With more people working from home, we don’t get that natural break line of Office Hours to switch off computers, emails, and other correspondence. People find themselves burnt out from trying to parent, homeschool, work, manage a household, and taking care of themselves. We are working later because there are no defined boundary lines for work and personal life.
Set New Expectations
While it might seem like you have gained more time because you are not commuting anymore, you have gained so many more responsibilities. You might be sharing an Office space with your significant other. You might have to discipline your children while you are on an office call and praying that you remembered to hit the mute button; you may have a cat that truly believes the best place for them is in front of your computer screen or on your keyboard. Whatever the new difficulties are, you need to adjust your mindset that you will not be as productive as you were before COVID-19, and you shouldn’t criticize yourself for that.
Set a Timer
Make it an everyday practice to set a timer for yourself to get up and move around. When you were in your workplace, you probably got up to use the bathroom, refill your water bottle, or get more supplies out of the closet down the hall. Because everything is in a smaller space in your home, you have less opportunity to stretch your legs and give yourself a mental break while still being at work. When your timer goes off, take a small break to walk your halls, or simply stand and stretch. Stretching will relieve some of the stress and tension that builds up from hours of work.
Set Up a Workspace
When you go to work, you become mentally ready to get through your to-do list and be productive. At home, often you are sharing space in the dining room or living room. When you create your personalized workspace, you set yourself up mentally to get down to work. It isn’t just you who needs a dedicated space; if you have any children attending school online, they need the same type of room to get in the zone and be mentally prepared for learning.
When you work your timeframes geared towards your office hours, you have limited connectivity after hours. While working at home, you need to establish your office hours and hold yourself accountable to log off and have personal or family time. If you are used to commuting time, you may want to try to mimic a commute. As an example, you could take a walk or simply take a few laps around your house. The point is to mentally separate yourself from your work to be present when you are winding down or being part of family time.
Set Yourself Up for Kindness
You might be used to operating on a certain level and holding yourself to those standards; you need to give yourself some grace and kindness in this time of great upheaval. If you are talking to yourself in a manner that you would never let another person speak to you that way, don’t allow yourself to put you down mentally. Unkind mental talk gnaws at your confidence level and adds stress to your life, and now life is stressful enough.
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