In this time of social distancing, most of us are working from home. While working from home has its perks, no doubt, it can also turn out to be a not-so-pleasant experience for many of us. With everyone being at home, there may be distractions from other family members, the news, and an influx of non-work-related phone calls and texts. Also, it can be hard to juggle other important tasks such as house cleaning or cooking which can leave you feeling even more stressed out than if you were actually in the office.
The main cause of work-from-home stress is lack of structure. It may sound ironic since the structured schedule of having to wake up at a certain time to get to work is one of the main things we dislike about working outside the home. However, while we do not need to have such a strict routine when working from home, you will find that having a solid work-from-home plan will help you enjoy this time a lot more and reduce your stress levels significantly. Here are some tips we recommend for making your work-from-home life stress-free:
1. Create an 8-hour schedule.
It may seem like an unnecessary task but without creating a set schedule, things can go off track quite easily. Use a calendar, a white board (if you have one) or a journal to set up your tasks for each day. We know that tasks can change daily or hourly, even with the best planning. However, designating time slots for each task will help you stay on track and let you know when to move on to something more important. Make sure that you include things like lunch time in your schedule.
2. Allow yourself to sleep in.
Make use of the extra time you now have from not commuting. The average person in America commutes a minimum of 30 minutes daily and many of us commute an hour or more. In a normal workday, people wake up as much as 3 hours before their work start-time. These three (3) hours are used for getting dressed, preparing lunch and breakfast, dropping off kids and commuting. Working from home eliminates much of that time in the mornings so use those extra hours to sleep in. Don’t feel guilty about it either. You will feel much more relaxed and ready to tackle that list of tasks you just prepared.
3. Prioritize your beauty routine.
Working from home can make it easy to forget that you still need to take care of your skin. Your skin always needs to be cared for regardless of what is going on around you. Besides, you still want to look great for those video conference calls. Keeping up your beauty routine isn’t just about looking great for the camera, but it helps boost your mood and self-confidence too. Now is a great time to try new skin products, or perfect your routine with new beauty techniques.
When you are working away from home, your morning beauty routine is likely very quick and condensed because you don’t have much time. Now that you have more time in the morning, use this opportunity to add in those extra steps that you often miss. Keep up your face mask routine, massage your skin with some facial tools or add that extra step you’ve always wanted to implement but didn’t have the time to commit to. For some relaxing skincare rituals, check out our product pages and follow the skincare meditation rituals that we have created for each product. We also have a relaxing face mask meditation that you can listen here.
4. Make your mornings mindful.
In addition to perfecting your skincare routine, use your mornings to add things like meditation. On your average work-away-from-home day these things can be hard to fit in, but use the extra time you have now to develop a solid meditation practice. If you already have a practice going, use this opportunity to add more time to your meditation sessions. If you are used to going to the gym in the mornings, find a mindful online workout to substitute. Many yoga and meditation practitioners are offering online sessions during this time. We have shared some here on our Relaxation Events page.
5. Change your pajamas and take a bath.
It can be tempting to jump right into the work day straight out of bed but don’t do it. Your mind is already accustomed to shifting gears when you wake up, get dressed and start your journey to the office. Since you’re no longer leaving home to go to work, you no longer have those physical cues that your mind needs to shift gears. When you take a bath (or shower) and change into something other than your PJs, it provides a clear distinction in your mind as to what is work and what is relaxation.
Your morning cleansing ritual will refresh and revive you for your day ahead and the feel of water over your skin will signal to your brain that you are going from sleep mode to work mode. It can even benefit you when it is time to go to sleep again. Since you are making it clear to your brain, through these actions, that work is different from sleep, whenever it is time to relax, you can do so with ease.
6. Feng shui your space.
Feng shui is the Chinese art form of organizing your space for the free flow of energy. It includes using objects such as plants and crystals or even arranging your furniture to make your space more conducive to calm and clarity. The first step is to make sure you have a designated work area at home. It doesn’t have to be an office but even a little nook where you can feel comfortable (except your bedroom). Once you have found a space that you can use, make sure it is clutter-free in addition to being functional. Situate your work area where you can get lots of natural light and avoid spaces with sharp corners and turns. These harsh angles are a no-go in Feng shui as they are considered to be points where energy flow can get cut off.
7. Listen to music while you work.
One of the advantages of working from home is that you can listen to music without worrying about disturbing your coworkers. You can choose any song and turn the volume up as much as you wish. Make use of this opportunity. Some of the best types of music to listen to while working are nature sounds or a bit of jazz but you can (and should) certainly listen to anything that makes you feel more productive and relaxed.
8. Take regular breaks.
It can be tempting when working from home to just keep going like the Energizer bunny. You are in your own, familiar space and wearing comfortable clothing. What could possibly go wrong, right? The answer to that is overworking could happen. Being in your comfort zone could make it easy to forget that you need to come up for air. Take regular breaks to eat properly and move around, get some fresh air outside or even socialize with someone else in your household. If you’re really bad at remembering to take breaks, set your alarm for different times throughout the day so you can remember to step away from the screen.
9. Stick to your cut off time.
While working from home you may find that you’re doing more work than you normally would in the office. With no traffic jam to avoid or evening errands to run, being at home can quickly turn your normal 8-hour shift into 10 hours or more. This can lead to burnout at home and if you’ve had a particularly stressful day on the job, that stress can carry over into your home life. The best way to avoid that is to adhere to your ending work time. Shut your computer down, close your laptop and start moving away from your work area when it’s quitting time. When your home is now the office as well, setting this important boundary becomes even more crucial. There are other boundaries you need to set which we’ll discuss in our next tip.
10. Set boundaries for bosses, friends and family.
Friends and family may not always realize you are still working, especially if they are not in work mode themselves. Remind them politely that you are busy during your work hours and let them know when you have breaks and can talk to them. Do not answer their text messages or phone calls during this time as it will send the wrong signal that you are available.
Boundaries are needed for coworkers and bosses too. Let them understand that you are not available after your typical work hours and refrain from answering their calls or texts after you end work. Also, during online meetings, don’t feel pressured to turn on your camera if you don’t have to. Unless you have something to demonstrate, turn your camera off. Using the camera feature in online meetings requires you to dress more professional than you may want to. This can be a source of added stress to dress up (and put a bra on) as you would if you were in the office. If there is no need for you to be in front of the camera just politely decline and use your microphone only.
What are some of the things you are doing to make working from home easier? Let us know in the comments below.