Living and working is going to continue to be different for the foreseeable future. Whether it’s another public health challenge, better workplace efficiency, or some other reason, working from home is going to be a constant for many professionals. Therefore, learning how to balance work and life will be key to mental health and living well in a post pandemic life.
What follows are some tips for separating work and life while they exist in the same space.
Post Pandemic Life: For Work
Create A Routine
Build a pre-work, working hours, and post-work routine. For example, while working from your home, it’s recommended that you create a pattern, same as if you were working at an office or had to attend classes at school.
A psychological component of getting ready for the day, eating, getting dressed, and heading out to work triggers our brains to think of work as separate from living at home.
Some recommendations toward setting a routine is to wake up around the same time every morning, take a shower, eat, and get dressed before heading to a workspace.
Have A Dedicated Work Space
To separate work from living, be sure to have a dedicated workspace away from your bedroom, if possible.
This separation will allow your brain to see work as a different experience than sleeping, relaxing, and living, making work an additional trigger in the brain than other things.
In addition, this strategy will make it easier to stay organized between the two tasks of work and living, give you the freedom to do work, come to it when it’s time to begin, and leave it behind at the office as you would have before.
Meals And Breaks
Create a workflow for your day much like you would at the office. Create a built-in schedule for meetings, breaks, and lunch as you would have before.
Again, to maintain positive mental health while working from home it’s easy to feel alienated. By building on the routine that gives you breaks and lunches as before, you can differentiate work from other parts of your life.
Set Time Boundaries
This tip is crucial. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean that work is your home.
Let’s put that another way. Have a hard start and stop time for work and when the day is done, put work aside and move on to other areas of your life similar to what you would have done leaving the office.
It’s too easy to bring work “home” with you when you’re already home, but by creating hard start and stop times to your day, you’ll have a better work-life balance leading toward better positive mental health.
Post Pandemic Life: For Home
Self Care: Exercise, Relax, Enjoy
One of the easiest things to put aside while working from home is the enjoyment of life. It’s easy to work too long, too often, and let work become the priority to living.
Instead, taking time for self-care in whatever function you choose, from exercise, hobbies, reading, or other relaxation techniques will help keep you grounded and happy.
Maintain Your Health
Hopefully, you’ve been keeping yourself healthy for the last two years, even better if you focused on that well beforehand. But, one sure-fire way to make sure you can deal with the ebbs and flows of life – and the stresses they bring – is that you are in tip-top shape. Not only through regular physical exercise but by eating the healthiest, most nutritious diet you can.
In addition, with the sudden changes we’ve had to adapt to, mental health has taken a hit for many. Be sure to make mental health maintenance a part of your healthcare routine. This can be through seeing a therapist regularly or taking regularly schedule mental breaks (whatever that means to you) so that you can keep your balance.
Make Sleep a Priority
If you’re safeguarding your health and taking care of yourself, indeed you look great – but your beauty rest is still critical. Sleep is a time of severe restoration and repair as far as our brains and bodies are concerned. So, if you’re struggling with your new routine of in-person work, making sure you get the appropriate amount of sleep each night is essential. If you’re struggling with falling asleep or staying asleep, there are ways to fix your issues.
Over-the-counter sleep aids can help, or even in some areas, you may have access to CBD oils and products that can help calm your mind and maintain a deep sleep. Other methods include aromatherapy, relaxation techniques, or supplements like melatonin.
If you’re really struggling after trying gentler, more natural approaches to restful sleep, it would be best to consider reaching out to your primary care doctor to see if you need some prescription medicine to take when you need more help getting a good night’s sleep.
Remember To Do Things For Fun
Life may be different now and for the foreseeable future, but it’s still possible, and should be a priority, to continue to do things that bring you joy in life.
This may include shopping, time with friends and family, eating out, dinner parties, weekend trips, or daytime getaways. Of course, whatever you choose to do should be done with precautions and a little bit of planning to make sure you and your family are safe.
It’s normal to feel a sense of stress as with any life change, but as a strong, professional woman, you are capable of making it work and thriving in your post pandemic life.