Working virtually has become a new norm. While many of us enjoy the flexibility it allows, it is important to set boundaries in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Many virtual workers opt for a home office space, while others flock to coffee shops, bookstores, or libraries. When spending most of your working hours at home, it can be hard to feel like you’re not working, even when you are off the clock. Here are some tips and tricks to consider to help maintain healthy mental wellness when strategizing what style of work-life balance works best for you.
1. Start your day with a morning routine that is not centered around work
It can be tempting to jump straight from bed to your workspace since the commute is so simple, but this can wear on an individual over time. If morning routines are difficult for you, try something small like having a cup of coffee or tea, walking around the block, or reading a few pages of your favorite book or magazine before diving into work.
2. Don’t Make a Habit of Working From Bed
If you’re under the weather or just need some extra comfort occasionally, working from bed can be a way to remain productive when your energy is low. This should be reserved for rare or special occasions. Typically it is best to have one or more dedicated workstations if you have the space. If possible, keeping work outside your bed and even outside your bedroom is a great way to separate work time from leisure time. Doing too much work from bed can program the brain to remain in a work mindset even during times you’re not working. Separating your workspace from your living space can improve your sleep patterns, giving you more energy throughout the day.
3. Set Your Work Hours
This can be done months in advance or on a day-to-day basis. Give yourself a set start and end time, or several, throughout the day. While an urgent task may come through occasionally, setting boundaries on your working hours can be helpful for mental well-being. Alternatively, if your role requires frequent checking of emails or more on-call duty, schedule breaks to avoid becoming overwhelmed or burning out. Frequent short breaks can help you stay motivated and reduce stress. Make sure to update your calendar so that your fellow team members can be aware of your working and non-working hours.
4. Plan Personal and Social Activities to Look Forward To
Working from home can make it easy to stay at home more often than we may realize. If you’re struggling with setting a boundary on when to end your work day, plan events with friends & family or decide when you’d like to cook dinner while catching up on your favorite TV show or podcast. Find what activities, social or individual, that work best for you.
5. Reduce Screen Time
Screen time comes with the territory when working remotely. Often, we are exposed to screen time when we’re not working as well. Try an activity you usually pair with, for example, scrolling through social media, and consider replacing that screen time with listening to music or a podcast or calling a friend or a family member. It can also be helpful for some to take anywhere from 1-2 minutes to 30 minutes or more off-screen when switching from work time to personal time.
6. Reach Out During Difficult Times
If you feel overwhelmed or struggle with work-life balance, contact one of the wellness resources in Philadelphia listed below. Sharing your experiences and struggles with a professional counselor will hopefully give you the tools to help you adjust to ensure you can do ok moving forward.
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