It is okay to spend turbulent time just being.

Maybe this break from the world is exactly what you need: sleep in and enjoy yourself, spend more time with your family, take a second in the morning to get a cup of your favorite tea and look out your window without the background noise of a podcast, recent news or Instagram stories. However, in case of a struggle, we have got you covered! You don't have to write your breakthrough novel and get in the shape of your lifetime.
While there is a ton of information circling around the web about remote work, it is important to say a couple of words about staying sane. Even after some time, staying within the four walls of your room can feel challenging, almost claustrophobic. While you do not have to try and turn your life into a perfectionist heaven, there are some simple modifications that you can do, to reduce mental clutter and lower anxiety.

The biggest thing is: do not judge yourself if it all seems too much and you struggle to handle it right away. The point is to find a balance of discipline and routine vs fun and engagement, to create a sense of balance in your life. It is vital to create daily routines that keep us in shape mentally, physically and spiritually. One helpful tip for that, is working on some long-term goals with clear daily activities that will help you reach them.
Be that a morning HIIT session, daily evening 20 minutes yoga via a free app or YouTube, affirmations or guided meditations – staying at home really can be fulfilling.

There was a research conducted during a SARS quarantine in Canada in 2003 about the mental issues (Source) . It turned out that boredom, isolation and frustration were the highest reported struggles. So, it is important to keep:

- Connected with other people;

- Entertained and occupied;

- Fulfilling your wishes and needs.

Let's separate these things into five elephants and brainstorm how to befriend each one.

It is important to be aware of your needs, so that you can take care of them one by one and avoid unnecessary stress. You can go from very basic needs like getting enough sleep, staying hydrated and eating properly, then looking for something to do for a job and for fun, then look for socialization opportunities (super important) and so on.
Let's start with the basics – food. It is just too easy to keep snacking throughout the day mindlessly, eating away your boredom, anxiety and other emotions. Do not despair: there are approaches that can help.

■ Use this opportunity to cook more; you can even pick a theme for your daily or weekly meals, such as Mediterranean, Icelandic or Mexican food.

■In case of a unplanned snack expedition to the kitchen, try to brew some tea: different teas have specific influence on the mind and body, so you can even find a new hobby

■ Be kind to yourself if things become too hectic, and get a delivery instead.

It is vital to manage your energy within the four walls. Depending on how introverted or extraverted you are, look for tools to balance your condition.
■ Feeling overwhelmed? Look for ways to find solitude. You can set up a new office on your terrace, or ask your housemates to leave you alone for an hour.

■ If you are feeling restless, then exercise can help. Yes, yes, you have heard it a million times - but here is the deal, exercise of your choice can be crucial to how you are feeling. Releasing the right hormones and getting the steam out after a long day is a common practice between people working remotely - so think of what you'd like to do and go for it. Yoga, HIIT, dances, bodyweight exercises - there is plenty of online material available to you.

■ Meditation. There are a ton of free and paid sources, and it is important to find one that speaks to your soul (note: even if everybody seems to be using 'Calm' app, it does not mean that it is going to be a pinnacle of meditation for each specific person.) Meditation Oasis is a free resource with custom meditations for any request, be that loneliness, connecting with your inner child or just getting a break from work for 7 minutes.

■ Get therapy if you can – another opportunity to chat and also keep in check with your mental state. Do it especially in the moments when you have trouble sleeping, feel distracted, sad, lonely or disoriented. It also gives an opportunity to look at the situation from a third person, sort of zoom out from your life into the bird's eye view.

Looking for a job?

- Look into tutoring online: students that need to take exams no matter quarantine or not might need some help with English, math or any other field of you expertise. There are also jobs that pay you for reviewing a website or an online product – not a scalable idea, but still a way to get some cash without any experience.

- Look for freelance opportunities, but remember that building a net there can take a lot of time, and in times of crisis it would be wiser to have it just as one of your opportunities – not all of your efforts.

- Learn some hard skills. No matter what your job is, you can look into tech world – it will improve your portfolio even if it is not the main focus of your job. If you are looking for a new career, there are plenty of remote positions in tech, although most of the time they do require some training. For example, Q&A is an accessible profession with good pay and remote positions, and if you have interest in coding and learn several languages– you will most likely never face unemployment again.

Need to set up a home office?

Right, so what to do once you land a job? Make your office spot work for you! For that, you can focus on three things: zone separation, time management and building a routine.

First, do your best to separate your work spot from the rest of the house. It might be tempting to work in your PJ's – and if it works for you, please do so! Most people, however, struggle with it in the long run because they are not able to fully focus or relax. There is no more bus ride from work to home anymore – so make sure you have time to just zone out and unwind, too.

Second, customize your time schedule. One of the most popular approaches to manage your time is Pomodoro – you choose time intervals for your work time and your breaks, then during work time, you can completely focus on the task and in during break time you can get up and do something else completely. It helps, because since there are no more coffee breaks with colleagues or watercooler chats, people tend to overwhelm themselves by sitting there for hours. On the flip side, a set time to work on a particular task motivates you much more than a vague idea of the task in unlimited time. You can also use an app to synchronize several calendars into one if that is what you prefer.

Third, make sure you set up clear communication with your colleagues. Communication is often overlooked, but it is essential to master once you work from home. How do you let them know about your progress? How do you track it without the calls? If you have a client and you are the only one on the team, make weekly reports to them just to keep in touch.

Enough of the structure: once your inner adult is happy, it is time to let your inner kid play. Let loose and have some fun! Cook a hearty meal, paint, make a sculpture out of play-dough, dance just like that. You can also play video games or watch a show, but it definitely helps to do some hand made projects to turn on your parasympathetic system and truly relax. This is a zone free of judgement and any requirements – just let your head rest and your heart shine.
Do not overlook this one – staying at home without conscious efforts to get some socialization can lead to a lot of mental health issues. Find new ways to socialize and connect: Netflix party, Cards Against Humanity, joining an online fitness class on Zoom – it's your call. Just make sure you schedule enough meetups – having a friend is one of the most valuable resources for your health.

Set a time to call your parents and grandparents: that will help both you and them especially. As social media reminds us, 'we are all in this together'.

You can also play multiplayer games with your friends – it creates a space where you do not have to sit face to face, if that is a bit stressful, and creates a context for you to discuss.

Take care of your pet – there is a reason why emotional support animals are allowed practically anywhere – having a fluffy friend by your side gives a boost in happiness in any time. And if you don't have one – adopt one! Many animal shelters are still functioning for adoption, and they post available animals online.

Create space for yourself and people you live with – discuss if someone needs more time, or someone else needs more attention, and try to include everyone's interests to prevent any unnecessary fights.
Sometimes if you do all of the basics for a happy WFH life, there is a point where it seems like the routine is nailed but there is nothing super exciting. This is the time to listen to your deepest desires and see if you can make some of them come true. 'If only I had the time' – well, what if you do now? What would you do? That can be anything from supporting your favorite small business by buying a gift card to watching a theatre play stream online, and yes – you can learn a language and write a novel, only if you really want to, not because this or any other article guilt trips you into doing it.

What to do if you don't know your desires? Our editor-in-chief Verena, shared a practice that can help. It is called 100 wishes - an exercise that helps you find out your life goals. You will need:
- an hour alone
- a pack of sticky notes
- a pen.

Start by writing down all of the things you want on separate sticky notes. It could be as simple as a soda, an ice-cream, a new trench coat - there is no grandiose scale to it, it can be anything. However, you have to keep writing until you reach 100 wishes. After you finish, you can look at all of these wishes and organise them by the time it takes to achieve them: right now, in a week, in a month, in a year, in three years and something that you'd like to achieve through your lifetime. Do this exercise once in half a year - perhaps, this exercise is standing between you dreaming and living your desires.
While writing this article, we have reached out to Dr. Rebecca Brouillette, DC, the owner of North Star Chiropractic in Biddeford, Maine, USA. Dr. Rebecca, as her young patients call her, is meeting patients even now to relieve their symptoms and take care of those in need. Having devoted her life and career to the wellbeing from the inside out, Dr. Brouillette has some sound advice for all of us working from home.

Working remotely can offer many benefits, but with so much of the world being brand new to the «WFH» life, I have also seen many challenges. For my chiropractic patients working remotely I have observed three main concerns: a feeling of isolation, a lack of an at-home ergonomic office set up, and trouble managing work-life balance. With so many of us now working from makeshift dining room table offices, it can be difficult to ensure you are practicing good posture. Then, add out-of-school children to the mix! It is no wonder working parents are struggling to manage both home and work lives.

My best advice for those new to working from home would be to ensure you have a separate, designated office space. Use props such as a yoga block, a shoe box, or a stack of books to lift your computer monitor or laptop to eye level in order to protect your neck. Then, take a towel and fold it a few times until you have a long rectangle. Place this at the back of your seat and sit so that your bottom is on the towel with feet flat on the floor. This will ensure that your pelvis is slightly higher than your knees and encourages proper spinal posture. Be sure to also take a small break every hour to get up and stretch and get some fresh air. Maybe call a friend or family member at this time to ensure you are feeling connected, and to help combat the feeling of confinement. Also, ensure that you have time set aside just for work, and a signal to let your family know 'I'm in focus mode now so I can be more present with you later.' At the end of the work day create a routine, such as tidying up your work space, so you are able to mentally step into family/free time. Consistency is key, so establish daily structure and continue to follow your routine. Finally, during this unprecedented time, know that you are not alone in any of this. Together we will make it through.

Nataliia Weaver

A Letter from Dr. Rebecca
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