Since the pandemic reared its ugly head, we’ve had to get used to all kinds of changes to our lifestyles. From being told to stay at home to wearing face masks, life has changed drastically in the past two years. Many of us have swapped the office for a home office and, even as restrictions are lifted, working from home is still an option or even a necessity for some.
While working from home has its advantages, it also has disadvantages, not least that it’s difficult to distinguish between work and home life. Plus, it brings with it a whole new set of stressors – hello Zoom meetings, unreliable internet connections, feelings of isolation and the very real issue of working in pyjamas! No wonder, many work-from-home employees have found that their mood, focus and productivity have been affected. To counteract any stress you may be feeling, we suggest 10 ways to unwind and de-stress when you work from home so you can regain some balance in your life.
- Decide on a cut-off time – and stick to it
It’s all too easy to find that your workday extends into your free time. There’s no commute time to take into consideration and no need to rush home. You may find that you’re working extra hours, especially if you have a lot going on. It’s easy to work past your usual end-time and carry on working into the evening. If this sounds like you, create a schedule for your working hours that includes a start and end time. Don’t forget to incorporate regular breaks, including one for lunch. And then, make sure that you stick to your schedule – particularly your cut-off time.
- Take a break for a workout
It can be tiring to be sitting in the same place for hours on end, especially if you’re having to sit at your dining table or even work with your laptop on your knee. Getting up and walking around for 5-10 minutes every hour can help, but why not schedule a workout break? It doesn’t have to be a full-blown hour-long session. Stretching, yoga or perhaps a short HIIT session can help you to de-stress and give you a boost of energy to tackle the rest of the day.
- Ease muscular tension
Physical and emotional stress can show itself in many ways. Many of us experience aching shoulders and tight muscles from sitting hunched up over a desk all day. Working from home can just exacerbate the problem especially if your work area is not ergonomically designed. To counteract the aches and pains, there are several things that you can do. Warm showers and baths can help; especially if you aim the stream of hot water onto your shoulders. However, one of the best ways to relieve aching muscles is with a massage. Investing in a REBELTMPRO massage gun can help you to self-massage the areas that affect you most. The pounding action of the head will release tight muscle fibres and help to ease out any knots that have formed. Simply use once a day by running the massage head over the affected muscles to keep them relaxed. It takes less than 15 minutes, but the positive benefits are ongoing.
- Schedule in a lunchtime walk
It’s all too easy to work straight through lunch or eat a sandwich at your desk while you’re working. However, getting yourself outside for a walk is far more beneficial. It’ll give you the chance to relax and get some exercise. Plus, the fresh air will do wonders for your mood and clear your head if you’re finding it difficult to switch off. You don’t have to walk for long; just 15 minutes will be enough to set the reset button.
- Forget about meal prep
When working from the office, it’s helpful to prepare meals in advance so that you always have a healthy lunch and evening meal ready to consume. It’s a great help, especially when you’re tired or don’t have the time to cook. When working from home, getting up from your desk to prepare something from scratch can give you much-needed time away from your work or screen. Plus, it will give you some thinking time – often our subconscious mind just needs some time to come up with solutions.
- Listen to a podcast or your favourite music
One of the easiest ways to lift your mood is to put on your favourite music. Having some music playing in the background while you work can be a great help. You may also find that listening to a podcast while you take a break can give your mind a rest from thinking about work-related issues.
- Catch up with work friends
Over the last two years, we’ve probably all been involved in more than one Zoom meeting and while it’s great to see your colleagues on screen, it’s not really the right time for a social catch up. Many workers feel isolated working from home, so why not schedule some extra meetings just to chat, share your news and have a laugh? It will keep your work relationships strong and give you some much-needed socialisation.
- Get outdoors
We’ve already mentioned scheduling time to get outdoors and walk but if the weather is nice and it’s practical, why not take your work outside into the garden, onto your balcony or even to your nearest park or outdoor café? You could also take your conference calls and phone meetings while walking outside. If working outside is not an option, maybe you can at least eat your lunch outdoors.
- Create a post-work ritual
When we worked in the office, our post-work ritual began as soon as we walked out of the building. Whether that was rushing to catch a train, driving home in rush hour traffic, or even catching an hour at a bar or gym, it signalled that the working day was over. Try to create a similar feeling at the end of your work-from-home day. Perhaps you can change clothes, schedule a workout, take a shower or head outdoors for a short walk. If you always do the same thing when you stop work, it will quickly become the thing that marks the transition from working to relaxing.
- Turn off technology
We rely on technology so much. Our lives are dominated by screens of various sizes from our mobile phones to our tablets, laptops, computer screens and, of course, TVs. It’s no wonder that we’re stressed. Many of us are staring at a screen from the moment we get up until the moment we go to bed. Find other ways to spend your downtime – whether that’s reading an actual book with pages, a creative hobby, gardening, cooking – you get the picture – anything that doesn’t need a screen. And try to turn off screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
The Bottom Line: Find Some Balance
Working from home can quickly become a stressful experience if you let it. So remember to define your work time from your home time, build in regular breaks, get outside, take opportunities to socialise and get off your screen. Both your work and your personal life will benefit if you take some of the above steps to find some balance.