A few months back, I wrote an article for Grumpy Office Workers, explaining how even the grouchiest of us can stay (just about) healthy and sane in the office. Since then, I’ve escaped the office world (hurrah!) to live my dream of being a freelance writer & website creator (hurrah!) and graduate student (hurrah!) Yes, I get bored fast. Unfortunately, working from home has a whole new set of ways to make me grumpy (boo!)
The main problem with working from home is the 24/7 availability of food. And the thoughts that run “Grr, stress, clients, writing, procrastination, brain-mush, grr … mmm, chocolate.” And the complete lack of nosy colleagues to ask “Ali, don’t you run a blog called The Office Diet? Should you really be eating that giant chocolate cookie?”
But, somehow, I have managed to survive an office-free month without putting on weight… I’ve even been a bit less grumpy than normal. Really. (My boyfriend might disagree. But that’s only cos he sees more of me now.)
So here is some advice:
Walk, walk and walk some more
Ever get that cooped-up, stir-crazy feeling? It’s because you’ve been stuck inside the same four walls all day. Even prisoners get an exercise break. Step outside. Walk. This is a particularly good idea when the Most Annoying Client In The World has phoned you for the fifth time in two hours, your internet connection is playing hide-and-seek, and you’ve barely blinked, let alone taken a break from your monitor, in three hours.
Walking is good for getting some perspective. You’re never too busy to take 30 minutes to get your head screwed back on. And you might even get a killer idea for your latest project.
Eat proper meals (with another human being if possible)
Work never quite goes away when you’re a freelancer. Maybe you switch on your laptop before the kettle every morning. Maybe you forget about breakfast until your stomach rumbles at 10am, you realise you have no milk, and you scoff down a few handfuls of trail mix. Maybe “lunch” is whatever you can easily eat with one hand whilst typing emails with the other. You’re stressed. You’re busy. You don’t want to stop for a meal – but you can manage a snack.
Proper meals, though, tend to be a tad healthier than snacks (most of which can be described as “sugar or salt, plus fat”). And ploughing on with work when your Grumpiness and Hungriness Levels are rising is going to lead to snarky emails, a grouchy phone manner and less-than-chipper clients. Take a break. Eat. With another human being, if you can. (Those “spouse and kids” people, maybe? Seen much of them recently?)
Ban any “evil” foods from the house
Some foods are evil. They taunt you from the cupboard/fridge/deep freeze. They say “Eat me. EAT ME. You know you want to. I’m so yummy. I’m so delicious. Just open me. Just have a little teeny tiny taste. Go on…” Their aim is to wear down your will, over the course of the day, until you give in. Sometimes they’re really sneaky and they wait until you’re tired, stressed, and up stupidly late and/or horrifically early to meet a deadline … and THEN they start to whisper their insidious little words.
These foods are the enemy.
It is a tactical error of the highest order to allow them into your home. Ban them. Treat anyone bringing them in through your door as the despicable traitors that they are. Check all grocery bags for any cunning attempts at infiltration. You may even need to provide your spouse/kids/flatmates with a handy check-sheet of the Evil Ones, to help them identify and destroy them.
How do you cope when you’re stuck in the house, feeling fed up, and facing the Food Demons? Got any great advice for grumpy homeworkers like me?