For many people around the world, working from home is the new lifestyle.
This could mean one of two things:
You can’t work that much. Maybe you have trouble getting into the “flow” state at home due to the lack of your usual work surrounding, or you have kids who are now at home too, requiring all of your attention, or you genuinely cannot work from home, because your job requires physical presence.
You are working too much. If you are anything like me and are trying to distract yourself from an empty apartment and the lack of social activities in your life, you might have trouble not working around the clock. To be honest, one of the beauties of working from home is that you can work whenever and wherever (well, within your apartment) you want. So, while I had a massive lack of motivation for the past couple of days, I am now back in the flow and writing this article on a Sunday afternoon from my sunny balcony.
But as we all know by now, our mental health is super important and deserves a a break; a break from the health crisis we are in. For example. I deserve a break from that paper that I just don’t want to finish writing, and from the isolating feeling that the lack of social activities brings.
And sure, now you have all the time to catch up with your friends and family, but there is only so much you can tell each other when your life only takes place within four walls.
Can SOCIAL media help?
Over the past few weeks, I found the perfect break from all of that in the distracting nature of social media. This gave me heaps of options, and I can follow accounts on ALL my interests.
For example, social media is probably the best platform for science communication. I’ve found some truly amazing science communication stories on social media. Reading this Twitter thread about a research project in Antarctica might just be the perfect distraction from all of the other rather negative stories at the moment.
Hi twitter! I have spent the last 5 weeks practicing #SocialDistancing and doing fun science in #Antarctica. It's been an INCREDIBLE trip. We were due to return home yesterday but bad weather means I get a few extra days in paradise. Time to share some of the adventure with you! pic.twitter.com/5tdqjd6CKZ
— Rose Foster (@rosetazetta) March 18, 2020
An absolute highlight in my science communication world was last week’s ScienceTalk conference. The conference was meant to take place in Portland, Oregon, but the organizers decided to run the whole event in a virtual environment. This allowed me to follow the whole conference from my sofa and I could learn about all these amazing science communication projects in a very relaxing environment.
First ever virtual conference #scitalk20 from the sofa about to start. All set with chocolate, snacks and wine (it's already evening in Spain ;)) let's get this party started 🎉#scicomm #YoMeQuedoEnCasa pic.twitter.com/g1eysOgCHG
— Sarah Wettstadt (@DrBommel) March 26, 2020
While working from home is a completely different strain on our bodies due to the lack of movement, some stretching and relaxation is one of the best things to do to overcome soreness throughout the day. Many yoga instructors have seized that opportunity and now offer online courses or upload regular YouTube videos. I usually follow the lunchtime yoga sessions every day with my friend Mirijam, which is the perfect scheduled break in the middle of the day. And I am not proud of this, but it did happen that I only realized that it was the weekend when Mirijam was not online at 1 pm!
Another great way to turn off your mind and take a break from science is to keep up with your normal hobbies. Unlucky for me, most of my hobbies take place outside my home. This was quite annoying until I discovered that lots of Instagram channels are currently popping up that show you strengthening exercises to do at home!
So I started following the AVP beachvolleyball tour account that is trying to keep their followers engaged and fit. They started this 6-day home workout challenge, which is run by their popular beach volleyball players who give you some great exercise ideas using your household items.
Many other beach volleyball players, coaches, physical therapists and you-name-it fitness professionals are going online now at regular times each day to show you some ways to stay fit and strong. It almost feels like choosing a TV channel for a prime-time movie back in the day.
I was also super happy when I saw that one of my favourite musicians, Gary from Snow Patrol, decided to play live sessions on Instagram. So, many evenings I am singing and dancing through my flat as happy as I can be.
Watch Your Screen Time
Okay, but at the end of a whole day in front of the screen and on social media, I find it also super important to switch off. Disconnecting from social media is now just as important as during “normal” times. Taking a book at the end of the day usually helps me wind down.
Now after being in home office 12 hours a day in front of the screen, taking a book is for sure the best thing one can do. Twitter out for today pic.twitter.com/r4P8EeLJON
— Sarah Wettstadt (@DrBommel) March 16, 2020
Considering this unpleasant situation, social media is certainly one of the best options we have to distract us from everything that is going on, and we can now use it for anything from education, to physical activity, chatting to or arguing with other people. It became an incredibly important medium for many people, for some the only social connection they truly have for some weeks.
So, stay connected, be good to each other and stay at home and wash your hands.
Feature Image Credit: Melody Serra