With the challenges we’ve faced over the past twenty or so months, lines have blurred between our work and home lives.
A recent Allianz Study (2021) showed that over two in three Australians struggle with balancing work and personal life since the start of the pandemic and are no longer able to find time to transition between their work and personal life. Perhaps you can relate?
The need for incorporating easy to integrate rituals and practices into our day can be incredibly helpful to strike that balance. Here are a few to get you started:
1. Bookmark the start and end of your day
When you were working from the office, that moment you hit “shut down” or got in the car, train or bus, might have acted as the signal that your workday was beginning or ending. Working from home makes it a lot harder to send those messages to our brain.
Be intentional about how you want to start and end your day, think of that time like your “prime real estate”, and how you might go about it from the inside out vs. the outside in (enter social media feeds, emails etc.), and instead take some time to maybe go for a walk, have a cup of tea distraction-free or a nourishing brekkie getting ready for your day.
2. Be clear on your work boundaries and set a time to stop checking notifications
It can be tempting to get that dopamine fix and check your emails after hours since they’re always in close proximity. Here is where boundaries are super helpful, maybe not checking before 8 am or after 5 pm, setting app limits for yourself, or leaving your phone in a different room.
On the weekend it may be helpful to put your laptop away from where you can see it, keep your office door closed (if you have one) and perhaps even delete your email app from your phone until Monday.
3. Create separate spaces for work and relaxation
Think about sticking to only doing your work in a specific spot, separate from where you relax or find time for self-care. If you can’t create different spaces you can try different moods or atmospheres i.e. candles vs. harsh lights, close the blinds or curtains, or use some different scents via essential oils or room sprays. Here is where changing your clothes into something comfortable will also be a big help.
4. Go for a devices-free walk
When your day is starting or finished, think of ways you can switch your work-self on and off, a great way is to go for a walk around the block as your “commute to and from the office”. Some fresh air and a little exercise is going to lift your mood dramatically. Leave your phone at home and let yourself zone out away from Netflix and social media notifications.
5. Stick to your work hours
Working from home can often find us working a little more than usual with our commute and often our break times shortened sometimes dramatically. It’s up to us to remember to take breaks and to shut off. Get outside for some fresh air, get up and do a few stretches, a pilates class or home workout on YouTube during your lunch, or text or call a friend. Make it a priority to take breaks and switch off when it’s time.
As we all learn to adapt to these changes and new ways of working and being, it’s important to take some time to focus on your own well-being and prioritise yourself. No one has it perfect, and we’re all figuring out how this looks for us, so be considerate of that in both your own experience and with others.