With the threat of COVID-19 still forcing most industries to rely on a remote workforce, it’s more important than ever to work on achieving a healthy work life balance. After all, many newly remote workers aren’t used to working from home. As such, achieving a healthy work life balance might be harder than they initially expected, especially if you are taking care of kids and pets at home, too.
Freelancers have struggled with achieving a healthy work life balance for decades leading up to the coronavirus. While they might have more experience, however, that doesn’t mean that remote workers are all thriving. Working solely from home can take a huge toll on your mental health, your stress levels, and your physical health. This is especially true now that we cannot visit the gym or see friends on a regular basis.
Here are some of the best ways that we can work on achieving a healthy work life balance as we continue to work remotely into the summer:
Set up an office
One of the best ways to achieve a better balance between work and home life is by establishing an office space. This doesn’t necessarily have to be another room of your home. Many people have looked for ways to sell a house fast because they crave a quieter office space or designated area for remote work. Unfortunately, people might not have that ability during this time of uncertainty. For people living in studio apartments or homes with little extra space, simply setting up shop at your kitchen table can be enough. Just be sure to sit in the same spot each day to let your body know that it’s time to work.
This is because our bodies get used to working in certain areas. If you’re spending time in other areas of your home, where you would normally sleep or relax, the line between work and home starts to blur. This can make you feel extra tired or stressed at work while making your home-time feel burdened with work tasks. That’s why many people struggle to fall asleep at night: playing on your phone and trying to relax in your bed at the same time simply don’t mix. The same can be said for remote working.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t experience a change in scenery every once in a while. Working on the patio and soaking up the sun can be a great way to give you a midday energy boost. But doing this too often might start to blur those lines. As such, you should only try to switch up your workspace once per week or for short periods of time when you need help getting past the 3pm slump.
When you set up your office, be sure to decorate it with the necessities. This can also help you engage in “work mode.” Set up your computer, any notebooks you need, and your usual office supplies to help set the stage. When you’re done with work, put these items away to enter “home mode.” Achieving a healthy work life balance is easier when you have boundaries.
Remember to telecommute
Social distancing is especially difficult for folks living alone at this time. In some cases, seeing your coworkers is the only social interaction one might experience throughout the day.
But even more pressing, communing with coworkers around the water cooler is vital for our health. It’s these small interactions that make us feel connected to our job and our coworkers. While you’re working from home, it can be easy to lose sight of your goals and feel like a simple cog in the machine when you’re all on your lonesome.
That’s why it’s vital to telecommute for meetings, social gatherings, and more. Video chatting is more popular than ever and Zoom reported higher earnings than they have ever had before thanks to social distancing guidelines. If you miss your coworkers or feel like you’re losing sight of your job’s purpose, there’s no harm in setting up a happy hour or a meeting during the week to touch base with your team.
Keep in mind, however, that this is easier for some jobs than others. It might be hard to have a team meeting in the middle of the day when your lawyer coworkers work on a multitude of difficult cases. After all, bail bonds have to be met, insurance brokers need to be called, and different time zones can make seeing some coworkers nearly impossible. Consider your job’s strengths and hang-ups before you ask to set up meetings. In most cases, however, telecommuting is a great way to bridge the divide between coworkers performing their job remotely. Just like essential workers in hospitals have their lab equipment, your strength lies in your computer and ability to communicate.
Engage in a regular routine
It might be tempting to wake up and clock into work at noon each day, but if that’s not your normal work schedule, you might be setting yourself up for failure.
We need to ease into our day. Forbes notes that those who consume content first thing in the morning are 27% more likely to have a negative day than those who do not. Start your morning with a large glass of water to awaken your body along with your mind. Then, try engaging in light physical activity, like walking around the block or performing morning stretches. Your body will feel more equipped to take on the day and your “work brain” will thank you for this extra effort later.
Routine also directly correlates with the need for a work space amidst the global pandemic.
“I’m saying you need to keep in mind the hours you should be working and the hours you are free to do whatever you want,” explains writer Victor Abadio from Toptal. “Of course, some flexibility is involved, especially when you need to cooperate with clients and remote teams on other continents. You’re working with a time that’s seven hours ahead of your local time, so that particular week you’ll be working a little later than usual. You have to adjust, but at the same time make sure you draw a clear line between work and play time.”
Our brains love patterns and establishing a consistent schedule is just one way to help us feel more productive throughout the day, whether you’re working remotely or engaging in hobbies after work.
Let’s be honest: everyone is exhausted right now, both mentally and physically. The last thing you want to do after staring at a computer all day is hit the treadmill. Unfortunately, this way of thinking will only exacerbate stress and lethargy.
A recently published study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that morning exercise, even for brief periods of time, can result in improved attention, better visual learning, and boosted decision-making abilities. Whether you’re looking for shoes for foot issues or a new pair of trainers, it’s worth it to invest in comfortable shoes to start running around your neighborhood.
Make exercise easier by slowly integrating it into your schedule. Start with 15-minute workouts each day and build up by five minutes after the first few days. You’ll start to crave that workout when you least expect it.
You can also work on getting your family involved. Kids need plenty of exercise during quarantine, too, and it’s particularly difficult to get lazy kids engaged without the help of a fun playground. Try going for walks while social distancing or playing catch in the backyard. Anything to get your family moving is a step in the right direction.
Take some time off
It might seem counterproductive to take time off when you can’t go anywhere, but we all need a break sometimes. This is especially true during quarantine. We’re all grieving the events we cannot attend, the jobs we cannot visit, and the friends we cannot see. Stress is at an all-time high and you can’t be expected to work at your peak performance without burning out. If you feel like you need a break, don’t hesitate to take some time off.
Even lounging about the house and working on hobbies for a day can make a world of a difference. If you have land around your home, you might even pack up the hard coolers and have a picnic outside. Getting outside is very good for your mental and physical health since we’re getting ample vitamin D and mood-boosting hormones when we step outdoors. The airports might be closed for now, but there’s no harm in setting up your own oasis in your back yard.
Keep in mind that you can also visit parks as long as you engage in social distancing guidelines. Wear face masks, keep six feet apart from others, and wash your hands after touching objects or other people. This might be hard for kids to remember, but this should be no problem for a burnt-out worker just trying to eat their lunch at the park.
Take note of when your stress gets too severe
Achieving a healthy work life balance is impossible if you’re burning the wick at both ends. When you need help, there’s no shame in reaching out for assistance. Contacting your friends, your doctor, your therapist, or your local emergency care center can make a world of a difference when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
It’s natural to feel stressed at this time. Take time for yourself and lean on others for support, even if you can’t see them face to face. Thanks to videochatting, you can see your loved ones without putting them at risk. Even a brief phone call can be enough to turn your day around. Try to work in regular phone calls when you need more help achieving a healthy work life balance.
Invest in hobbies
We will all remember 2020 for the lack of toilet paper, but many others will remember it for the lack of puzzles. More puzzles than ever have been sold during this period of quarantining as people pick up hobbies to pass the time. Whether that means painting, working out, or putting a puzzle together will vary from person to person.
You might even find that it’s the perfect time to look for repairable SUVs for sale. Garage monkeys are loving the extra time that they have to work on pet projects out in the garage, while the rest of their family is enjoying a little peace and quiet on their own. Picking up old hobbies or diving feet-first into your current passions will give you something to look forward to after work, a motivator that we all need during this uncertain time.
You might even find that picking up a new hobby is beneficial. Many people are working to improve their house by learning basic plumbing or carpenting skills. While you shouldn’t aim to perform a whole home remodel just yet, these little passion projects will give you something to keep your hands busy and your mind occupied instead of dwelling on the stress of work.
Achieving a healthy work life balance is possible
It might seem hard, but achieving a healthy work life balance during quarantine is not a fairy tale. By relying on these tips, you can lead a healthier, more productive life.