Slow Living pt. 1 - Work from home 101
Many of us will soon celebrate their one-year anniversary of working from home, at least in one shape or another. We already mentioned the idea of the zoom outfit, but there’s much more ground to cover when faced with working from our homes in what seems to be the new normal. In this first episode of our Slow Living series, here are some thoughts on how to maintain a healthy routine at home and getting through this pandemic slowly but surely.
Bland, cold offices might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they had the strong advantage of being spaces that you could happily leave behind at the end of the day. Your bedroom, living room, or whichever type of home office you’ve created, is a space in which you might spend 10+ hours a day. Even something as trivial as a leftover pile of clothes can have a negative effect on your mood and productivity. By spending more time moving around and keeping it tidy, you can improve substantially your WFH environment. Plus, take the act of cleaning as a much-needed break from work and an easy way to get those legs moving. Which brings me to my second point.
Image courtesy of @jilburro_w
2. Stay on the move
Even if we would sometimes prefer to curl up under the duvet, this is an inevitable truth: an active home-life is a better home-life. So, time to put on your favourite athleisure outfit, and turn on a 20-minute yoga video before you hit your morning meeting. (See our favourite ways to get active below👇). As well as giving you a fix of endorphins, fitting in a small or big workout in your day also works as a break between two tasks, or a space to unwind after a workday. Following the idea of keeping our legs moving and blood flow pumping, we do recommend a couple of power walks to the kitchen during your day for some healthy snacking. Not only is it a fool-proof motivation technique to get ones bum out of the chair, it will also, when done correctly, boost our brain functions and allow for some slow-burning energy.
Ideas for mood-boosting snacks:
- Dark chocolate: powerful antioxidants + may improve brain function
- Citrus boost: nibble on some seasonal mandarin or satsumas for extra vitamin C
- Almonds & other nuts: vitamin E eldorado
- Red berries: antioxidant boost + low sugar treat
- Olives: healthy fats + keeps you feeling full
- Veg & cheese: delicious protein + fiber combo
- Steamed edamame: rich in iron + magnesium
- Avo on toast: vitamin loaded avocado + fiber-rich rye bread
- Bananas: improves digestive health + potassium for that post workout goodness
Image courtesy of @nicolemclaughlin
And, if your local guidelines allow it, getting some fresh air also comes highly recommended. Take a break from it all and head to any small patch of nature you can find. A common practice in Japan since the 80s, Shinrin-yoku (森林浴), which literally means forest bathing, has shown improvements in physiological relaxation, reducing the stress hormone cortisol and boosting the immune system. It is recommended to leave all distractions behind (i.e., our phones) and take the time to wander, listen, and take in our surroundings. Even in more urban environments, a 20-minute outdoor walk a day looking at one or several trees, flowers, or for a lack of this, anything green, will offer a much-needed reset to our nervous systems. When social distancing is inevitable, why not give a tree a hug!
3. Don’t forget to laugh
We should never underestimate the power of laughter. Not only does it decrease the stress hormones while increasing our “feel good” hormones like endorphins, it is also proven to boost the immune system and relieve physical tension. A good laugh will leave your muscles relaxed for 45 minutes; how great is that? With mental health being a central issue of this pandemic, all means to elevate the mood should be encouraged and laughter could be one of the first steps. Whether you share a laugh or indulge in some funny content, your body and mind will thank you for it. Now, go on, have a laugh!
Image courtesy of the National Geographic
4. Indulge in small pleasures
Why is it becoming increasingly important to enjoy life’s little pleasures? It might feel counter intuitive to indulge in your daily golden mylk latte when heading into a recession. Yet, studies on the economic dip that hit us a decade ago has shown that small pleasures are the ones that we should focus on when all hell breaks loose. So, rather than looking far into the horizon at unattainable things which are meant for another day and time, or longingly looking back at what was, let us focus on all the small things that brings us joy, day on day. From your morning coffee to dancing like you just don’t care in your living room (or both at the same time, like the fabulous @jvn), baking a banana bread or enjoying a hearty home-made meal, any small thing that brings you happiness should be enjoyed profusely. Especially when days might feel idle, this extra time on our hands can give us the space to enjoy all those little things that our otherwise busy schedule would make us overlook.
Guilty pleasures in the form of entertainment have also found their moment to shine. We’ve seen this with the rise of ambient TV, hit Netflix shows like Emily in Paris or Bridgerton have taken over people’s screens because of their pleasing aesthetics and light-hearted storylines. All those binge-worthy programs you’ve been saving on your watchlist have been leading up to this moment. So, switch off, throw on a face mask, pour yourself a drink & relax in front of a feel-good movie.
5. Make your home pretty
Your house is now your everyday and it should reflect your vibe. Whether you have lots of space or a pocket sized flat, even the smallest touches can make a big difference. You could treat yourself to a joyful bunch of flowers or lush green plants and support your local flower shop in the process. Pair with a vintage find to spruce up your interior, you know how much we love a preloved Murano vase. Handmade candles are also a budget-friendly piece to add that special something to your dinner table. These small things will brighten up your day and the one of the independent shop you bought it from, we call that a win win.
6. Switch it up
It is paramount, in a time of self-isolation, to keep a sense of structure during the day. And while you can’t really go anywhere, you can keep things interesting in the way you dress. Why not indulge in something wonderfully silky and cosy on a weeknight, even if it’s just for a date with your TV remote? Hello silk pyjamas and cosy knitwear. Is it Friday already? Take something fancy out of your closet and wear it for cocktails at home with your other half or a zoom date with your friends. Workday? Time to wear something comfortably professional, see our guide here for the perfect zoom-meeting outfit. Time for a workout? It’s easier to keep it up every day if you have the right leggings lying around. Routine is important, so let’s make it special.
7. “Get off my cloud” or how to maintain healthy boundaries
Make sure you keep some time and space for yourself, because this is looking to be more of a marathon than a sprint. Take the time to press pause, to be with yourself and cherish yourself. The same goes for people sharing your daily life. Cherishing each other will mean cherishing each other’s boundaries too. In times of division and political unrest where it feels like we are all screaming into the void of social media or constantly doomscrolling, time and space gives us a chance to cool down, to take a minute to reflect and search for that sense of forgiveness and kindness we are all craving for at the end of the day. Let’s take it slow, one day at a time.
We got this!
Workouts we love:
Frame: for some party vibes, good music and pumped-up energy, frame offers on demand and live classes at all time of the day. My latest obsession, their Kylie Butt lift class for that sweet burn.
Jane Fonda Workout: and oldie but a goodie! I’ve been introduced to Jane and her striped leotard in my teenage years, joining my mom on her VHS workouts, and she’s never failed to make my legs burn since then. For some boss moves, a definite recommend.
Cher dance workout: for some hot dance moves, get that sequin leotard out of your closet and turn the volume up. The all-time mood boosting workout!
Yogis Anonymous: this LA based studio offers an amazing variety of yoga classes with some Pilates, meditation, mum-to-be yoga and barre as well. With classes ranging from 10 to 90 minutes, this platform suits all levels and moods.
Psycle: For that targeted problematic area you’ve always wanted to tackle. Offering an array of classes that will make you burn like never before, psycle at home will help you reach that total body tone.
Latest treat to myself:
Tallulah lingerie: my last purchase from the queen of lingerie was my first ever silk pyjamas. It might’ve broken the bank a little but can’t remember how I could sleep in anything else before that! Definitely needed this in my lockdown life. The shop is closed atm but you can book a virtual appointment to get a peek of the treasure-filled boudoir or order from their selection online.
Nata candles: always love a candle and Nata has the best designs! The two independent designers have an impeccable eye for design and offer beautiful abstract shaped handmade candles in soft pastel tones. My latest buy, their candle making kit and the Terra candle.
Esh candles: Another independent designer offering budget friendly hand poured candles. As you might’ve seen on my feed, I recently added a pair of citrus candles to my collection. The scent is divine and the object in itself is my favourite touch of colour in the living room.
Lottablobs: Waves & sherbet tones make for one brilliant mirror. Be quick, because blob mirrors sell out in a matter of minutes! Got lucky enough to get my hands on an oval pink piece last month. A truly lovely independent brand where every piece is handmade.
Smith & Goat: From bespoke concrete interiors to pretty objects for the home, Smith and Goat offers an emporium of design with the infinite possibility of custom colours. I get most of my plant pots from their shop but the highlight of my last purchase has to be their shell shaped soap dish. Dreamy.
Trevor Noah on the Daily Show for a bit of political satire
@mytherapistsays for your daily dose of memes.
@celestebarber for a lesson of humour and class act wit that will make you brave enough to laugh through your next big embarrassing moment.
@loveofhuns of course.
The Office as my go-to favourite show along with the classics (Friends, Modern Family and The Good place)
Top image: Yayoi Kusama and Issey Miyake for Fondation Cartier shot by Gauthier Gallet