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  • Writer's pictureAlex Rathbun

Tips to stay sane while working from home

Hi friend. If you're reading this post when it's published, chances are you've been working from home, staying at home with your kids, or have had limited exposure to people in some way this past week.

It came up in a conversation with a friend this week that a lot of people are working from their couch for the first time right now in the midst of COVID-19.

I'm not an expert, but I think I have some valuable tips to share: when I quit my full time job to do freelance work 2.5 years ago, it was a pretty rough transition. It was a hard season on my mental health, in large part because going from an office full of people to just me and my dog was a bit of a shock to the system. Since then, I have acquired some tools and, through trial and error, figured out what works well to help me stay in a good head space while working alone in my home all day.

If you or someone you know is new to working from home (or staying at home all day, doing whatever), feel free to read this and pass it on to them! Here we go:


1. Get "ready" for the day.

As tempting as it is to stay in my comfy PJs all day, I promise it helps me feel like a human when I force myself to put real clothes on, brush my teeth and hair, and take my morning meds before I have a chance to become one with the couch and not feel like doing any of that.

2. Start the day with a to do list.

I'm guessing if you're a list person you already do this. For me though, it's easy to sit down at my computer, open up my emails, then suddenly feel overwhelmed by everything I'm seeing. By the time I get through emails, my baby is crying, his nap is over and I haven't done anything I intended to. Instead of this, it helps me to make a list while I'm drinking my morning coffee/tea, before any work even starts.

3. Eat real meals.

It took me too long to realize I needed to give a little bit of forethought to what I eat every day for breakfast and lunch. It's easy to think "meh, I'll find something when it's time to eat." But for me, that usually turns into "oh my gosh suddenly I'm super hungry and the first thing I can find is chips". So, whether I have leftovers from the night before or give myself a half hour break to actually assemble a salad or make a smoothie or cook some eggs and avocado toast, it does my mind and body a huge favor to eat a real breakfast and lunch rather than graze on a bag of popcorn all day.

4. Go for a walk.

When I worked in an office, I got up often and walked around, whether to use the bathroom or go to a meeting or chat with a coworker (whoops), but without those things (and a bathroom that's 10 feet from my living room), it's easy to basically stay in one spot all day. For me, if I can get a quick walk in during lunch or nowadays, after my husband gets home and can stay in with the baby, it helps me feel much better.

5. Designate a time to tidy up.

Whether I spend 10 minutes before starting work or decide I'll clean up after my work is done, it helps me know when that will happen. Otherwise, I end up getting distracted by clutter when I'm procrastinating starting that project I don't really want to start...


I hope those are helpful! Let me know in the comments if there's anything that helps you or anything you specifically struggle with while working from home! I'd love to hear from you.

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