Self-care tips for architects and designers WFH

May 4, 2020
  • Article by Risa John

Week five of lockdown and we’re all feeling the strain, so we’ve rounded up the top self-care tips to help you get through another week of working from home.

With most of us now doing what we can to work from home, it’s easy to feel somewhat confined, or isolated. This can be particularly true for architects and interior designers who are used to collaborating with teams, interacting with clients, and sometimes working on site.

It’s for this reason that when we talk about working from home, we have to consider self-care, as well as productivity. It’s important to do things to keep your spirits up and stay energised, which, naturally, will help you to sustain productivity as well.

Silence your notifications

When ADR wrote about the challenges of working from home in early April, we included the anxiety brought about by the onslaught of news stories.

It’s easy these days to stare at the news for hours or scroll constantly through social media apps taking in the latest reports. It’s useful to stay informed and an occasional news break is understandable, but silencing your news and social notifications so that you aren’t simply inundated with it all is our top tip.

That way you can close out the world and focus on your work, and avoid that aforementioned anxiety in the process. You’ll almost certainly feel better for it.

Prioritise sleep

In a piece about productivity tips, Taylor Fasulas discussed how sleep impacts cognitive function — going so far as to assert that inadequate sleep can have similar effects to excessive alcohol consumption.

Clearly, this is a productivity problem. You aren’t going to be doing your best design work if you’re cognitively impaired.

Little sleep can also impact your general wellness, as that level of impairment will compound those feelings of inactivity many of us have working from home.

By prioritising adequate sleep, you’ll avoid this problem and find that you’re more likely to feel refreshed, energised and productive.

Get dressed

There are a lot of people suggesting that people should ‘wear real pants’ or dress as they would for the office while working from home. We’re not sure it’s necessary to go that far — but dressing for the day is a good idea. 

Sharon Green covered work-from-home attire perfectly, suggesting that getting dressed is important to spark a mentality that you’re starting the productive part of your day. But it’s also fine to wear something comfortable. We think this can positively impact self-care as much as productivity.

Dressing for the day will simply make you feel useful, like you’re still an active contributor in the workforce, and that can be very valuable right now.

Work in some activity

Even if you don’t exercise regularly, chances are you’re more active going to work than you are when working from home. This is particularly true for architects or designers who are regularly on the go, visiting clients’ homes or building sites.

But let’s face it: It’s pretty easy to live life between the bed and the couch these days, even if a laptop and some work are involved. Getting too sedentary will make you feel sluggish, bored and tired.

So we recommend working in some activity to keep up your energy. Whether that means an occasional yoga break, a lunchtime jog or simply standing up to cook a meal now and then.

Eat real meals

Poor eating habits can have all kinds of negative effects, including on your general mood or outlook. And yet, when working from home it’s easy to forego meals and gradually snack throughout the day and night — particularly in a design-related job where you’re constantly returning to your desk to tweak sketches or deal with communications.

For this reason we recommend focusing specifically on eating real meals at ordinary intervals. Stephanie Vermillion wrote up healthy eating tips tailored to work-from-home conditions and included some more specific ideas to take to heart.

Most notably, she recommended keeping a food journal, eating away from your desk and stocking up on healthy snacks.

With so much focus on how to be productive at home, it really is important to keep your self-care in mind as well.

Stay up-to-date with developments in the A&D industry with our coronavirus coverage and to hear how other Aussie designers and architects are dealing with the lockdown, check out our Working from Home video series.

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