Working from Home can be hard at first. It doesn’t have to be.

1. Have an official “work space.”

Not all of us can have a formal office, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a small dedicated “space” to our work area. When I first started working from home in the past, I worked at the dinner table. My mind was always “ready for food,” and yet I was working. It wasn’t the right combination. Don’t do what I did, and try to make actual space. Your coffee table doesn’t count (and it’s not good for your back).

2. Keep up your work relationships.

People who don’t typically work from home can be surprised at how lonely they feel in the beginning. Part of the reason for that is because we all have casual interactions with people when walking by them. They might seem inconsequential at the time, but they do create comradery with your coworkers. Try to keep up with others in some way you’re comfortable. They’re still on your team even though you do not see them every day. 

3. Noise-canceling headphones can help you focus (and save your marriage).

If you live alone, you can find solitude. For all the rest of us who live with others, trying to find a quiet space can be a challenge. Buying some nice ones can be an excuse for the next time you’re on the plane too. That day will come, even if we don’t know when. And that brings me to my next point.

4. Background sounds can help you focus.

Have some music or sounds to help you focus. I use for “brown noise,” which helps me focus. There are music stations, and youtube channels of just nature sounds like rain, the ocean waves, or birds if you like those. Some people like having sounds of a cafe or an actual office in the background. 

5. Try not to do “house work” during your workday. 

I’ve met people that have been so excited to suddenly be working from home thinking they can get so many extra chores done. You might be able to sneak a few extra things in like laundry, but I believe piling on extra work will also lead to burnout. Try to separate your work time with your chores time. 

6. Walk outside or at least open a window.

Walking out of the home may not always be an option, but fresh air can be healthy. Your eyes will thank you.

7. Take official breaks (and that includes lunch).

It’s easy to stay on your computer and not even get up for hours at a time. Hey, you’re at home! Your body needs to stretch, and stepping away from the computer for lunch is an excellent way to do that. 

8. Look away from the computer.

 You have to look at the computer when doing your work, but do you need to have mindless scrolling through social media on your breaks? Give your eyes a rest and look away from the screen to stretch them for at least 20 seconds at a time every 10-20 minutes. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve blinked only to realize I’ve barely moved an eyeball for 30 minutes. I once saw a cartoon that showed a person so happy to finish the workday and be off the screen. The next picture was of the person rushing to their phone screen. 

9. Be comfortable 

When I was in college, I bought a very comfortable office chair since I knew I’d be sitting a lot. That’s what college does to you! It seemed like a lot of money for a college student at the time who would think twice about buying two tacos, but the money was worth it since it’s still working years later. 

10. Try to stay away from the constant news chatter.

It’s too easy to sneak a peek at the news. Try to resist the temptation. While it’s good to be informed, there’s reason to believe that everyone’s anxiety is raised simply because of the volume of news content. Much of the news is not good these days. Hearing the same story over and over won’t help, and it will increase your stress. The purpose of taking a break is to be rejuvenated, and seeing what’s happening in the news can be exhausting. Your mind needs a break too.