I first started working from home full-time when my son was two months old. Thanks to lack of sleep and a little human who needed me 24/7, it was all I could do to keep him happy, get my work done, and try to maintain some sort of order to our household. Showering and getting dressed were on the bottom of my to do list each day, and let’s be real, most days they fell right off of it.
In addition to my self-care neglect, which can do some serious damage on your dignity as a human, I also found that it’s hard to feel like a productive member of society when you don’t actually step outside and join society each day. So after more than a year of working from home—and way too many days of PJs and sloth-like habits—I’ve uncovered 10 things I can do each day to feel human.
1. Make your bed.
Apparently people who make their bed in the morning are up to 206.8 percent more likely to be millionaires, so that right there is a good incentive for using the first couple minutes of your day to pull your bed back together.
Studies show that making your bed increases your productivity, reduces your stress level, and makes you happier. It also discourages you from crawling back into bed with your laptop later in the day, because who wants to mess up a pretty bed that they actually took the time to make? Plus, you just feel better when you walk past a clean bedroom, and certainly when you go to bed in a tidy room each night.
Even if my son wakes me up, (which let’s be real, he usually does) he usually plays happily in his crib for a bit, which gives me time to get my day started on the right foot. I immediately hop out of bed and make the bed, even before I go to the bathroom. (When I have to pee really bad, I make my bed really fast and my trip to the bathroom is like a reward for checking an item off my to do list— anyone else create crazy rewards for themselves like that? Try it. It works!)
2. Open the blinds.
Do this immediately after you make your bed. The sunlight will help wake you up and give you an instant boost of happiness. Also make sure that you open the blinds/curtains in every other room of your house. If you’re not joining the rest of the world all day, at least you can look outside and see it.
3. Brush your teeth.
This is a common sense hygiene thing, but in full transparency, there have been days where I didn’t brush my teeth until I realized my husband would be home from work soon and I should probably grab my toothbrush so I wouldn’t offend him with my breath. Seriously y’all, just brush your teeth. You’ll feel much fresher if you do.
4. Brush your hair.
Who said anything about washing it? Just brush it. Then pull it up in a messy bun and go on with your bad self.
5. Put on deodorant.
If you don’t have time to shower, you can at least take this small step to cleanliness. I always feel instantly more fresh and put together when I put deodorant on, even if I haven’t seen the inside of my shower in longer than I'd like to admit.
6. Put on a bra.
Listen, I don’t even care if you get dressed. Some people who work from home swear by getting dressed every day to feel productive, but I can’t vouch for that one quite yet.
I live in yoga pants, t-shirts and hoodies, but if there’s one thing I do to get dressed every day, it’s put on a bra. Not even a real bra. I am my sports bras’ biggest fan. Do I work out? Most days, no. But it’s amazing what holding your ta-tas in place can do to make you feel put together. It’s hard to feel like a productive member of society when your boobs are flapping around.
Also, from a logistical standpoint, it’s easier to hustle and get stuff done when you don’t have to hold your chest while you’re running up the stairs. And when the UPS person comes to the door, you don’t have to awkwardly place your child or your hands in front of your chest, so there's that.
7. Put on a piece of jewelry.
This might sound silly, but this is a step that instantly makes me feel more human and ready for the day. I slide on my wedding rings and tiny pearl earrings, which gives me the false perception that I have left the house that day.
8. Talk out loud to a real adult human.
Not a text, not an email, but a real conversation where you use your voice to communicate with another adult human.
We love our children dearly, but talking to them doesn’t count here. If your kids are the only humans you speak to all day, you might start saying things like “No no” or “that’s mommy’s drink” to a potential client, which could be embarrassing, or possibly even cost you the job.
Pets don’t count either because they don’t talk back.
And if you don’t have kids OR pets, and you don’t have anyone to speak out loud to all day, you are at risk here for (A) forgetting how to use your voice or (B) talking to yourself in public because that’s what you do at home. Neither one are good options.
So call your mom, call your friend, or pick up the phone and call a client instead of shooting them an email. They will appreciate the personal connection, and you get to practice maintaining your social skills. It’s a win-win.
9. Step outside.
Instead of 15 minutes of instagram scrolling, take a walk around the block. Check the mail. Take your laptop outside to do some work while feeling the breeze. You know what they say— a little bit of fresh air and sunshine rejuvenates the soul and awakens the mind. BONUS: You can say that you left the house today and it's not even a lie.
10. Light a candle.
Lighting a candle does wonders for my mood. Since most days my senses can't be stimulated by the real world, a little help from a subtle floral-scented candle can instantly lift my spirits— and make me feel connected to something bigger than the aromas of my Lean Cuisine.