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Just Ask Jan: Involuntary Homebody

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Dear Jan,

I have been working from home since March and I have to be honest – I’m going a bit stir-crazy.  At first, I thought this would be a great opportunity to spend more time with my family, incorporate personal development, and enjoy a more relaxed environment.  After 4 months, I feel imprisoned.  I get up and “go to work” in my home office (read: spare bedroom) and at the end of the day I go… nowhere. 

I need some kind of outlet or space.  Something that doesn’t make me feel like I’m either working, or hanging out in the same space.  Suggestions?


Involuntary Homebody


Hello Involuntary Homebody!

I’ve spoken to many colleagues (on Facetime or Facebook Messenger, thank you Friends) that also thought working remotely would be a time to get caught up on work projects, become organized, make strategic plans, work out more, take better self-care, and try new recipes, DIY projects, all the things.  After a couple of months they were going stir crazy too. I’ve heard from other colleagues that they are thriving in this new work environment and doing all those things! I am not one of those, I lost track of time to the point that my husband came in the bedroom with dinner and asked if I wanted to eat at my desk.

That’s when I knew it was seriously time to do something differently. I’ve read that it has to do with introvert and extravert personalities, however for this answer Homebody, I advise if you would like to go deeper into the reasons “why” that happened, I recommend reading this book: The Power of Introverts, 9 Best Loved Stories by Susan Cain.

Back to your request, suggestions for a space or outlet. It’s an everyday commitment to be disciplined to make a change, isn’t it? Please start small, set your alarm to get up during the day and stretch, walk around either inside or out, that will give you some space in your own head. Carve out a stretching spot in your home (maybe the bedroom you’re working in) with a matt, some cushions and maybe some dumbbells or rubberized tubing and call it your own. Put chairs around it if you have animals or kids and let them all know it’s yours and only yours.  Don’t do a Brittney though and light all the candles around it, just maybe use a couple of battery operated mood setting candles if you like that type of thing and maybe some relaxing music. Some of us like the yoga subscriptions on our tablets to ease into the day but anytime is a good time to relax, refresh and renew. I have even heard some people go to their cars and sit inside to read and listen to music, because they miss driving, but if you want to, go for a drive! Spaces and places can be as simple as a pillow on the floor or turning a chair another direction to laying down some painters tape to putting up a tent or canopy in the yard.

I hope this helped spark an idea for you to use and please remember to stay safe, stay well, clear your mind, breathe deeply and listen to your heart. This too shall pass.





Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

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