With so many of us having to WFH for the first ever (and en masse!), it can feel quite overwhelming (as if refreshing your favourite news site - or five - every 90 seconds wasn’t paralysing enough…). Together with our in-house experts and Chantal di Donato, a yoga teacher, holistic health coach and nutritional advisor, we’re sharing our top tips on how to thrive in this time of adversity.
Routine is everything.
Waking up (and going to sleep for that matter) at the same time everyday is key to keeping your sleep/wake cycle on track, and therefore setting your body up for the most optimal way of functioning during the day, including staying energised and feeling properly awake. If your bedroom doesn’t benefit much from natural daylight, or if you’re a black-out curtain devotee, not having to get up to catch your bus or train can encourage poor habits such as snoozing repeatedly. Using a sleep/wake-up light can help you feel much more at the ready to jump straight out of bed! Dawn simulation prepares your body for the wake-up call before you know it and waking up with a brightening sunrise has been shown to improve the quality of awaking, mood and energy levels.
You’re up: now what?
If you’re a commuter, you’ve very likely just gained an hour or two a day by switching to working from home. Rather than frantically starting to devote these extra pockets of time to do extra work, commit to enriching your routine with grounding and energising practices instead, such as meditation and dynamic yoga. “Many teachers and practitioners are switching to offering remote access to their classes to help their students maintain a semblance of normality”, says Chantal. “You can check in with your favourite instructor or view my schedule of live classes I’m running via Zoom. I think connecting with others that way comes with a greater sense of belonging, as well as supporting your community”. After your practice, shower and get dressed to make a clear switch from the ‘at-home-you’ to the ‘at-work-you’.
Keep the ‘at-work-you’ motivated and happy.
Chantal’s top advice is to keep your workspace pleasant and soothing. “Try and rearrange your desk so that it’s near a nice big window or, failing that, switch on one of Lumie’s bright light therapy lamps for a couple of hours every day, such as Vitamin L, to help you stay productive and positive. If you’ve got an aromatherapy diffuser, essential oils like rosemary can help reduce stress levels, boost mental activity, encourage clarity and relieve fatigue. And if you are not distracted by soft background classical music, research shows it simulates our focus too!”
Having to limit your exposure to natural daylight can be tricky not just for your mood and motivation; it can also shake up your Vitamin D stores! So, if you haven’t been doing this already, be sure to take at least 10 micrograms (mcg) of Vitamin D each day.
Think about it: at the office, you’d get up and make a cup of tea for everybody here and there, have a little chat with a colleague in the kitchen, in turn clearing your mind without even realising it several times a day. Back at your desk (armed with a cuppa!), you’re more likely to feel fresher and ready to focus again. Taking regular and actual breaks may be a bit tricky at home. In particular, if you’re sharing a house with flatmates or family members, leaving your dedicated workspace to take a break may be like opening a can of worms! Be sure to establish boundaries and agree a schedule of breaks with your near and dear ones (if you’re not totally self-isolating) in the kitchen, your rear garden or on a balcony, perhaps for lunch or an afternoon cup of tea and snacks. On that note, Chantal recommends that you make a point of eating healthy meals and snacking away from your desk. “Take your lunch break and enjoy a proper meal now that you have access to your kitchen and fridge! Nothing better than a hearty, plant-based meal to keep your energy levels up.” And if an afternoon slump hits you, recharge your batteries naturally with a short burst of bright light therapy; it will zap you back into action in no time! Finally, Chantal reminds us to drink plenty of herbal teas in the afternoon: “Staying hydrated is a key element of a positive mindset as we flush the body and keep things moving with water and herbal teas and turmeric lattes.”
Aaand switch off.
“Logout from you work at a normal time and make time to prepare a nice dinner, enjoy time off in the evening, especially as you are recuperating your commute time!”, says Chantal. She recommends you try and limit your exposure to your phone and other blue-light emitting devices after dinnertime. “If you’ve been keeping up with this daily routine, it's likely that you're feeling better and have more energy, as well as more time – so now there’re none of those *I’m too tired* excuses to not read that book, or learn a new skill.” Rather than engaging in what can often be some casual after-work mind-numbing activity (read: Netflix every day), switch off your mobile, pop your low-blue Lumie Bodyclock light on at your bedside table, do some breathing exercises in bed, and settle in with a good book before dosing off to the 'Lumie sunset'.