Working from home is convenient in a lot of ways: you don’t have to worry about traffic, you save money on gas, you can blast music while working, and you get to wear sweatpants all day long. With all these conveniences, though, there are some added stressors to the WFH life. Without physically leaving the office, sometimes it’s tough to actually end the work day. Working from home may also feel lonely without the chatter of the normal office setting. With the internet problems and constant distractions that our homes can come with, the stress can pile up, leaving us drained and unmotivated. Fortunately, there are some actions we can take to ease the stress of working from home.
CREATE A TECH-FREE MORNING ROUTIINE
According to AdWeek, 80% of smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 44 check their phones immediately after waking up. Especially if you use your smartphone as your morning alarm, it’s tempting to get pulled in by the notifications sitting on your lock screen, or check your social media accounts or e-mail to see what happened overnight. But waking up to the influx of information our phones carry can cause more stress and be more time-consuming than we realize. Instead, opt for at least a 30-minute tech-free morning routine. Go for a walk outdoors, read, stretch, or cook some breakfast. This will help your mind wake up naturally, and you can take care of your notifications when the work day begins.
Even if you have the perfect home-office setup, sitting in one spot for 8 hours can be monotonous. Since you have more room and freedom in your home, take your laptop to the couch, the porch or the kitchen table if you’re feeling unmotivated. Sometimes all we need to refocus our minds is a change of scenery, even if it’s a small one.
TAKE AN ACTUAL LUNCH BREAK
How many times have you eaten your lunch mindlessly while working? Without coworkers to eat with, it’s easy to heat up some leftovers and eat without even tasting them while you’re focused on a task. Although it does take a little more time in your work day, try to take an actual lunch break. Put the computer away for an hour, sit at the table, and enjoy your lunch. Giving your mind the break mid-day will help increase your focus and creativity during your afternoon tasks.
SET AN “END-OF WORKDAY” TIME
Since ending the workday isn’t initiated by clocking out or walking out of the office, it’s easy to get caught up in the “just one more task and I’m done” mindset that extends our workday by an hour or more. As tempting as it is to cross that extra item off your to-do list, remind yourself that you’re overworking at the expense of your mental health. Instead, set an alarm for the end of your work day, and when it goes off, STOP WORKING! Enjoy your evening by cooking dinner, calling friends or family, working out, or watching a good movie. Reclaiming your evenings will lead to less stress and give your something to look forward to during your day.
While this one might be tricky depending on where you live, try to find opportunities to get outside. This can be done before work, during your lunch break, or after work. Whether you go for a jog at the park, a walk around your neighborhood, or even enjoy an afternoon outside on your patio, getting outdoors in nature will boost your mood, lower your stress levels, and literally add some sunshine into your day.