In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees are currently working from home. Under normal circumstances, telecommuting can offer a pleasant break from your daily routine. It can create a sense of freedom from a long commute and the luxury of working in comfortable clothing. The City of San Jose understands that this situation is far from normal and can cause added stress to your everyday life. On this page, you will find helpful tips and resources on staying centered and healthy when you're working from home during the pandemic.
Kaiser hosted a 1-hour Coping with COVID and Beyond webinar for City employees on May 29th. The webinar focused on how to cope with this pandemic including: information about the virus, resources for COVID-19, tips on how to cope with uncertainty, how to address the stress response to life changes, gain control where you have control, and practice tricks to build your resilience. If you would like to view the webinar please go here to Coping with COVID-19 & Beyond.
Resiliency in Action -Prerecorded Webinar available now!
wellness resources from our partners
First Responder Flyer
Work From Home - Tips for Managers
Work From Home - Tips for Employees
Finding Balance - Stress Management Guide
Rest and Revive - Sleep Management Toolkit
Rest and Revive Workbook
Build a Healthy Meal
Building Your Meal - Interactive Guide
Greeting of the Day
If you're waking in the morning and feeling uncertain because your routine is so different, try a 15-minute self care ritual to get prepared for your day!
- First thing in the morning, spend 10-15 minutes on self-care. Take a moment to think about three things you are grateful for. They can be simple things such as a comfy blanket, a safe home, warmth, spring trees, blue sky or blossoming trees.
- Try not to pick up your phone as soon as you wake up. Focus on your own needs first: a shower, breakfast, coffee, etc.
- Try meditative breathing to relieve stress. See the 4-7-8 breathing technique below.
Six daily questions to ask yourself during shelter in place (SIP)
- What am I grateful for today? Daily habits of gratitude and appreciation are one of the highest emotional states you can experience. When you cultivate gratitude, you're able to feel true joy and contentment. Starting your day this way primes you to be receptive and grateful for everything your day will bring.
- Who am I checking in on or connecting with today? Pick three people each day to check in on. Call your parent(s), FaceTime your best friend, text your sister/brother, or check in on your neighbors.
- What expectations of "normal" am I letting go of today? The COVID-19 pandemic has the capacity to affect every person in the world. The best way to face the storm is to acknowledge its reality. The more we let go of our expectations of "normal," the faster we can adapt.
- How am I getting outside today? In general, walking, running, and biking solo or with your immediate household can be done with minimal risk of catching or spreading the virus. After you have been cooped up a while, taking a walk outside can do wonders on your physical and mental health. Opt for less-traveled paths or go during off-hours to minimize contact with others. Other options may be sitting in the sun for 10 minutes, step outside to see the moon rise, open a window for fresh air, etc.
- How am I moving my body today? Indoors or outdoors, make sure you are doing something each day to move your body! Run the stairs in your building, do 5 push ups, squats, sit-ups, burpees, etc. If you have limited mobility, can you roll your ankles in a circle while seated? Massage the tension out of your jaw or shoulders?
- What beauty am I creating, cultivating, or inviting in today? What good can you do today? Practice kindness, smile at a stranger, send a nice email, plant a garden, engage in a DIY project or arts and crafts with the family. Remember small actions can make big differences in your life and others!
Good nutrition is essential in stressful times. The best foods for our mental health are generally the healthiest foods. Some of these options include:
- Complex carbohydrates found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains that slowly release energy and stabilize our moods.
- Foods high in Vitamin A, B, C, D, and E, as well as minerals Iron, Zinc, and Selenium. Lack of B vitamins are common in cases of depression.
- Prebiotics and Probiotics found in fermented foods like kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt can reduce inflammation, and boost our moods and cognitive function.
- Plant-based foods, especially leafy vegetables and fruit. Try to incorporate the whole rainbow of produce colors to get all the phytonutrients your body needs!
Moving and stretching - indoors and out
You may not be able to go to the gym, but it's still important to maintain some kind of exercise like walking, running, or biking outside. Make sure to keep a safe distance from other people - ideally about 6 feet.
Staying active can increase immunity and boost mental health. Exercising can also fight some of the physiological symptoms of anxiety. Try these tips to help relieve your anxiety:
- Outdoor activities such as gardening and hiking outdoors helps alleviate anxiety and improve well-being.
- Performing a moderately vigorous dance or exercise sequence requires concentration, which can help serve as a distraction from stressful events.
- Basic yoga can help you remain present and in the moment - effectively quieting the mind.
- Muscle relaxation: tense up your muscles in a specific area of your body (such as shoulders), count to five and then release for another count of five. work your way up or down your body.
Stress and sleep
Managing your stress and anxiety is crucial for getting enough sleep - and getting enough sleep is crucial for just about every other aspect of your health!
Yoga and meditation are great tools for managing stress. Check to see if local yoga studios are streaming guided classes, or turn to apps like Headspace and Talkspace for virtual mindfulness training and therapy.
Ginger, a free online resource, has made available resources to help you stay grounded on their website. Ginger's behavioral health coaches have identified the greatest challenges faced during COVID-19 and have curated resources from their app to help people navigate this unprecedented time. There's something on Ginger Roots for everyone!
Work from home: how to avoid burnout
Going into an office every day was a clear distinction between work life and personal time. Now there is no commute to mark the beginning and end of the day and the office could now be your kitchen or other comfortable areas of your home. Working longer than your normal schedule can be easier to do while working from home.
How to fight it:
- Set your work hours and communicate with your boss and colleagues so that you can stick to your schedule.
- The end of your shift will signal you to switch gears to personal time. Change into more comfortable clothes, go outside for some fresh air, go for a run or do a home workout!
Lack of Control
Employees who feel that they lack control over their schedules, interactions, and time management are at risk for burning out.
How to fight it:
- Create a schedule that works for you - designate time for work, family, and yourself. Stick to it!
Missing Social Connections
Even if you're in a crowded house, your family members might not offer the same support your colleagues did when it comes to issues with work.
How to fight it:
- Be more deliberate with your social interactions when working from home.
- Continue to reach out to your coworkers - set up a quick video check in and lean on them the way you would at work!
Although the CDC recommends postponing non-essential medical appointments such as annual physicals and dental cleanings, you can still use telemedicine for pre-scheduled appointments that need to happen now. Whether you have Anthem or Kaiser, know your options to receive care.
Wearing Masks During Covid-19
The County of Santa Clara is strongly encouraging residents to cover their faces when in public. Here is some information and instructions on how to make a face covering.
- Cloth face coverings should have multiple layers of fabric that fit comfortably but snugly, have ear ties or loops, and not lose their shape after being washed, the CDC says. They should also allow you to breathe without restriction.
- Disposable or store-bought surgical masks and N95 respirators should be reserved for hospital and medical personnel.