For the last 16 months, like most people, I've been working from home during the pandemic. There have been downsides to that, of course, like increased stress and loneliness. There's nothing that can make you feel lost quite like the unknown, and I think a lot of us have felt like that. But there have also been upsides, like saving time and money on commuting to work, not having to spend time with that coworker you're not a fan of, and being able to eat more healthily at home. Another unexpected benefit that I've found from WFH is that my skin has been in the best condition it's ever been in my adult life.
I'm someone who's struggled with their skin far more as an adult than I ever did as a teenager. Hormonal breakouts, dryness, congestion, hyperpigmentation — the works. While working from home, I've finally managed to make the changes to my skin I've been chasing for years. It glows and has minimal breakouts, and I experience zero congestion.
In my opinion, the main things that have made a big difference to my skin have been:
- Skipping makeup most days thanks to the camera-off option on Zoom.
- Actually having the time, energy, and mental space to build up a proper skin-care routine, try new products, and be consistent. No waking up too late to do my routine or being too tired to cleanse properly.
- Eating healthier foods and having time to make exercise a priority rather than a chore to fit around long working days and a commute.
- Less stress and fewer cortisol spikes. It sounds weird since the pandemic has been so stressful, but working from home allowed me to stick to a working pattern and really switch off from work during my breaks, as well as get to go outside during those breaks.
- A proper sleep routine and waking up naturally each day.
- A consistent environment. No jumping from meeting rooms with air conditioning to overheated offices to the outdoors.
As a freelance writer (a decision I made during the pandemic), I'm lucky that I don't have to return to the office, but if I did — and I know this is a big topic for discussion at the moment — I'd be pretty gutted for my skin. Working from home has made a huge difference in my life on many levels, and not having to worry about my skin is a big one for me.
Prepandemic, I'd never have gone outside with no makeup on, but now I find wearing it a chore. The freedom to go bare-faced has improved my confidence and completely changed how I feel about my skin. I'm no longer hiding or worrying about the way I look, and I use makeup to enhance rather than hide when I do wear it.
For anyone who is returning to the office, my biggest advice is to try to keep up as many good habits that you've built during WFH. Make time for them, especially the ones that make you feel great and improve your life. Building a routine is half the battle, so keep on making time for yourself — if we've learned anything in the last 16 months, it should be that our health matters and being kind to ourselves is so important.