If you work independently, either as a freelancer or entrepreneur, you know that the work from home life isn’t always as glamorous as it seems.
Just as with any job, there are challenges to overcome daily. We often feel isolated, we face many distractions, and we’re tasked with motivating ourselves every minute of every day.
Without some healthy habits and routines in place, our mental, physical, and emotional well-being may suffer.
The following mindful habits have helped me maintain my focus as well as a positive attitude as a work at home blogger, and I’m convinced they will help you, too.
Related post: Morning Rituals for a Location Independent Lifestyle
1. Wake up early
There are few things more satisfying in any work at home employee’s day than getting things checked off the to-do list while most of the world is still asleep.
For this reason, waking up early every day is an absolute must.
For me, this means setting an alarm to go off at 7 am, giving me enough time to go for a run, shower, and eat a leisurely breakfast all before 8 o’clock.
At that point, I slowly start in on my to-do list, knowing I have the entire day still stretched out before me. Completing even one simple task before 9 in the morning makes me feel like a goddamn rock star, and that confidence spills over into the rest of my day.
Waking up early allows me to feel productive as soon as my feet hit the floor, and that kind of momentum just can’t be stopped.
So do yourself a favor and start waking up earlier, even if it’s just a half hour to start. If you’re not a morning person, you’ll quickly become one the more you practice, and I think once you’re one of us, you’re going to like the way it feels.
2. Make the bed
This seemingly trivial act is actually a mindfulness practice that can have an enormous impact on your day. By making your bed first thing in the morning, you’re essentially setting the stage for excellence.
Attention to life’s little details is a great way to practice discipline, and discipline is a critical skill for any work at home employee.
But since this Naval Admiral can say it better than I ever could, you should just listen to him instead:
3. Eat healthy meals
Working at home means I have the luxury (yes, I consider cooking at home a luxury!) of eating well for every meal. As an ex-dietitian and a vegetarian, it’s far easier for me to eat in a way that makes me feel good when I do so at home.
And this isn’t to say I’m whipping up fancy meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In fact, most of my meals are pretty simple. All it means is that I try to be mindful of what goes into my body and only keep healthy items in my fridge.
Take a look in my kitchen at any given moment and you’ll find a variety of vegetables and salad fixings, fruit and granola bars for snacking, and a towering assortment of teas to choose from (once I’ve had my fill of French press coffee, that is).
4. Move your body
Sitting is the new smoking, didn’t you hear?
When you don’t even need to leave the house to get to the office and then proceed to sit in front of a computer all day, it’s all the more important to get in your steps and any other type of movement that you can, but not just for your physical health, either.
Since adding regular exercise back into my routine, I’ve found better mental clarity and focus to be two of the most obvious results. I get more done, I feel better about myself–both for taking care of myself and for the aforementioned getting more done–and I just feel really good.
There’s so much to be said for exercise, and the physiological effects go far beyond heart health and boosted energy.
Whether you go for a walk around your neighborhood, ride your bike to the grocery store, roll out your mat for a yoga session, or fall into a pool of sweat after completing a round of Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide, just make sure working out is a part of your daily ritual.
Your body and mind will thank you.
Getting physical in my Deco Crop pant, a sustainable design by prAna.
5. Don’t dress like a slob
I used to live by the saying “No pants, no problem,” but I’ve come to realize that when I look the part, I’m better equipped to play the part.
In other words, when I dress for success, I feel my demeanor change, too, and I treat my work at home job like an office job–you know, one with standards of appearance and expectations of productivity.
If, on the other hand, I hang around at home in my pajamas all day, I tend to act like I’m not actually at work. My productivity suffers, and then I get irritated with myself. It’s a vicious cycle I don’t like to let myself fall into–at least, not anymore.
It doesn’t mean I have to put literal pants on, but it does mean I have to take a shower, put on real clothes that would be socially acceptable outside of the house, and even do my hair and makeup.
And when I do put literal pants on, you’d better believe they’re comfy ones–like a pajama pant that still looks polished enough to wear to the store, or to the airport on a travel day. I’m also making a concerted effort to choose clothing that is sustainably and mindfully produced, using recycled, organic, and fair trade certified materials.
Which leads me to my next point (and my next pant)…
6. Go outside
I’ll be honest here–if I don’t need anything from the grocery store and my trash can doesn’t smell like farts, I could very easily not step foot outside for weeks at a time.
I love my apartment, it’s way cooler in here than it is outside, and when I do visit the outside world, I have this bad habit of spending money that I don’t need to spend. Not to mention I live with my best friend and Netflix exists, so I really don’t see any good reason to leave.
This would be a mistake.
Because you know what is outside? Fresh air. The sound of birds chirping. Vitamin D production. Creative inspiration. A new chance to be mindful around every corner–to really pay close attention to the details of the world around you.
Even the shortest jaunt into the world beyond my walls is enough to give me a jolt of renewed motivation.
So take short breaks every hour or so and fill your lungs with nature’s good stuff. Because you know what they call someone who looks at the same four white walls all day every day?
Cruising around downtown in my Uptown Pant, a recycled design by prAna.
7. Honor your workspace
Your home workspace should be sacred–a place that is yours and yours alone, and a place that inspires creative thought and imbues calming vibes. A place that promotes mindfulness and allows you to get down to business.
Decorate your space in a way that feels good to you. In a way that makes you feel energized. In a way that makes you feel imaginative and productive, and allows your artistry to flow like a waterfall.
A few things I suggest:
- Add plants to your workspace
- Sit where there is plenty of natural light
- Add your favorite scent with candles, incense sticks, or essential oils
- Keep your desk free from clutter
- Keep your workspace separate from the rest of the house and don’t allow others in while you work
8. Make socializing a priority
Given how easy it is to stay at home where you rarely see the light of day, much less the faces of other human beings, I urge you to break away from your hermitage every once in awhile and make time to see people.
It doesn’t have to be every day, but it should be made a priority. And no, talking to people through a computer screen does not count.
Whether you take an hour at midday to have lunch with a friend or spend a Friday night at happy hour with a big group, socializing is more important than ever when you don’t see anyone throughout the workday.
You’ll get fresh new ideas and new perspectives, but most importantly, you’ll take your mind off work for a short while. It’s important to take breaks and disconnect so you can come back with renewed enthusiasm.
If you can’t trust yourself to remember, set dates with friends each time you’re together and lock them into your calendar. Plan ahead, and then follow through.
How do you maintain your emotional wellbeing when working from home?
For a limited time, The Sweetest Way readers can save 15% on all orders from prAna‘s line of ethical, sustainably produced clothing by using the discount code MHMLD15. Let mindful choices guide your day, starting with the clothes you put on in the morning. This offer is valid until October 3rd.
prAna generously provided me with a few pieces to sample; the opinions expressed here are those of The Sweetest Way.