Sitting in lock-downed Brussels, Natasha, NSAC’s President, is experiencing working from home at its finest and has shared her tips and tricks with us on how to make the most out of your day in times of a global health crisis.
Wake up early
When the lock down started, I very quickly made my way home to Brussels to be with my family before they closed the borders. Currently working for a fintech in London, it meant that I would now be working from home with both my parents and brother. All of a sudden my days started very differently and I was looking forward to sleeping in as I didn’t have a commute anymore, other than rolling out of bed down the staircase into my home office. I realised very quickly, however, that this was discouraging my efficiency and my lazy mornings started to impact my mindset for the rest of the day. Waking up early helped me be more productive and made me accomplish more throughout the day.
Set your daily routine
I am lucky to have a separate room at home where I only work. That way, I’ve been able to separate work from pleasure very easily even though doing both between the same four walls. My daily routine consists of going for a walk with my dog, doing yoga with either my mum or colleagues, and then sit down to work. Before sitting down, I shower and change into an outfit that does not consist of pyjamas. This may seem only obvious and hygienic, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to jump right out of bed onto your laptop and get started. During the day I’ve set myself many reminders to literally remind me to stand up and stretch, drink water and go outside – I am really good at staring at a screen for several hours without even realising it. Having a routine helps me stay focused and I always try to put in my breaks in my calendar so that I have these set for the day, whether that is for lunch or morning workout. What I love the most in the evenings here in Brussels is that every day at 8pm, the city heads outside their doors and onto their balconies to clap for all the people helping in this crisis.
Stay physically active
If one thing keeps me going, it is staying active, whether by going for a walk, doing yoga or even going for a run (this happens rather seldom…). For some reason, I feel like I’ve gotten more active during lock down as I’ve become more aware of how important it is for my body. My tip would be to exercise during your would-be commute. If you’re really not a morning person, try to squeeze in some time during lunch to get that energy going for the afternoon.
Hug yourself more
One thing I miss the most in this lock down is being with people and hugging people. In times where we can’t do either, give yourself a hug once in a while. Days can be bleak and if there is someone that deserves a hug more than anyone, it is yourself.
To some of us, the lock down has given us the privilege of more time, and more specifically the time to “do what you always wanted to do but never had the time”. Ivy League universities are publishing free courses (can definitely recommend this list), yoga classes are moved online, and it has become acceptable to bake banana bread every single weekend. Use the time to explore new skills, for example take a course that is completely unrelated to what you normally do, or work on running those 5k without a break. NSAC has now started hosting webinars on various study abroad topics, so keep your eyes peeled as we are coming home to your screen. But also remind yourself that you’re not expected to write the world’s next best-selling novel or develop the next big tech product. Remember that you’re not simply working or studying from home – you are doing so in the midst of a global health crisis and getting through the day the best you can is also an achievement.
Written by Natasha Peters