Working from home in social isolation. My experience:
Day 1: “This is going to be great! I’m a type-B personality introvert that thrives in a setting where I can work independently. I’ve been preparing my whole life for this!”
Day 2: “Day 1 went really well! This is going to be easy breezy.”
Day 3: “Hm..I kinda miss people. That’s ok though! We’ll be back to work in a week or two.”
Day 4: “...What if I fire up one of my PC games on the other screen while I work?...naw, I can’t do that.”
Day 5: “I’m done for work for the day. I never want to look at my gaming PC ever again. Time to go for a bike ride!”
Day 6: “This is day 20? Right? No, it’s only Tuesday???? I’m so tired.”
Day 9: “...I...need...human...interaction…”
Day 12: “What??!? This might last until June????”
If this sounds kinda familiar, many of us are going through something like this. Inked truly is a joy to work for, but this experience is taking a toll on even some of the most introverted in all of us. Here are some tips on working from home, staying sane, and making sure we all get out of this with healthy bodies, healthy minds, and healthy habits.
- WATER - Make sure you are drinking A LOT of water. Sometimes when we get into the work mode at home, we disregard certain self-care things. Drinking water has been proven to keep you healthy, and we all know how important that is in times like this.
- GET READY FOR THE DAY - If you’re like me, you love getting ready in the mornings and getting going for work. But, I’ve noticed that I have a very difficult time getting motivated when working from home for the first few minutes of my day. I attributed this to not getting myself fully mentally prepared. Even just that 15 minute drive to work listening to your favorite music or podcast might be enough to get your mind work-ready. Many people when working from home roll out of bed into their computer chair. Make sure this doesn’t become a habit! Take a shower, make some coffee, do stretches/yoga, and any other morning ritual you used to have before you flop into your computer chair. You’ll thank your body and mind later.
- GO OUTSIDE - When the work dynamic switches to your personal computer, a lot of reasons for getting out of your seat kinda go away. You probably are logged into your Facebook, Twitter, personal email, among other websites that you frequently utilize. When you’re taking your lunch or breaks, it’s super easy to just detach yourself from your work and see what's trending on Twitter. This, over a long period of time, is unhealthy and will lead to bad habits and depressive tendencies in a lot of people. When you’re taking a break, get up, move around, go outside, say hi to the mail carrier (from six feet away), and breathe!
- DON’T IMMEDIATELY START GAMING AFTER WORK - This one is big for me. My second day of working from home I clocked out and immediately opened up my favorite digital card game on Steam. Started playing, and about ten minutes later I felt awful. Didn’t want to even look at the game for a couple days. If you think about it, when you are working in a warehouse/office, you usually take some time getting out of the office, getting home, and doing other activities to kinda detach yourself from work before starting gaming. My stressful day of work transitioned immediately into a stressful game, which made for a quick and bad mood swing. My advice is to make sure you get out of your computer chair and do a physical activity - whether that is just going for a walk, following along to a yoga video on YouTube, or dusting off your old mountain bike and going for a brisk ride. Do something to make sure that you can have that transition from your job to gaming!
- HANG WITH FRIENDS DIGITALLY! - The first week or so of working from home I was feeling really down. Then, that Friday I hung out with a couple good friends in voice chat and we did a Magic: Online draft together. We all had glasses of wine poured and just enjoyed hanging and chilling. This DRAMATICALLY improved my mood for the next few days. Make sure you’re still connecting with people and your friends who make you laugh and feel good. This is vitally important to staying healthy during these next few months. I’ll be trying to do a digital call with friends at least every two days moving forward.
- TELL SOMEONE - If you’re feeling down, tell your coworkers. If you’re feeling stressed, vent to a friend. If you need a digital hug, well, maybe send Inked a customer service email just telling us that you need to talk to someone! EVERYONE is experiencing similar feelings as us right now. It’s best to tell people your troubles, and support your friends and family as much as possible. They will be doing the same. Additionally, there are many mental health resources out there for people, with many more popping up as this pandemic continues to gain momentum. Reach out to a mental health professional if you think you need it. They help! There is no shame in improving your mind and body by using these resources. They’re there because they work.
- FIND A NEW FOCUS - Personally, one of my hobbies the last year or so has been to learn the world and culture of wine and wine tasting. So what did I do when I started seeing that we would be in isolation for a while? I went ahead and bought seven books on wine tasting! I’m through about one and a half of them at the time of writing this, and I’m learning so much and having a great time doing it. Think of that one thing you’ve wanted to do but never had the time to do it, and dive right into it! You never know, you might just find your new favorite hobby.
- LOVE - Make sure that you are continuing to find time to call your parents, your grandparents, and friends. These times are hard and many people who are not gamers do not have the luxury to detach from the day to day for a few hours and jam some games. Many times, they are sitting alone in their homes hoping that a loved one or friend will just call them. Take the time, make the call, and brighten someone else’s day each day. So many of us need it.
Stay safe, care for each other, and let’s all get through this together.
Mitch Gross, an employee of Inked Gaming, has a 4-year Public Health degree from Oregon State University and has a passion for epidemiology and mental health in addition to his love for everything gaming related.