How to Work from Home Effectively

After hearing that so many are struggling working from home, I wanted to share some basic tips. Many of you did not choose to work from home but were sort of forced into it as times have changed so quickly. Many of you are also expected to homeschool your children in addition to working from home which is an entirely different topic for a different day.

The most important thing to remember is to give yourself some grace as expectations placed on us by others and by ourselves seem to have changed and increased. Keep kindness toward yourself in mind and I hope these tips help!

  • Space: Designate a specific place where you will work from. Whether it is a separate office, bedroom, or place at the kitchen table, do your very best to keep all work activities and materials in this place only.
  • Time: Develop a daily schedule just like you do (or should) when you are at your office with specific blocks of time where you are working and are in your “office space.” During the time you are at your workspace, you are at work, when you are scheduled to be off for lunch, break or for the evening, you will walk away and leave work behind. Do not take it with you and do not answer the phone or respond to work emails.
  •  Family/Roommate Boundaries: Communicate where and when you will be “at work” with the people you live with and ask that they respect that time and not interrupt you unless it is an emergency, or be specific about how they can contact you with needs during this time. You may even develop some type of sign that says “do not disturb” or “work in progress.”
  • Get Dressed: It is really difficult to get in work mode in your pajamas, get dressed, even if it is a shirt you would wear to work and sweatpants (my go to). Engage in at least part of your normal “getting ready” routine to tell your brain “it’s time to work.”
  • Move Around: It is easy to sit in one place all day (if you don’t have kids) when working from home which results in poor posture, poor eating habits and allows stress to build up in the body. Incorporate time to get up and stretch, move, eat, and get outside if at all possible, into your daily schedule.
  • Solo Self-Care Time: If you do live with others especially, but either way, set a period of time where you are alone and can engage in any number of relaxation or wellness activities to help keep you centered. This could be taking a bath, reading, exercise, meditation, etc.
  • Bonus Tip– EVERYONE HATES INTERNET MEETINGS: Try your best to manage stress when it comes to trouble with Zoom meetings, or coworker’s odd behavior, or your dog making an awkward appearance. Do some deep belly breathing and tell yourself that everyone struggles with these equally.

Remember that this is a major adjustment and it takes some work to manage your mindset around turning work on and off when you are at home. It will get better and it will be okay.

and Wayfinder Contributor Cherie Paller

Questions to Ask Your Potential Therapist

Deciding to seek therapy is a big decision, but an important one. Once you have made this decision, finding a great therapist is the next step, and it can be rather overwhelming. Research shows that the most important factor for success in therapy is the relationship between the therapist and patient/client.

Many therapists advertise a free phone/video consultation so they can hear a bit about why you are seeking therapy and if it is an issue they feel qualified to help you with. This is also an opportunity for them to share how they might help you, and what their therapeutic style is to see if you might be a good fit together. These are some questions you might ask in that initial consultation.

When you are looking on Psychology Today, or google, or any directory to find a therapist and find someone that looks like they might be helpful to you, but they do not advertise a free consultation, you can call and ask them for a few minutes of their time to ask these questions. It could save you from going through the process of completing a bunch of paperwork and meeting with someone who is not a good fit.

In General:

  • Are you licensed to practice therapy (LPC, LCSW, LMFT, PsyD, PhD) in the state we are currently located in?
  • What style of therapy do you practice?
  • How would you help me with ______________(anxiety, trauma, stress management, whatever you are seeking support for) and do you have experience working with this particular issue?

For Telehealth (Online Therapy):

  • What software do you use for online appointments and is it HIPAA compliant?

HIPAA is basically a policy/law that is in place on a federal level to ensure that healthcare providers and facilities protect patient/client information and allow you to have access to your medical records. It is important to choose a provider who keeps this in mind and protects your information when you are doing online therapy.

  • Do you have any specific training in teletherapy?

**A good rule of thumb is that if you find yourself wanting to tell them more, it might be a good fit. If you feel comfortable and that you are being heard and understood, that is a great sign. If not, thank them for their time and share that you are planning to keep looking.

Good luck in your search. Therapy is challenging, but so very worth it in the end!

Are You Feeling Stuck in a Winter Funk?

I usually handle winter pretty well. I decide to live in a place where we have an extremely long and often cold and snowy winter, and I choose to have a positive attitude about it. However, by the time the end of January, into February, I start to notice the weather wearing on me. Here are some ideas of things you might do to mix things up:

  • Get out of your regular, daily routine. Something as simple as trying a new restaurant or driving a different way home to check out a new view can make a big difference.
  • Rearrange your furniture in either a specific room, or even your whole house. For extra points, check out Feng Shui techniques to balance energy even better!
  • Try adding 15-30 minutes of relaxation/meditation/mindfulness/yoga relaxing at either the beginning of your day, or at the end to reduce worries or sadness and increase a sense of calm and self-awareness. If these things are challenging, go to a class!
  • Exercise! If you are anything like me, winter is hibernation season, but there is something to be said for “if you can’t beat em’, join em’. Try a new winter activity from snowshoeing to ice fishing, there is something for everyone, just bundle up!
  • Make a plan with a friend/friends. We tend to see other people less in the winter. If you want to stay in, invite them over for hot chocolate (or hot toddies) and game night.
  • Get out of town. Whether your budget allows for a beach vacation, or a day at hot springs in a nearby town, a change of location can help with perspective.
  • Get a massage, try acupuncture, reiki, anything else that sparks your interest as these treatment modalities can make a big difference in mood!

Hang in there, only another 3 or 4 months to go until it’s warm again!