In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are working from home these days. Under normal circumstances, telecommuting can offer a pleasant break from your daily routine. You can enjoy freedom from a long commute and the luxury of working in your sweats.
But this situation is far from normal. Harpreet Gujral, program director of integrative medicine at Johns Hopkins’ Sibley Memorial Hospital, offers the following suggestions on staying centered and healthy when you’re working at home during the pandemic.
Greeting the Day
If you’re waking in the morning and feeling uncertain because your routine is so different, Gujral suggests a 15-minute ritual to get prepared for your day.
“First thing in the morning, I recommend spending 10 to 15 minutes on self-care. I take a moment to think about three things I’m grateful for. They can be simple things, such as a comfy blanket, a safe home, warmth, spring trees, blue sky or blossoming trees.”
Many of us lunge for our cellphones as soon as we’re conscious, but Gujral says she makes a point not to pick up her phone for at least 15 minutes.
Breathing for Stress Relief
Before the day’s demands take over, Gujral recommends becoming centered with some stress-relieving breaths.
“Take a few minutes to really focus on your breathing. There is a technique called 4-7-8 breathing, or relaxing breath, which helps you concentrate on deep breaths. The practice is simple: Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7 and breathe out for a count of 8. Practicing this for four breaths four times each day or more can help relieve anxiety and reset the autonomic nervous system,” Gujral says.
Here’s how to do it: