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Thoughts on how to serve yourself while off work

Being at home and out of the normal routine of work can be challenging and unfamiliar. You have space and time to do things differently. And if you don’t yet know how to do that, it’s OK because you will!

Here are some things to think about to set you off on the right footing while being at home.

We humans are creatures of habit. Work structure can provide our habits and routines,

including the 9 to 5, the Monday to Friday, the breakfast, lunch and dinner and all the work

routines that fit within. When not in work, routine can go and the couch and lazy mornings

may seem inviting. Short term this can feel luxurious. But long term, to be our best we need

routine and habit to give us a sense of self, place, perspective and achievement.

How to create new habits: Create structure by imagining your day ahead. Define all of your

activities and their parts - the good, the great, the indulgent, the mundane, the things you

don’t want to do. Chunk them up and plan when you’ll do them. Then, as you move through

the day, you can tick them off, gain a sense of progress and see what good habits you may

want to form.

Rethink how you perceive time. We constantly set boundaries around time: a 10-minute

appointment, a 45-minute lunch, X time for commute, 40 hours a week. These time

structures are based around our social and working norms, but at times like this those

norms and boundaries are null and void.

A mindset to try on: In the short term, our time is ours to use as we wish. We can indulge in

time, enjoy its space, take longer, be less pressured, be easier, lighter. There is no longer a

rush and we can take everything in our stride in a way that serves us well. Now more than

ever, we have time to enjoy, and serve ourselves well.

Take the opportunities that this change brings. You have been presented with an

opportunity and this change could be seen as a gift. You now have space to do the things

you’ve been wanting to do, such as the hobby that you never get round to trying, the online

learning that’s been on your mind or the volunteering you’ve been meaning to do. Not to

mention the friends you’ve been wanting to reconnect with or the relaxing you dream of

and just generally enjoying life more.

So, what have you always wanted to do, but haven’t yet been able to give yourself the

permission or the space to? Could now be the time?

Nurture your connections. We have an innate need for connection; to be part of

something and connected to people and the world around us. Even if we’re happy in our

company, at some point reaching out becomes important. We must connect so that

isolation doesn’t build.

Some potential things you can do to build connection:

Connect to people that are important to you. Reach out by phone or video link or even take

time to write. Be proactive and nurture the connections with others around you.

Connect with the environment around you. We are part of a world that is so much bigger

than us. Get outside when you can, observe the trees and the greenery, hear the sounds,

take in the air and connect to the world.

Look after your mind. There may be a lot you cannot control right now. Many experience

stress because they expend energy thinking about the things they can’t control. The truth

being that the only thing we can control is our mind, our body and our response.

If you find yourself frustrated by what you can’t do, what has already happened, or the

situation you are in, ask yourself: what can I do? What can I do to serve myself well moving

forward from here? What can I do (that’s better) right now?

Build your internal resources to cope with the changes

One proven way to build your internal resilience and resourcefulness is through good sleep,

mindfulness and meditation. Neuroscience tells us that 40 minutes of meditation is similar

neurologically to four hours’ sleep. Don’t worry if you don’t feel you know how to do it as

there are many free apps to teach you and it’s actually a perfectly natural thing to do.

To build your resourcefulness and resilience meditate at least once a day for 10 minutes at a

time. Download Headspace or Insight timer for lots of great meditations.

Look after your body. We inherently know that exercise is good. The mind and body are one interlinked system and the happy chemicals and positive impact of exercise on the mind is well documented. We must exercise during this time to equip ourselves with good physical


Exercise for at least half an hour a day, getting your heart rate up if it’s safe to. Doing that

with family members or online communities can be even more fun. Check out YouTube or

Facebook for groups on your chosen activity.

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