By Natalie Zepeda (Delta Pi, University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
Having a work-from-home (WFH) job as my first-ever career was a surprise to me, as I am sure that it was to many of us entering the job market just a few months ago. Having to work from home away from my coworkers, away from the collegians and chapter leaders, and actually making a difference…sounds weird, right? To be honest, I didn’t know how it was going to actually work out. How could a person like me, an extrovert who feeds off the energy of others, actually be successful and enjoy working from the desk in my bedroom? I asked myself this question a lot and decided for myself that I was going to make it happen and I was going to learn new skills amid this situation.
It has been 12 weeks and one day since I started this work-from-home journey, and, wow, have I learned a thing or two:
- Working from home is what you make it. In this job, there will always be challenges, but those don’t have to overshadow the wins that come along more often than not. If I keep my mind right, I can make this an experience fit for an extrovert like me.
- Overworking is a thing! When there isn’t a “closing time” in the office, it can be so easy to get caught up in the tasks, emails and meetings. Learning to find a balance is an ongoing process.
- Self-care is so fun and an absolute necessity. I have been able to invest in myself over these last few weeks in ways that I wouldn’t have had the time to do otherwise. Working from home has allowed me to start thinking about the little things I can do in a day to make myself smile.
When I started working from home, I wanted to make sure that I had a space that would contribute to a creative and productive mindset. Gone are the days of boring khaki cubicles and lifeless desk spaces. If I was going to sit at a desk, I was going to make sure that my workspace would energize me to work. One way I accomplish this is by keeping things GREEN! I have about eight plants around me at all times, along with the occasional flower and herb bouquet that grace my deskspace. Getting a moment to take care of my plants is a great reminder that there is life around me. It is also a nice 5-10 minutes away from my screen!
In addition to watering the life around me, I also make sure I keep myself well hydrated! Investing in a big water bottle and always keeping it filled up helps my brain and body throughout the day. Drinking a gallon of water a day is a goal of mine, and for the most part, I do an all right job meeting that! But if we are being honest, water can get boring…so I like to shake it up! Sometimes I make my own version of a Bubly sparkling water with my new SodaStream (hey, not all adult purchases have to be serious!), and other times I make a MUD\WTR latte to get my daily dose of mushrooms and spices – it’s much better than it sounds, I promise.
It’s little goals like my water and hydration plans that really kick off self-care! I have gotten to know how important it is to practice true self-care beyond just watching an episode of New Girl with my pint of ice cream and my mega spoon. Other small things that I have done to invest in myself range from yoga and meditation to skincare to learning how to do my own dip manicures! I never knew how human I could feel just by investing in myself and my well-being.