Many Americans, myself included, have spent more time at home this year thanks to the pandemic.

I've been fortunate enough to be able to work from home for much of the year, and while I've made it a point to be focused on my job during work hours (and, quite often, well after), I have allowed myself to take breaks more often than I do in the office.

Most of my breaks are spent walking around the house to check on my mother, who lives with me now due to health issues (hence my working from home) and to see what our dog, Leela, is up to.

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Leela is always doing something ridiculous and cute. She's a dog. That's her job. What's hilarious is that being at home more has allowed me to observe even more of her weird behavior than I have since we adopted her.

One thing I've noticed: Leela loves building pillow forts.

It's difficult to get a picture of her in one of her little pillow or blanket nests because she usually pops out of them and runs up to me when she hears me coming. Today, I got lucky because she was feeling lazy and just stayed put.

Leela has a couple of different methods for building these little forts of her. If the pillows are lined up along the back of the sofa, she simple plops down, throws her weight at them, and lets them fall on her as she settles in for a nap. If they pillows are already strewn about the couch, she has to do a lot of wiggling to burrow into them. Half of them end up on the floor, at which point you might find her with her head stuffed under just one pillow.

Most often, she just finds the nearest throw blanket and dances around with it until she somehow manages to wrap it around herself. We call it her "burrito dance", because she's usually wrapped up like a burrito by the end of it.

Photo by Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media
Photo by Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media

One of these days I'm going to need to set up a hidden camera to catch her building these nests and forts. When I do, I'll definitely share the footage here.

I'm writing this article not only as an excuse to show off my dog being her adorable self, but to encourage those of you working from home right now to take breaks once in a while.

I think there's a popular idea of people working from home just lounging around sipping coffee and watching Netflix while checking their email once in a while and doing half the work they did in the office.

There are dozens if not hundreds of articles sharing data that shows that we are, in fact, working longer hours at home and putting more stress on ourselves. This is just one example, but you can easily Google and find many more.

I find myself working from sun-up to past midnight most days. At first, I was terrified of taking breaks. I didn't want to be perceived as lazy or taking advantage of my employer to stay home and relax.

I felt that I had to proving myself every single second of every single day. I still feel that way to a great extent, but over time I realized I was burning out and that I needed to be taking breaks to reset myself. I was useless to my company if I was in a daze or had a throbbing headache all the time due to neglecting to drink water or break for meals.

So, I started taking more time during the day to just chat with mom and take the dog outside for a game of fetch. Not only has it helped me continue to perform professionally, but has allowed me to get to know my little buddy better and grow closer to her.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to interrupt her nap so we can go for a quick walk.

Leela the Derpy Dog - Photo by Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media
Leela the Derpy Dog - Photo by Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media

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