HOW TO STAY BALANCED
While Working Remotely
Many of us have been working remotely since 2020, and it likely won’t change anytime soon. In fact, according to a survey, 35% of job holders can work from home full-time. While companies at first wanted people back in the office, more and more are giving employees the choice to stay at home.
While working at home in your pajamas sounds like a dream, it can get stale quickly. We’ve heard “take a walk” and “do yoga” time and time again, so let’s look at some new ways to keep the WFH fresh and ways eastern medicine can support your work from home routine. There are many tools for the virtual employee bringing work life balance to home.
Don’t Use Your Work Computer for Free Time Activities
Yes, you’ve been told to make sure you clock out at the right time when working from home, but what about that work computer? Don’t bring it into the living room with you to check your personal email and Facebook groups. Use a personal computer, tablet or phone to keep that separation. Even if you’re “clocked out,” being on that computer may make it tempting to hop on and check work emails. Leave it in the work space!
It’s important to nourish our senses such as the eyes and reduce constant stimulation for the brain and nervous system. We can do eye qi gong or drink a calming tea such as tulsi easily from home. As an adaptogen, Tulsi tea helps in maintaining normal levels of cortisol hormone in the body that is known as the stress hormone. It can lower the levels of cortisol, leaving you stress-free. Goji berries also nourish the eyes from the Chinese Medicine materia medica.
Never Work in the Bed
You’re at home, so why wouldn’t you want to check your work emails in bed? If you’re guilty of this, you’re not alone. A study in the Wall Street Journal showed that 80% of young professionals admit to working from the bed.
It’s so important to avoid this. You totally eliminate any separation between work and personal life. If you like to check social media in the morning, great! Don’t bring work into it until you’re up and ready for the day.
Not only that, but studies show that working in the bed can affect your sleep quality. If you bring your laptop to bed with you, staring at a screen can hinder your body’s ability to make melatonin.
In Chinese Medicine we nourish and detoxify at night so the more screen time closer to bed, the more the body will go to bed in a depleted state. Even if there are no sleep issues, over time this and overwork can deplete blood in Chinese Medicine physiology.
Get a Mini Treadmill
It can be easy to forget about exercise altogether when there’s no reason to leave the house. Purchasing a mini treadmill for under your standing desk can help switch up the stagnant feeling of sitting in an office chair. It’s not just good for changing it up, either. A study showed that replacing one hour of the workday with walking on a treadmill burned an extra 100-130 calories! If you can’t do this, you may consider putting on your favorite music and taking a “shake break.” You can even improve mental focus, give it a try here.
Purchase a Standing Desk
We love to sit as much as the next person, but spending all that time sitting down is not great for your body. A standing desk gives you the option to adjust the desk higher or lower for sitting or standing. That way, you have a choice and aren’t confined to your ergonomic office chair. Standing desks are a great way to switch it up during the workday, and your back will thank you.
Sitting for too long can lower the number of calories you burn and potentially increase your risk of diabetes, as well. Investing in a standing desk is a great way to get a different perspective while working remotely. As we have heard, sitting is the new smoking. Movement is key in Chinese Medicine to keep all the channels of the body flowing and each organ system supported. If you can’t go to the gym for a workout, consider movement at home or breathwork practice.
Have a Coworking Session
Do you have friends who also work remotely? Have them over for a co-working session. Bonus points if you alternate between places to give yourself a fresh location once a week. Now, this might not work for everyone. If you’re easily distracted, it may not be for you.
Coworking with friends, however, could have similar benefits to coworking spaces. Working with friends may not provide you with networking opportunities and new connections, but it can help you be more productive. Try working together at each other’s houses, or even a coffee shop.
In Chinese Medicine we always want to support the Heart organ system. One aspect of the heart organ system is associated with joy and connectedness. In modern society, an illness is no longer considered just the problems of the physical aspect of the body. In fact, the emotional state of the patient can be a contributing factor, if not the primary cause, of their illness. To cultivate, energy of the Heart, a positive outlook is best and the goals of seeking peace and tranquility, compassion reign.
Don’t Do Your Laundry During the Day
Multitasking can be a great skill, but it can easily turn into distraction and procrastination working remotely. Try to stay away from doing at-home tasks during work hours to stay focused. We don’t mean you shouldn’t take breaks, but it’s very easy to get wrapped up scrubbing the floor boards when you have a deadline the next morning for work.
Multi-tasking burns through qi which impacts flow to one or many organ systems. Also don’t forget to pause for a lunch break as our digestive system is key in Eastern Medicine and chewing is important!
Break Your Time Into Chunks
Time management when working remotely can be a challenge. One of the best things you can do for yourself is break your time into chunks. This is especially handy for those working in a field where you are task switching several times a day.
Breaking up your time will also help the day feel less monotonous. Set aside certain time for projects and use it to focus. Then, take a break and move onto something else. Once you get into the habit you’ll realize it will help you keep your sanity during a busy work week.
We can work according to the eastern medicine body clocks. These body clocks tell us when actions can be important such as eating within a certain time frame or why energy can vary throughout the day.
Consider a break during 3-5pm in the afternoon for some breathwork. Yogic breath such as Nadi Shodhana/Alternate Nostril Breathing will be more helpful than a sugary snack.
To sum it up, keeping remote work interesting after doing it for a couple years can be challenging. We still stand by taking walks and multiple breaks throughout the day, but if we are going to continue working from home we’ve got to stay balanced. Consider how you feel over the course of your workday. Notice your energy or if it slumps. You may want to consider what times of day your concentration is best. When are you most and least creative? How do you feel before or after lunch? Try out these tips and see what works for you!