5 Ways Working From Home Has Actually Helped Me Slow Down and Live Life to the Fullest
In the blink of an eye, a deadly virus completely altered how we live — from how we work, to how we shop, and how we learn.
COVID shattered most of my daily routine and at first I, like most people, was annoyed and frustrated, but now I’m seeing the beauty of these broken habits.
In fact, COVID has actually helped me deal with other anxieties and stressors in life that I didn’t even realize were weighing on me until quarantine helped me relax.
Don’t get me wrong, the stress hasn’t gone away and work from home has its own unique challenges. But I’m learning to get over my type-A personality always needing to control everything and know all the answers, which has helped me slow down and live more in the present moment.
Here are five ways I’ve learned to get more out of each and every day while surviving a global health pandemic:
Pause: I appreciate every precious morning
I used to have a perfectly timed morning routine. I would wake up, shower, get dressed (I always laid out my clothes the night before), eat a quick breakfast, take coffee on the go, and hop in the car for work.
My morning was efficient, yes, but I wasn’t enjoying it. I was going through the motions trying to keep every day the same and minimize any disruptions to my routine.
Working from home has taught me to do the opposite. I save time because I don’t have to get ready right away, look any certain way for my meetings, nor do I have to waste time commuting anywhere.
So now in the morning I take my time. I don’t rush out of bed. I take a walk with my husband and my dog. We go somewhere to get a coffee to go and we drink it together. Sometimes we cook breakfast together and watch the morning news or I take time for myself to do yoga.
What I’ve learned is that every morning is truly a gift to be cherished. Humans weren’t made to run off to work and spend their days rushing from one task to the next.
Now, I savor every precious morning and get so much more out of each and every day.
Breathe: I practice yoga and meditation every day
I have been practicing yoga and meditation on and off for years now, because relaxation is one of the keys to keeping my autoimmune arthritis under control.
In many ways, work from home was a saving grace, because I was still figuring out my arthritis treatment and experiencing pain and swelling almost daily.
This made it very difficult to rush off to work every morning, but when I started working from I home I felt the immediate stress relief of not having to hide or pretend feeling well.
And now, whenever I feel stressed or anxious, it’s much easier to make time to practice yoga and meditation.
Sometimes I stretch while listening to meetings. Sometimes I get outside and eat my lunch while listening to the sounds of nature.
I could never do these things in the office, but what a difference they make for my both mental and physical health.
Ponder: I think of new ways to show people I care
Quarantine has truly transformed the way we communicate with people. We all had to get creative, because we couldn’t see people in person.
After many Facetimes with family, Zoom happy hours with colleagues, and drive-by birthday parties and baby showers, we’ve all learned new ways of showing others our support.
It’s as if the quarantine heightened everyone’s sense of connection and actually brought us closer together, despite not actually being in the same room.
Most importantly, we all paid more attention to the incredible heroes in our lives who were on the front lines of the pandemic and protecting the rest of us who had the luxury of staying home.
So I’ve realized I can send more support to everyone in my life and that even distant or virtual interactions can help us all feel more connected.
Choose: I spend more time outdoors
I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors, but never as a part of my work day.
I used to spend all day inside a building under fluorescent lighting and even though I wanted to get out, I would inevitably go home and then fall victim to the comfort of PJs and the couch.
But much like yoga and meditation, the great outdoors is itself a healing medicine. In fact, research proves this fact.
And now that I have the convenience to work where I want, I can take meetings outside in the yard or on my porch.
I can also take breaks where I want, which means more dog walks in between meetings and more meals relaxing outdoors instead of in front of a screen.
And it’s funny to say, but because home is now work, it’s the last place I want to stay in the evenings and on the weekends. So I find myself choosing more nature time in general.
So in hindsight, it’s a blessing that COVID shut down the crowded cities and public gatherings, so we would all choose to live life more naturally again.
Do: I go on a walk after eating
One of the best ways I’ve slowed down during quarantine is during and after meals.
I have time for my coffee in the morning. I set time aside to take a lunch break away from the stress of the computer. For dinner, I spend time cooking with my husband or we take food to picnic in the park (and get more time in nature!).
The fact that I enjoy these events now is a huge relief, because for nearly a decade meals have been stressful for me.
I didn’t know why for a long time, but now I know that the inflammation from my arthritis contributed to the stomach pains and constant lethargy I experienced from food.
However, one thing I’ve learned on my journey with arthritis is how to support digestive health as a major contributor to overall wellness.
And taking walks after meals is one of the best ways to allow the body to digest and maintain energy.
The time I normally spent commuting to and from work (feeling stressed by the traffic and other drivers) I now get to spend taking a quick and relaxing walk around the block.
And this has done wonders for my digestive health and arthritis.
Eating properly takes work. And everyone deserves the time to stop working and do it well.
Meals are a great time to get up and move. Your gut will thank you for it.
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