Working from home has become the new normal during quarantine. We’ve started zooming and binge-watching Netflix with equal gusto. But one of our biggest challenges has been drawing the line between work and home when it’s all happening under one roof. How do you turn off at the end of the day? How do you find balance when everyone needs you, the computer is your lifeline to the outside world and your living room is now your office?
Here are 5 basic tips to help you find balance and peace as you continue to work from home.
Draw the line and know where “work” ends and “home” begins. That means employing physical strategies such as very specific work hours and a designated office space that is away from the home-center such as the kitchen and living room. Don’t lay on the couch with your laptop or take it to bed because you didn’t finish your emails. Set up a desk in a quiet room, preferably somewhere you can close the door when work is “over” and you can re enter home life.
It also means setting internal boundaries too. Psychologically, working from home can be confusing. You may experience feelings of guilt from working while the kids are in the other room and conversely, have anxiety about an upcoming meeting while you’re with the kids. Have clear expectations and open communication with everyone in the family, make a calendar with play, work and personal time so everyone knows what to expect.
- Keep active. Since you can’t get to the gym or yoga studio, sign up for free classes at home. Set up an exercise zone and make the time to move. You won’t feel balanced if all you’re doing is working and cooking and homeschooling. To maximize your mental health, take small movement breaks throughout your work day as well. Five minutes an hour to walk or take a stretch/yoga break or even practice breath-work will do wonders for your sanity.
- Create a shutdown ritual. A few minutes before your “work hours” are completed, make a plan for the next day, make sure you’re not leaving any emails hanging that may nag at you and understand what your calendar is for the next day. You’ll give yourself peace of mind to close the door to reenter home life.
- Plan and prioritize social interactions. Right now, this means family zoom time or happy hour or a nature walk with close friends. The isolation factor is real and can quickly throw you into a depression unless you have some social interactions to look forward to. Remember, we are social animals. Even if you think you’re okay on your own, the connection can help keep you grounded when things get rough.
- Give yourself grace. Working from home is hard and working at home during a pandemic is even harder. Our focus isn’t the same, because our brains are subconsciously pulling focus to our survival needs so we may feel like we’re in a constant state of brain fog. If you get any work done, you’re doing well. 🙂