If you suddenly find yourself working from home, you’re sharing that experience and adjustment period with many other professionals. Students of all ages are now attending online classes, and many cities are implementing stay-at-home orders to encourage isolation. If you’re having trouble adjusting to this major shift in the ways that we live, work, and socialize, here are some tips on how to look out for your health (both mental and physical) and productivity during this time of uncertainty.

  1. Practice self-care. Social isolation can be mentally and emotionally draining and staying at home certainly isn’t ideal for your physical health, which is why it’s more important than ever to practice self-care. If you’re anxious about the state of the world or the health of your family and friends, this might be a good time to pick up journaling, start meditating, or even connect with a therapist who can meet with you online. If the constant influx of news is stressing you out, grant yourself permission to only check the news at certain times of day.
  2. Get moving. If your lifestyle is feeling a little more sedentary than normal, you might consider picking up an at-home exercise app or adding bike rides to your routine. If you can get outside to get some fresh air and sunshine without putting yourself into a crowded place, try to do so every day.
  3. Keep a schedule. Treat working from home just like working at work: Decide what time you’re going to start working, when your lunch break is, and what time you clock out. Designate an area as your “office” and try to only be there when you’re working. If you treat work too loosely, you can lose whole days to unproductivity — or never stop working. Having a schedule will also help kids who are used to the structure of school. Stay aware of time outside of a work environment, too. During isolation, it can be easy to oversleep or stay up too late, which can be bad for mental health. Keep setting alarms and stick to a general bedtime if you can.
  4. Take action. If you’re feeling helpless, you’re not alone. But there are ways you can help without leaving the house! Donate to nonprofits that are struggling, buy gift cards to support businesses that are suffering without in-person shoppers, see if your local hospital is accepting homemade fabric masks, or offer to grocery shop for an elderly or immunocompromised neighbor.
  5. Stay social. Just because you can’t go get coffee with a friend or throw a dinner party doesn’t mean you can’t still be social! This is a great time to bring back the good old fashioned phone call — or get a little more personal with video chatting via Facetime or Google Hangouts. Have a virtual coffee date from the comfort of your own home, or play board games online. Settling in for some Netflix? Download the Netflix Party browser extension to watch TV shows and movies in real time with your friends.

If you have a moment, consider calling a friend or family member to check in. Even while we’re physically apart, we’re all dealing with these experiences together. By practicing some of these tips, you can do your best to stay healthy, happy, and productive even in this strange new landscape.

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