Work From Home Blues

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I’m not sure if I shared this information with all of you. I’ve been working from home since March 13th. After I reveal this information immediately, the response is, “Wow, how are you managing that?” Contrary to popular belief, I am an introvert. I know shocker but not necessarily to those who know me personally. I had to learn how to navigate this extroverted world and let me tell you; it’s not easy. My fellow introverts will be able to relate to that last statement. Overall, working from home takes its toll on you regardless if you’re an introvert or not. At some point, you’ll miss your co-workers, not having to work as hard (basically, you’ll feel guilty for putting in less than 100%), the little joys such as happy hour after work, and some shred of normalcy. If your curious about how I overcame the work from home blues, then keep reading. I came up with four steps that have been instrumental to me during this pandemic. Of course, more can be added, and feel free to share them in the comment section below. 

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Update Your Surroundings

Nothing says boring like your uninspiring makeshift office space. If your overall area is dull and in desperate need of a makeover, then make it happen. You can’t be surprised if your brain is in a constant state of depression if your workspace looks like a horror movie (I love horror; btw, this is just an example). I’m a big believer in your surroundings do impact your mood. For you to feel amazing, your workspace needs to be unique to you. Add your favorite things to your work area. For example, travel items, memorabilia items, novelty items, or whatever tickles your fancy. The point of this is to spruce up your workspace and to have you love your new office. Plus, if we’re going to be home for a while, you need to love your new digs.

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Take Productive Breaks

There is this tendency to work like crazy when working from home. I believe subconsciously; we want our employers to know we’re working hard and not wasting time. Unfortunately, what comes with this line of thinking is the lack of awareness to take breaks. I remember countless times during the beginning of the pandemic when I would work past lunchtime. I would look up, and it was 4 o’clock, and I remembered I didn’t have lunch today. Let me tell you those days are OVER! I have a recurring meeting for my lunchtime. Sometimes the time may change, given my workload that day. However, I have lunch every day, as expected. No more thinking I need to get work done because nothing is worth your health. Depending on how the day is going, you made need to take additional 15-minute breaks. If so, don’t be afraid to schedule those times as well. We’re all trying to survive this pandemic the best that we can. Being a workhorse isn’t the wave, so don’t jump on it. 

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Look Into Training

One of the most incredible things about this pandemic is the ability to work on something that we had on the back burner. I know for a fact there has to be a new area you wanted to try or training that you keep shifting from month to month. There’s no time like the present to seize the day! Working on yourself during this time will set you up nicely when either a new project comes up or returning to the office. For example, I recently completed training at work, and now I have an opportunity to work on a new project. If I didn’t take the opportunity to gain this knowledge, then I couldn’t be apart of this new endeavor. You never know what opportunities can arise from taking on new challenges. Even if it doesn’t pay off right away, it can help with adding further details to your resume. Given the current economic climate, the more skills you have, the better. These skills can be the reason why you’re in high demand by employers. Being in a position to demand salary and place of employment is the ultimate goal. 

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Take Your PTO

I understand your response is, “Where am I going?” If that is your first reaction, then you’re missing the entire point. The pandemic may have put a dampen on things travel-wise, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy local activities. Given the extra emphasis that COVID-19 has on mental health, breaks are more critical than ever. Working every week with no breaks is not recommended pandemic or not. Why are you letting this time stop you from enjoying yourself? Take time to spend with family, friends, and, most importantly, with yourself. Taking time away from work will cause you to be more productive once you log back on. Life is stressful enough, so don’t add to it but not taking time off work. Work will be there once you return. You truly aren’t missing anything, so get out there and LIVE!

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I have implemented all four of these steps during the past seven months, which changed my life. I was ready to throw the laptop out the window because, at some point, enough is enough. There’s only so much a person can take with the isolation that working from home can cause. I got to the realization that I missed my co-workers, and we started having virtual lunches. Those lunches were game-changers as it made me feel connected in a small way. That made me realize how much in life we take for granted and how it an instant it can disappear. Hopefully, these tips will help you as you move forward in this new work from home environment. 

Be sure to check out the discussion question below before you go, and I’ll chat with you in the next blog. 

What tips are you using to overcome the work from home blues? 

Dating Challenges

Getting back to dating after years of single hood can be somewhat of a challenge especially if you spent many years coming and going as you please. Once you’re in a relationship those dynamics quickly change and you have to embrace having a partner in your life. I felt vigorous about writing this post because I am currently experiencing this now. One of my dating prospects stated that he was concerned about my ability to include someone in my life. I have been independent for so long that it’s something he will keep in the back of his mind. Honestly, I was a bit shocked to hear this, but at the same time, I appreciate the sincerity. It was time for me to reflect on how I am presenting myself and what I could be saying as well. The messages that I’m putting across could be giving mixed signals that I didn’t anticipate. I would be saying I’m available and unavailable at the same time. That is not what I want, so I need to make some changes in this area. I had to set down with myself and examine what I could be exuding out to others.

The first mixed signal I was giving off was not wanting to give up on my current routine. I am a creature of habit. I would get off work, do my typical after work rituals and be okay with that. However, when you’re dating it is essential to learn to compromise. That is the first example of compromising that many people miss entirely. If you can’t compromise with making time to meet up for dates, then it’s not a good indication of starting a relationship. In my mind, I would instead make time when I’m not exhausted from work as I want to make a good impression. The other person doesn’t view it that way and thinks I’m not interested in dating. I prefer to plan dates on the weekend and days when I don’t have to work. On those days I’m more alert and present. Now I understand that this doesn’t come across the way I think it should. It’s a better idea to explain a little more about your thought process. Some jobs are more demanding than others so maybe dates during the week won’t work. It’s best to communicate and find ways to compromise that works best for everyone. Otherwise, people will come up with their own opinions, and it can impact a potential relationship.

Another mixed signal is that my plate is full in life and that I don’t have room for a partner. When my dates ask what my interests are I thought it was a great thing that I have so many things that I like. To my surprise, I come across as having too much going on and not enough room for a relationship. I even had one guy tell me that I come across as too independent and he doesn’t know what role a man could play in my life. I had male friends tell me that men like to feel needed and if that doesn’t occur they typically will not entertain a relationship. Now that I’ve been made aware of it I try my best to make sure to state that I want to incorporate my hobbies and interest with my partner. That way potential suitors don’t feel left out and that I don’t want to intertwine my life with theirs. Dating is all about could you see yourself potentially with someone, and if they aren’t presenting themselves as a candidate, it’s a turnoff. In the future, I need to be more mindful of what I’m saying as not to scare off my soulmate.

The last mixed signal is related to communication styles and being adaptive to them. In my current job, I talk a lot and often for the whole day. Of course, once I get home, I want to take a break and not be on the phone. Depending on the day I had I will want to talk more than other days. However, when you’re dating someone or trying to get to know someone communication is essential. The problem I have is at times I don’t want to be on the phone for hours. I struggle with trying to get someone to understand that because they take it as I’m not interested in them. Then I’ll try to speak with them anyway when I didn’t want to talk, and it sets a wrong impression. I try to explain why but sometimes they believe I’m making excuses not to communicate.

Another thing is adapting to the need for video chatting. I noticed many guys love to do it, but it’s cumbersome at times. Who wants to hold the phone for hours? I get it especially with online dating people want to make sure they aren’t involved in a catfish situation. However, there should be a compromise between video chat, texting and phone calls. Depending on someone’s day it can be easier to use another form of communication. I feel that I adapt pretty well to other people’s communication style even though I don’t always feel the same in return. I need to do a better job of explaining the nature of my career, so guys don’t think I’m blowing them off. I may have experienced a long day at work, and I feel like being in a mood to text only, and then tomorrow we can video chat. I have to do a better job of setting expectations around communication and compromising more often.

Dating already comes with its’ set of challenges as you learn to adapt to the other person’s expectations. You also have to be open and honest about what you’re expecting as well. Communication is vital as it solves about 90% of the problems that people face today. To overcome challenges, you must pay attention when they come up and correct them. Even though to you it may not be a bad thing but it comes across differently to other people. Be mindful of what you’re putting out there and if that has anything to do with the results that you’re experiencing. If you notice that the results in dating are less than stellar, then its time to self reflect. You could be doing things without even realizes it, and that could be hurting your chances for a relationship.

What are some of your dating challenges and how did you overcome them?