Student’s tips to conquer work from home

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Isabella Szklany, Contributor

For the fall semester, St. Thomas Aquinas College has created a hybrid learning model, with small classes in-person and online. The COVID-19 pandemic also gave rise to virtual internships that still give students a way to get real hands-on experience in their chosen careers safely. Despite technology’s powers to keep people working and learning from home, there also comes a variety of challenges. 

As students have adapted to this new form of learning, they have found themselves tired, overwhelmed, and having difficulty separating school from home.

Creating a separation between school and home is essential to one’s well-being, as it helps remind one that even though you are in the environment you relax in, you are currently in a period of work. COVID-19 brought about an increased concern for mental health, as one-third of Americans “experienced high levels of psychological distress,” during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Pew Research Center. Some of this distress came from the challenging adjustment to working at home. 

Hopefully, with students still adjusting to this new way of learning, here are some tips to help STAC students stay physically and mentally healthy throughout their remote work. 

1. Make a routine for yourself. 

Out of all of the tips listed here, this one is probably the most important. Making a routine can improve your sleep, manage stress levels, and make effective use of your time so that you can relax at the end of each night. Students who have been out of a routine for months should start by waking up at the same time each day. Rolling out of bed five minutes before class or a virtual internship will not allow you the chance to make time for yourself in the morning to eat breakfast, shower, or have an easy start to your day. The act of making a routine for yourself can make a significant change in your attitude and your overall productivity. 

2. Take breaks, especially from the screen. 

Do not diminish the existence of “Zoom Fatigue!” Blue-light emittance from spending extended periods on the computer will eventually make one tired. The new way of school is having two to three classes on Zoom per day and homework later in the day. As a result, all of this screen time is bound to make one tired. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, thirty minutes, even five minutes, would be a perfect amount of time for a break. Take a walk, buy coffee, talk to a friend—anything that gets you away from the screen and to breathe some fresh air. 

3. Create a mini-commute for yourself.

There is no longer a commute from one’s dorm room or house to class with working from home. Commutes serve as a great way to transition one’s mind from home or “off the clock” to work mode. Making this transition is still essential to your daily routine and is always vital to one’s mental health. Some ways to make a commute for yourself can be taking a quick walk around your home, going to buy a cup of coffee, or taking five minutes to meditate. By repurposing this time, you are still making a crucial mental transition from one part of your day to another.  

4. Get outside.

The benefits of being outdoors are endless. According to Business Insider, being outdoors can reduce one’s risk of depression and inflammation and lower one’s blood pressure. Go on a walk, participate in your Zoom class from outside, or just sit and soak in the sun. While people have to limit themselves to areas that they can go, the best way to get out of the house is to go outside. 

5. Take time for yourself.

Throughout the months of lockdown, people have had more time to watch movies, bake, and partake in activities that bring them joy. The fall semester has brought a more regular schedule in which it can be challenging to find these moments to log off and take time for yourself. Some ideas are watching a movie, ordering food from your favorite restaurant, having an at-home spa night, reading a book, or just sleeping for an extra hour or two. Making time to care for one’s mental health is especially crucial during this time of uncertainty and constant change. 

With the majority of our time spent on the computer, it is essential to create a remote work schedule that is great for your mental health.