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Diane Dean-Epps: Staying safe, sane and remote

Diane Dean-Epps
Other Voices

Below are eight hot tips, fab tricks, and happenin’ hacks to keep you connected — and sane — while working remotely. I know. By now you’re aching to go into the physical plant that used to be your sole workplace, and shoot the breeze with some humans.

Buck up, buttercup. This isn’t forever; it just feels like forever.

These are serious times. Make no mistake, I’m only too aware of that, but while you’re home, looking for positivity in all the right places, I’ve got some simple tips that will support your mental and physical well-being.

1. Make your bed when you get up. Don’t make your bed just because it’s now in the background of every meeting you attend. There’s another reason you should tuck those corners and fluff those pillows. It’s about rendering order in the midst of chaos, and exerting control during times when you have very little. You may be leaving a wake of dirty dishes behind you, as you circumnavigate every square inch of your home, but you can take comfort in the fact that one corner of your abode is tidy.

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2. Get dressed in decent clothes. While this may seem like an excellent time to get additional wear out of those holiday PJs, don’t fall into this trap (and, no, yoga pants don’t count as real clothes, unless you’re in the middle of doing yoga). Put on pants that button and zip. Mix it up a little. See that shirt waaayyy in the back of your closet that you’ve never worn because it’s waaayyy in the back of your closet? Grab it. Today’s the day for its debut.

3. Keep some music playing in the background. Don’t choose music brain scientists contend will stimulate your brain cells. This is a time to embrace new things because you want to, not because you think you should.

Pick music that hits you right in the central amygdala, which is your “feel good center.” Maybe launch a daily aspirational track like, “I Feel Good” by James Brown, and then go from there, discovering genres that motivate you on a personal level. Wait, there’s more. If you choose music that stimulates your blood cells, you’ll get the blood pumping, and be inspired to move around. Speaking of which …

4. Muévelo, muévelo, muévelo! (Move it, move it, move it!)

Your loyal friend YouTube is there any time you’re looking for fitness inspiration. As it turns out, it’s more than just an excellent place to look up how to reset your car’s clock. There are a plethora of workout videos available featuring all of your favorite moves, activities, and levels. You have the time, so maybe explore the full complement of at-home fitness options, by searching “workout videos.” Prepare to be overwhelmed … I mean motivated.

Hot tips combining tip #2 and tip #4. When you get dressed in the morning, fling on that wicking workout shirt you got for your birthday that you thought was too fancy. You’re much more likely to stomp around later if you’re wearing some sort of fitness garb.

5. Change your computer background … often. Truly, the little things will inspire you. Live large by visiting your metaphorically dusty control panel, choose “Themes,” and hit “Get more themes in Microsoft Store.” Now, go nuts, downloading several themes, and watch the magic happen as whole worlds — other than Atlantis — open before your very eyes.

6. Take a guilt-free break. I know. Your whole life feels like a break right now. The reality is you’ve got an inordinate amount of messaging — related to work or otherwise — coming at you fast and furious right now. You need downtime. Walk outside, play with your dog, create art, write a letter, fix a snack, or plant something. The key is to engage in an activity totally unrelated to a computer, or your digital footprint. Bonus points for making some real footprints in your world.

7. Decorate your office/workspace. Shipments of goods may be understandably slow right now, so use your creativity by re-purposing items. Begin by assembling found materials, then go down the digital DIY search rabbit hole, finding your bliss. It’s there for the taking. My special addition to my already joy-filled home office environment? The cool vintage pitcher my husband had all packed up for donation, which I fished out of the box, and jauntily filled with throat lozenges.

8. Reach out to your non-work peeps. Reach out to your tribe via any channel you can get your hands, fingers, or any other appendage on. We’re home, but we’ve got tools like never before. Embrace the Face(Time), and enjoy seeing the mugs of those folks you adore.

We’ll get through this because we may be remote, but we’re still connected.

Diane Dean-Epps lives in Grass Valley.


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