This past weekend my daughter spent the weekend at home rather than at college. We decided to take a day to get some groceries, shop for her graduation dress and get a new collar for the puppy . . . You know, general weekend stuff. As we walked out the door, she looked at me and said, “I didn’t shower or comb my hair,” to which I sheepishly acknowledged I hadn’t either.
This pandemic has done a number on those who work from home and no longer must report to a brick and mortar building for their job. There are thousands upon thousands of women who used to get up each morning, carefully apply makeup and roll on the hose.
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For most, those days are gone. For myself, at first it was a relief to no longer have to get up and show up dressed to the nines. But now, I am wondering how many women would love to get out of sweatpants and ratty T-shirts. Getting out of the video call wardrobe of nice dress shirts and baggy sweats would be so fun. Do not laugh at that either, it would be so “fun” to dress up again for work.
Speaking of this combination, Renee Reinhardt shares, “I still shower, do my make-up and put on a dress shirt as I have Zoom calls to attend each day. In all honesty though, sometimes I am not ready until noon if my days are lighter. I have enjoyed the flexibility with time now that I don’t have a commute.”
How women dressed and prepared for work goes beyond clothes, however. Everywhere you look, hair is strange colors with split ends. Fingernails are chipped, broken or unkempt. High heels? What are those? Pencil skirts? Gathering dust.
The cute, monogrammed portfolios that women tucked under their arms when visiting clients and customers are sitting on a pile only to be replaced by kids’ old spiral notebooks left over from the previous school year.
Why are we talking about this? Women need to practice self-care now more than ever. If that means getting a new outfit and dressing up, including makeup, for a Zoom meeting, then do it. If walking into your home office in new high heels brings a smile, then do it.
Cheryl Kettner, a professional who worked from home prior to the pandemic, shares this advice to those who are new or slowly getting into the groove. When it comes to work, she states, “Stay disciplined! There are a lot of distractions around the home, so keep notes, and stay on schedule to keep organized with time management.”
Seeing as how Cheryl has been working from home for quite some time, her knowledge of taking care of oneself is a bit deeper than most. She is quite cognizant of mental health and the importance of handling it with care. Some of the activities she suggests include:
Take scheduled breaks just as if you were working onsite.
Once you’re done with your work shift, try to limit screen time.
Get out of the house whenever you can to help alleviate the “locked in” feeling. If you can get outside to take walks or do other things, do it.
Take advantage of all the non-work time to do anything that makes you feel better.
May is Mental Health Awareness month. Please take time for yourself. Go get a massage, get your hair or nails done, or immerse yourself in a book that creates comfort. Self-care is so important these days!
Kristen Asleson is owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send comments and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.