Never did I think I would be able to adjust to working from remotely so quickly during a pandemic. I’m not a morning person, never have been, never will be and that’s ok. I’ll take a late night over early morning any day. When my employer finally announced we could work from home mid-March, I felt a sense of relief. I could hunker down at home while I worked. This is a privilege many still don’t have and I will forever be thankful for it.
Before COVID, my employer allowed us to work from home a certain amount of days a month. It was a little something but I still hoped for more remote flexibility. On those days at home, I’d sleep in two hours later and wake up feeling so much more refreshed. There are many benefits to working from home but the one I am most grateful for is my improved mental health.
No More Commuting. On a good day my commute was 45 minutes to an hour one way. Living in the suburbs of NYC traffic can be insane. My stress levels were already high before I even stepped foot in the office!
Now I have two hours back to myself each day. The moment my eyes open in the morning, time isn’t spent getting ready for work and commuting. Now I can sleep in later, wake up, enjoy time with my dog, make an iced latte, eat breakfast and actually enjoy it! I gained more time back to myself to do what I enjoy doing.
Working Out. Before it was either work out in the early still dark hours of the morning or after an hour of commuting when I got home. Now, I get to work out on my lunch break when I have the most energy. I’ve created a nice routine of workouts for myself during the week. I mix it up between cycling classes and strength.
It’s nice having a midday sweat session to let go of the work chaos. My lunch breaks before never felt very useful, I couldn’t spend them doing anything I really wanted to. If the weather was nice, I’d go for walks while listening to a podcast or audiobook but it wasn’t that relaxing.
Being More Mindful. As soon as I sign out of work now, I open up either the Calm or Shine app (both great meditation apps which I highly recommend!) and take ten minutes to unwind. This has been the biggest mental health benefit for me! I used to dread the drive home so much that I’d run out of the office at 5 on the dot because the later I left, the longer I’d sit in line just to get out of the parking lot!
Now as soon as I sign out of work I’m mentally done for the day. It’s been like a weight off my shoulders. I knew I was stressed before about the commuting but I never realized how badly it was affecting my mental health.
Healthier Eating Habits. It’s so much easier to put together healthy meal optionswhen I’m home all day. Throwing something together mid-day is way easier when I have access to my own kitchen. Ordering out for lunch has stopped and I haven’t gone to happy hour since March. My easy go to lunch has been fried eggs and avocado gluten free toast.
More Time for Reading. Another perk to having more hours in the day back to myself is more time to sit down and read! At the start of COVID, I was too stressed out to really enjoy a book but around June I started enjoying it again. Reading has always been an escape for me and sometimes after working all day in an office, then commuting home, then doing things around the house, I was just too tired to really dive into a book but now…I can finish a book in two days!
Hopefully, when this pandemic ends, working remotely will continue. I hope companies are realizing the benefits to not only themselves but to their employees’ mental health. I don’t know how many companies will care or if mine will let us continue working remotely full time but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Working remotely during these times has been an amazing privilege. One that should be acknowledged. Many have been let go from their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet. Many don’t have the option to work remotely and need to physically go into their jobs every day during a pandemic. Please social distance and wear a mask when you can’t.
Do you feel like working remotely is better for your mental health?