In a year like no other, 2020 brought on many unanticipated challenges as people’s homes became instant offices, schools and more. For many, this meant not only having a “day job” but also becoming the home’s resident IT support person, teacher for the kids and many other roles. With so much new to learn, it is no wonder that many are feeling stressed, to-do lists seem never ending and even simple tasks can seem overwhelming. Below are some tips on how to keep the mind sharp and to remember all that you need to learn and do.

Recreate Your Routine

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of working from home instead of an office is that there is no clear separation between personal space and working space. While it may seem more efficient to wake up and plug right in, it may not be the best idea. Getting dressed (even if in sweatpants), eating breakfast, having coffee and doing what you would normally do before getting to the office is important. If you were up for that 5 AM spin class every morning, have the same workout schedule at home. Of course, another change is that commutes are eliminated and with it is the time to get into the right mindset about all that’s ahead for the day. So, it is important to recreate that time. Use the same amount of time that you would during a commute to meditate, listen to music, etc. to set the day off on the right tone.

Take a Tutorial

Another challenge of working from home is having to learn a new set-up. Meetings that were in-person are now conducted via video conferencing. Working collaboratively with your team around a whiteboard is now done digitally. With all of these changes, many people have had to rapidly learn new software and new office systems – all without the benefit of staff that can come in and check the computer quickly to help. If being your own IT person is intimating, know that there may be someone else having the same challenge. Fortunately, many tips and tricks can be found by searching online for tutorials. Then, once you learn, stick a post-it on your computer with handy shortcuts that you can refer to.

Prep Your Pantry

When the kitchen is steps away during the workday, it can be easy to mindlessly snack – particularly when stressed or feeling low energy. So, make sure that the pantry is stocked with easy to grab, healthy snacks that can not only help keep calories in control but also help to make sure your mind is sharp. According to Harvard Health, foods like green leafy vegetables, fish, berries, and walnuts have been linked to better brainpower. Additionally, cocoa flavanols, which are plant-based nutrients specially extracted from the cocoa bean, have been shown to increase blood flow throughout the body, including the brain, delivering the high levels of oxygen and nutrients needed to maintain optimal performance.

In fact, in four prestigious clinical studies researchers have found that a super-high concentration of cocoa flavanols – 750 mg, found in the daily supplement CocoaVia™ Memory+ – has been proven to improve these three different aspects of memory in just eight weeks, when taken daily: word recall (e.g., remembering names), spatial memory (e.g., remembering where you last placed your phone), and long-term memory (e.g., valuable memories from childhood).

 Swap Stories for Support     

Even if it feels like there may not be enough hours in the day to get it all done, it is still beneficial to make time to socialize, whether it’s in-person or virtually, with friends and family for support. So many people are in similar situations and solidarity can do wonders for reducing stress and clearing your mind. Remember that boosting your brainpower might make it easier to take on the new, unexpected challenges that each day brings. (SP)