The early pandemic has shifted a lot of my normal day-to-day routines, especially regarding work. Prior to the pandemic, I had the option to go into the office, a daily commute, and a routine that I grew accustomed to. 

However, since switching to remote work, I have had to create a new routine that helped my productivity levels and prioritized my health and wellness. For myself, that meant I was in bed by 9 PM and up by 5:30 AM. This ensured that I was getting at least eight hours of sleep and I was giving myself ample time to go for a walk, take a shower, and spend time making coffee and chatting with my husband before we both go into our respective offices. 

Additionally, I ensure I take my lunch break or take mini breaks throughout the day to stretch and give my eyes a break from the screen. This can be a mini-yoga video to help with the tightness in my shoulders or a walk outside around the neighborhood. I try to take advantage of the warmer months since the Illinois winters are brutal and I tend to spend more time indoors between December and March. 

I try to prioritize leaving the house to get fresh air or check one errand off my to-do list. It allows me to ‘turn off’ my mind for a second and indulge in an audiobook or podcast and get some steps in. Another option is to plan a reason to leave the house. There were times when I found I was leaving the house once a week and it was hindering my mental health. Now, during the summer months, I take advantage of the local farmer’s markets as an opportunity to get healthy produce, cook new dishes, and get outside. 

Lastly, I keep a 40oz tumbler of water at my desk. This ensures that I am drinking an adequate amount of water and gives me an opportunity to take a break to refill it. The goal is to have some sort of physical movement every day, and while my work days may look different, I can lean into my routine for some normalcy.