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Whoever said, “May you live in interesting times” is getting their wish! Many of us are juggling work, schooling our children, and managing the stress of the pandemic all within the confines of our homes. Here are some tips for managing all those new aspects of our interesting times.

Making the transition to work from home can be challenging. Here are some suggestions:

Find your spot. Find a designated spot for your “office” that’s away from household distractions AND allows you to “go to work” and “leave work”. Ideally this will be a place where you can set up your laptop and workpapers where they won’t be disturbed and you don’t have to clean them up each day. This may take some experimenting with various places until you find your Goldilocks spot that’s just right, but keep trying – it’s worth it!

Get outside. Consider taking a walk in the middle of the day to get some fresh air and clear your head (a good suggestion even if you’re working in the office!).

Stay connected. It’s easy to feel isolated, especially if you work from home for multiple back-to-back days. Besides communicating by email, pick up the phone to actually talk to other people, or connect over videoconference.

Set boundaries. Have designated work times and be sure others understand it’s no different than when you’re working in the office. If you allow distractions, they’ll take over unless you set clear boundaries. And once the workday is done, walk away. Maybe even turn off your phone and don’t check emails until the next day. Aim for at least one full 24 hour period each week when you leave work completely.

Get dressed. Sure, it might sound fun to work while lounging around in your PJs all day, but your mental health will be better if you actually get dressed and ready for the day. Not to mention that you don’t want to show up with bedhead on your videoconferences. Shoes, however, are optional.

Stay safe online. The folks at SANS Security Awareness have put together their “Top 5 Tips for Working from Home Securely”, which can be accessed here. It’s important to make your home network as secure as you can, and following these tips will get you started.

Turn off the news channel. Remember that bad news sells, and the news channel is trying to keep up their advertising revenue. You can check in once or twice during the day to be sure you don’t miss something important, but don’t hang out there – it’s a downward spiral that’s not good for your mental health.

And finally, be grateful. While this new normal is challenging, it’s the best way to keep our communities safe. Earlier generations worried about smallpox, polio, and the plague. Our friends in other countries have had to shelter from bombings in the past. This is nothing, and we have much to be thankful for!