More people than ever before are working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic and our newfound reality of quarantining and social distancing. If you're used to commuting to an office every Monday through Friday, chances are your day-to-day looks and feels a whole lot different. Now more than ever, it's important to maintain a routine to help you stay focused, motivated, energized, and happy. "Both adults and children thrive in a structured environment because it helps us feel in control of something—even when we have little to no control over what's happening in our external world with COVID19," says executive career coach Elizabeth Pearson. Keeping some of your old routine is key to staying on track while you work from home.
Keep a Consistent Wake-Up Time
Avoid the temptation to hit the snooze button just because you don't have to commute to work. While you don't need to be super-rigid with the time you wake up, Pearson says it's best to keep it within a set 30-minute timeframe each morning. "If you can get into this routine, it will actually help you to sleep better at night," she adds.
Change Out of Your Pajamas
Why get dressed up if you have nowhere to go? Because it flips a switch turning your brain on—telling it, "It's time to work," notes Pearson. "Getting dressed also helps transition your mindset at the end of the day," she says. "When you change out of your real clothes and back into your pajamas you'll find it easier to shut off the stresses of the day and signal to your mind that it's now time to relax."
Exercise Is Key
Keeping in shape and working out is essential to maintain a healthy immune system, notes Roger E. Adams, Ph.D., personal trainer, doctor of nutrition, and owner of eatrightfitness. "You don't need expensive or fancy gym equipment—all you need is dedication and carving out the same time during the day as you did before," he says. Many fitness studios are offering virtual classes, but you can also find many free workouts on various forms of social media, like Instagram and YouTube.
Go Outside for a Walk
Take time out of your day to go outside for a walk to get your share of vitamin D. "It's critical to our physical and mental health that we get fresh air every day—and now is not the time to get lazy and confine yourself to your bed or couch," says Pearson. "Find a route that's less likely to be crowded or wake up early and go for your walk in an effort to avoid the new rush hour that starts on paths after 4 p.m."
Drink Plenty of Water
Our body is mostly made up of water, so we need to drink a lot of it in order to stay healthy. Akua Woolbright, Ph.D., the national nutrition director for Whole Cities Foundation, recommends at least 64 ounces per day.
Eat a Wholesome Diet
Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole foods can help boost your immunity and ward off illness. "Green foods, in particular, are known to boost immunity while reducing cancer risk, repairing DNA, healing tissues, detoxifying the body, and providing energy," says Dr. Woolbright.
Sleep Is Important
The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep each night, so you shouldn't be getting much below that range. "Proper sleep is an important component of ensuring people are functioning at their best," says Dr. Woolbright. "Our body produces a type of protein called cytokines when we sleep, which targets infections and inflammation, to help regulate immunity and inflammation."
Connect with Friends and Family
Use technology to your advantage to simulate in-person time together with friends through Zoom or FaceTime. We could all use a little extra support from a loved one during this trying time, and what better way to spend your break than by a quick check-in with someone you love?