy enough, we are easily distracted or even easily agitated visually. So this is where we take the time to clean and set up a space where we can work without to many distractions. If you're working at a desk or table clear it, don't leave the fruit bowl there or old letters, simply CLEAR IT. A space where you can place the things you need only for your work. Organise the work in importance, if it's on a laptop create MORE document folders so you are in control of how and when you are doing it. Write a list of things you need to complete in importance or time lines, when you are completing a task, complete it fully then move onto the next. Not only by doing this you are giving your full attention to the task at hand but you actually create more time for yourself. Take your time, keep the space clean and after you have finished your work tidy up after yourself!
2. SEPARATE HOME-WORK FROM A WORKING HOME.
When working from home don't mix business and pleasure, or in this case don't mix your work space with the kitchen, the bedroom or the kids playtime! I know working from home can increase tension, I've spent many hours trying to get my admin done with Gus saying 'Mom, mom, mom, mom, look at this, mom, where's this, mom I'm hungry, mom lets play'. Being compassionate and the adult of household our children need to understand work time and play time, if we are working in the same room as them even more so. (My own mother thinks I'm evil headteacher when it comes to my personal parenting skills!). Gus has an understanding that he will have my full attention if I can get my work complete, he understands that my work pays for the food we eat and the roof above our heads, he understands the concept of time and money because as parents we have taught him, and yes at 5 years old he is a wise old soul! There is no reason for us to be angry in any situation, children are as baffled by this situation of lockdown as we are and its important we communicate, create boundaries to be open and understood. While I work Gus often sits with me and I allow him to become a part of what I'm doing, giving them independence allows their imagination to run wild and they can entertain themselves. He gets a notepad and draws, I even set him tasks to do while I'm working, that way we work together but individually. If he gets bored then it just turns into boring mom work, he loses interest and starts doing what he wants. Win, win! If working with the kids running around isn't working, give them all the attention they need, play with them, spend valuable time and set your work time when they are in bed.
Don't eat at your work space. Eating and working are separate things, they are/or should be mindful activities where the body and mind are connected to what they are doing. Seperate your time, get a routine and you will feel so much better for it. If you're working at the dining table clear away all of your 'work' before you have your meals, again there is no confusion into what's what and a healthy separation so you aren't mindlessly eating your sunday dinner while sending an important email, not concentrating makes the task last twice as long.
Don't check your social media while working, stay focused on what you are doing in the moment. Social media world can wait... is it really that important?
Sign off for the night by giving yourself a cut off time. Working from home can literally start from the moment you wake up to the moment you close your eyes before bed, not physically but mentally. It surrounds us and is something that's always going to play on our minds because we can't separate it from home life. Each day set yourself a time, however long you need but when the time is up FINISH. If you're organised with your time it can wait until tomorrow. When it comes to winding down, make an effort to relax, get off technology, do yoga, take a bath, read a book and give yourself an hour (more if you can) to rest before going to bed.
3. MOVE YOUR BODY.
Probably one of the most important tips we should bring into our lives, even when we arent working from home is moving the body! This doesn't mean sitting at a desk for hours and then throwing on the lycra and doing a marathon it can just mean mindful movement. Yoga in particular is perfect for creating gentle flexibility, range of movement and strength. Even while seated we can move through postures to release the neck and shoulders, we can twist and we can also stretch the hips. Next time you're sat at the desk why not try these postures?
Seated neck stretch
Seated pigeon pose
Seated side bend
Seated forward fold (my favourite)
Closing the eyes and focusing on the breath.
You can find a little more guidance in the blog post ' 5 Postures to release the neck & shoulders' https://www.wildloveyoga.com/post/5-postures-to-release-the-neck-shoulders
If you would like to try Chair Yoga Rebecca teaches a class every Friday at 11.00am:
4. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.
Giving yourself a break may still allow us to stick to some sort of routine, plus your body and mind do need well earned rest if your working hours at the desk. Go for a walk, take a shower, cook yourself some wonderful food, play with the kids, have a cuppa, have a lie down!! Using our time efficiently (mentioned above) gives us more time to do the things we want to do, its okay if you go for a walk and you take a little longer than you intended, with a well rested body and mind you are more productive, did you know that in Sweden they trailed a 6 hour working day and in Microsoft Japan a 4 day working week? We are all more productive if we aren't pushed beyond our physical and mental limitations, it's all about balance. So next time you look out the window and you say to yourself "I need to get out", don't talk yourself out of it, go and do it. Fill your cup! You will come back refreshed and focused to carry on working.
5. STAY HYDRATED.
Last but certainly not least is staying hydrated. Where ever your work space may be keep a big jug or bottle of fresh water (why not even add lemon or cucumber?) next to you. A container big enough that you can pour from, sometimes we forget to fill our little cup and it will sit there all day, when you have a big jug next to you, It's hard to miss and is always a reminder. It's a good way of also keeping track on how much you have drank within the day, I personally forgot to count 'glasses' so pouring from a big bottle I know Im getting 2 litres.
Well I think that's covered everything! If you have any helpful tips I would love you to share them here, if you're a member just log in and leave a comment! Thank you so much for reading, I hope this helps your working week and it gives you a little more motivation. For those who are working from home, you are doing an AMAZING job, its strange, its tiring and it can get tedious but take your time, pace yourself and remember to still find your personal moments while you're working. You should be so proud of yourselves!
All my love,