Work From Home Tips for the Busy Mind

rizki yogaswara
Jan 20, 2021 · 4 min read

If, like me, you have a mind that’s just can’t stop chirping for whatever reason -maybe it’s just part of our genetic make-up, maybe it has something to do with our upbringing- stressful work situations, especially from home, can take quite a psychological toll.

Here are some of the things that i found helpful in quieting my mind while working from home

Boundaries Means Balance

Why is This important ?

Conventionally, your office and your home are 2 different places (duh), often far away from each other, this means your body and mind will have no difficulties separating the two.

Being at home all the time throws this out of whack, it sends mixed signals to the body, resulting, in my case at least, sleepless nights, and getting increasingly short and snappy.

What Do You Mean By Boundaries, and how to set it up ?

I define boundaries as anything that helps the mind and body differentiate work-mode from home-mode.

For me, it’s choosing working hours that works for me and sticking with it, configuring all my communications tools like Slack and google calendar accordingly and putting on work clothes during those hours. Or you can cook your dinner at a fixed time as a marker for you to switch from work-mode to home-mode

Another one is carving a designated area as work-area (it can be a small corner in your one bedroom apartment, that’s ok), if you have extra money and space, invest in a proper desk and chair — this can go a long way for your mental health.

The intent here is to create mental separation from being at work vs. being at home.

Routines are Healthy

Why is This Important ?

The thing about working from home is that there’s nothing stopping you to work constantly (and nothing will stop you from not starting work also). Routines help you to stop (and start)

Without those routines, our mind and body needs to make a conscious decision every time, and that is tiring. By building habits and routine, we essentially delegates decision making to the subconscious, hence we lessen the burden.

Some Routines You Can Try

Firstly, as much as possible try to have a consistent sleep schedule. Whether it’s 5 hour, 7 hour or 8 hour, as long as it’s consistent. After waking up, rather than go directly into work, set time for breakfast, better yet, make breakfast.

Set 10-30 minutes for some light exercise, if you have access to direct sunlight while still being safe from covid, use it, take 10 minutes walk under sunlight in the morning. Research shows a 20 minute exercise can significantly boost your mood. Maybe throw in 3 or 5 minutes of silent sitting. Every bit helps.

Take mini-breaks between meetings, this means physically do something that does not have anything to do with work, walk to the kitchen to make tea, text a friend while standing, do desk-exercises, even taking 15 minutes to watch a standup on Netflix, anything to take your mind off work, before you switch your mental context for next meeting.

Do walking meetings, especially in brainstorming discussions, turn off your video and put on those wireless earphones, it’ll do wonders. Some even say it adds benefit of creativity into the mix.

Accept That It’s Hard

Sometimes, the biggest challenge is accepting that it is indeed, hard. The narrative that working from home means more idle time, added pressure to show your employer you are not slacking off, and productivity hack culture rampant in social media bombarding us with success stories of bread baking and indoor gardenings can distract us from the fact what we are facing is hugely unprecedented and very few of us come prepared.

Any change is hard, more-so a change that involves us being holed up for months, with minimum social interactions and our own bickering thoughts amplified.

Accepting the situation and being aware of our own conversation around it can be cathartic. Unfortunately for most of us, being aware of our own thoughts is not as easy as it sounds.

There are several things you can do to start the process.

For me, mindfulness meditation is very rewarding, starting a daily routine of silent sitting can help connect me with my body and my surroundings, it helps with the non-stop thoughts. I recommend using the Headspace app, it’s very easy to use and relatively easy on the wallet.

If mindfulness is something new for you, i find this book by Chade Meng Tan quite accessible, or listen to this Panduan Berkesadaran podcast on Spotify (it’s in Bahasa Indonesia) by senantiasaberada.com

Reaching out to support networks ( a confidante / partner / really good friend ) to talk deeply with.

And do not hesitate to take help from professionals, there are some pretty affordable online counselling services that connects you with trained psychologists through zoom call, like bicarakan.id.

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