We can tell another transition is underway with work in Houston as rush hour and traffic build. People are returning to the office to work part of the week. When we were only working from home, we had more time because of the lack of commute. We also could wedge in a small piece of self care within the day or week. During this transition, or as your work becomes a hybrid model of home and office, it’s a good time to assess and prioritize self care.
Assess and prioritize
Acknowledge that a variety of feelings are going to emerge during the transition back to work. There may be increased anxiety and sadness. Give yourself time and a way to process these emotions. While we settled into work from home, we are now settling back to work at the office.
Work from home has given us options. Many of us have added walking mid day or specific times for exercise because of available time. Online grocery shopping for healthy snacks and meal delivery have become more of the norm. Decide what is non-negotiable for you. There is less time available because your commute takes time away. Know what is so important to your self care that you must include this in your day and week. Knowing your priorities sets clear boundaries for you.
Baseline for self care
Bedtime is always going to be the first step for self care. Sleep schedule consistency for you and your family are critical. Factors have interrupted our sleep patterns to the point there is a name for this, “coronasomnia.” If you struggle with this, here are a few tips. Remember to set up a central station for charging devices and placing these in their chargers an hour before bed or at 8 pm every night. Create a bedtime ritual that could include a hot bath, reading before bed and cooling down your space. If you feel you have not had enough time for yourself during the day, set aside an hour before bed as time for you to do what you love whether that is a hobby or other pampering.
Organizing as self care
Spend time on organizing for your return to work. Being organized helps us feel confident and take charge. Review your wardrobe and see what’s working now. Work attire puts us in the work frame of mind. Plan your morning and evening routines with respect to the time for your commute. Refresh the organizing in your office. Digitize to access projects, materials and resources at both locations. Plan a weekly time to reset all your organizing for maintenance.
Start adjusting your routine even while you are at home. Prep meals ahead, plan lunches and move your routine into what you will be doing on those days you commute. It will help you problem solve ahead of time.
Oops are going to happen. It may be that specific daily self care does not happen every day or falters entirely. Look for balance as well as obstacles. Is there a creative way to find the time for that activity? Is that obstacle because of lack of preparation? Don’t give up on your self care however be realistic about the time you have and where you spend it.
Adding in time for joy
Laughter and joy have been in short supply while we worked through the pandemic. Now is the time to amp that up. Joy looks like a lot of small things like birds singing or a rainbow. It also feels like sleeping in on Saturday or journaling. Find small things that bring you joy to incorporate in your week as a reminder of your resilience and self care. It may be necessary for you to pause to acknowledge this joy because we are getting so busy again.
Self care is one of the biggest positive take aways from our pandemic time. Prioritizing ourselves and being empathetic with our colleagues brought us through the difficulties we faced. Thinking through your self care will help you create a new system for recharging and self care.