Tips for Working and Learning from Home During COVID-19

How to stay mentally healthy while being productive during #StayHome

It seems that all anyone can talk about is the coronavirus. And rightfully so as it’s impacting every corner of the world. From employees being told to work from home to college students moving off campus and migrating to remote learning, the virus has impacted every single American in some way.

I am just like you. I am a working professional who’s in her mid-30’s and also an adult learner - working full-time as a Marketing Communications consultant while taking a digital marketing course, now fully online. Oh, and not to mention, I’m getting married this September. Needless to say, 2020 is already a busy year!

When I was an undergraduate at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, I took a few online courses, but I wasn’t also working full-time and working from home through a shelter in place advisory while doing it. I’m trying to make the best of this situation to remain effective in my job as well as stay mentally healthy, but I admit, it isn’t always easy.

Over the past 20 days, I discovered some tricks that help me remain focused and motivated while allowing myself time to focus on my well-being. Here are a few things I have found useful that could also work for you:

Structure is Key
It’s easy for our daily routines to get turned upside down being home all the time. At first, my sleep schedule was off. I found sticking to my usual routine, as if I am still going to the office, has really helped me keep focused and stay motivated.

Here are a few tips:

  • Wake up when you normally would.
  • If possible, create a nook or private space dedicated to working / studying. This will really help you compartmentalize work from being at home.
  • Set time in your work calendar to have lunch.
  • Allow yourself breaks in between calls / work.
  • Make sure you stop working. I’ve noticed when I work from home I tend to get caught up and the next thing I know it’s 7pm. Once in a while this is okay but not every day.

Video Calls are My New Best Friend
I never used Zoom until I started taking my digital marketing course. I honestly love Zoom because it offers a free version that’s very easy to navigate and allows you to see everyone on your call. Houseparty is another app becoming more popular because it incorporates video chatting like Zoom but with games you can play against friends.

Here are a few tips:

  • Use Zoom/FaceTime or another app to schedule calls with friends and family members to keep in touch. It really helps pass the time and makes you feel connected to the outside world. I usually have at least one non-work or school related Zoom/FaceTime call a night.
  • For my online course, I created a study group that meets weekly via Zoom to help each other stay connected as well as engage with my classmates.

Go Outside
I know we all need to adhere to social distancing guidelines but that doesn’t mean you can’t get out and take a walk around your neighborhood. Getting fresh air and some exercise is so important for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Here are a few tips:

  • Make time each day to get out at least once. I have a two-year old dog so taking him for walks is the perfect excuse to get out.
  • Have a patio, deck or porch? Try working outside when the weather is nice to switch up your routine.
  • Do you like podcasts or audio books? Use your daily walks as personal time to listen to your favorite story as something to look forward to.

Try Something New
I’m the type of person who likes to keep busy. For years, I’ve been wanting to learn how to paint but never did. Now that I am home, I purchased a watercolor painting kit to learn and I’m honestly really looking forward to it.

Here are a few tips:

  • Take advantage of your free time to explore a new skill or craft that interests you.
  • Have children? Get the whole family involved by learning a new skill or maybe a new language together. Duolingo is a free app that is a great tool for learning a new language.
  • Love to read? Start a virtual book club with friends by reading a book and meeting virtually to discuss it. This is something I am doing with my book club since we can’t meet in person. We are currently reading The Whisper Man by Alex North.

What about YOU?
What have you been doing to stay focused, motivated and mentally healthy during the COVID-19 stay home quarantine? Share your tips and feedback in the comments below to be featured in an upcoming blog post sharing how others are staying motivated during this time.

Stay healthy and safe.

 

 

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