When stress begins to take over, here’s what you need to do.
The New Normal brought about rapid changes in many lives. Those who were accustomed to working from an office space found it difficult to manage a new division of space at home. As the months went by, people gradually settled into the work-from-home model. Although many business owners were affected, the work-from-home model did work for some industries.
I’ve always been transported to a different space when I worked at my office desk. Years later, I found myself working on my own as I love my space and independence while adhering to my goals. Work-from-home was thus not a new story for someone who has been following this for a couple of years. However, I saw many grappling with being distracted while working from home to feeling demotivated about dressing up. In the last month, I’ve particularly noticed a great number of people who are quite tired emotionally while feeling physical pain. Women, in particular, have shared their feelings of depression without realizing that there is a beauty in working from home.
Balance, however, is something many fail to achieve. I’ve been prey to the continuous process much earlier than many of my readers, which is why I am writing down these tips to support you to bring that balance from being productive to giving yourself the much-needed rest.
6 Tips to Ease the Stress in a Work-from-Home Environment
As the situation has made working from home a mandatory affair for many, there’s no reason why you need to face emotional turmoil by working long hours.
The truth about work-from-home stress may be due to the following:
- Extension of work hours to please a Manager
- High number of video calls
- Decrease in me-time
- Flexible hours with no boundaries
- A resistance to availing leaves
Here’s how to add a balance to your work-from-home routine.
Mark your Work and Personal Time
You need to begin your day at the same time as you would while going to the office. In a similar fashion, you’d need to decide the hours to log off. This is also dependent upon your Manager and the kind of understanding you have with the organization. By starting your day at work and ending it at the same time every day, you give a message about maintaining a work schedule while displaying that you do need time off from work. It’s common to grab your tea and snacks and keep working because you don’t have tea breaks anymore! Many even have their lunch and dinner at the work desk. The key here is to complete your tasks in the defined hours and ensure you have time for yourself.
Plan your Day in Advance
You know your priorities so it’s important to plan your day to be productive. You can always set a time frame for each task to be on schedule. Know that stretching beyond your work hours will only reduce your energy for the next day. Be as realistic as possible to plan your tasks. A plan in place saves time and stress spent on organizing the day.
Decide a Specific Area for Work
If you’re one of those who work with their gadgets at the dining table or in your personal space, you need to rethink your space. Why do I mention that? The work-from-home model may slowly take over your entire space if you do not maintain boundaries for yourself. Ensure you eat in the dining area. Do not use your workstation as a make-shift dining table. When you maintain different areas, you also refresh the mind by detaching yourself from the gadget for a couple of moments. A good ergonomic chair and a suitable work desk will also improve posture keeping the energy levels higher when you follow a work-from-home routine.
Learn to Say No
I know in these times, most people are finding it hard to say ‘No’. There is a fear over the insecurity of saying ‘No’ for being perceived as someone who doesn’t ‘want to work.’ This is where many cause a lot of internal stress. If you find it difficult to refuse work, you need to be realistic and put forth the same reasons in a polite manner. You can say, “That sounds great, I’d love to work on this project, but I’d like to finish all the assignments first before I take this up.” You display you want to work but need to complete the current task list before adding more to your list.
Take those Short Breaks
You might as well reach out for your phone to browse social media, but here I’d say, please wait. That is not what I am suggesting here. Take a break to step out into a fresh space. If you can, step down and take a walk. You can even do basic stretches that will refresh your mind and body. If you reach out for your gadget, remember this cannot be considered as a break. A short break should be refreshing – talk to someone you know, enjoy nature, stretch, or walk!
Be Kind to Self
The New Normal may make you push yourself harder. You may tend to work round-the-clock to prove that “You are worthy of the task.” Every person I know has had their mental struggle around being good to self this year. There is a general perception, “The more you do, the better it will be,” leading to increased stress and an emotional low. It’s absolutely fine to be imperfect and struggle with your schedule. I admit I have pushed myself a lot in the initial months only to feel stressed and dejected with things. It’s when I created space for my emotions, I found myself easing up a bit. I’d say, have that tiny bit of chocolate or go for a sip of your favorite drink! You can cheat a bit and it’s ok!
The transition to the work-from-home model has shown us the importance of boundaries in life. These boundaries when maintained, help you to enjoy the work-from-home model. The shift is particularly stressful for parents, single parents, or even singles who have no support. The risk of employees burning out is higher unless there is compassion on both sides. You can easily set boundaries if you want to and the choice lies with you.