Remote work is blurring the work-life balance for millions of Americans, and causing some mental health issues in the process. Here are some tips for managing your stress and finding a healthier balance.
I’d always jokingly maintained that the amount of time I spent at work each day helped me appreciate my family more. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t love my family. But there’s always been value for me in leaving my office, where it may have been a stressful or frustrating day, pulling into my garage, and being able to leave the workday’s trouble at the door.
When the office is just a room in the house and your coworkers are the same members of the family that you see every day, that balance can be harder to find. My den used to be where I played video games to review on my podcast or where I spent time writing for fun or painting or any other number of hobbies I have to relax and unplug. Now that same den is the office that I spend 8 hours a day in. When I’m done with work, if all I do is move from my desk to my recliner and boot up a video game, I could be spending 12 hours a day in the same space.
It’s easy to see how that could start to wear on a person after a time. Cabin fever, anyone?
So, here are a couple suggestions to help combat that cabin fever and maintain some work-life balance.
First and foremost, if you’re going to be doing work from home, pick a room to do that work in and only do it in that room. If the den is going to be where stressful conversations take place, then I need somewhere else I can go to de-stress. So, maybe I move the video game console to another room in the house.
Work your normal day. If you’re expected to be in the office from 8-5, be in the office from 8-5. But get out of that room for lunch. Get up and walk around the house (or block) for a break a couple times a day. When it’s the end of your shift, shut off the lights in that room and close the door on your way out.
It might be time, too, to pick up a new hobby. YouTube is a wealth of information and ideas. It’s the right time of year to try growing a garden. Maybe you want to plant a tomato for the first time. Watch YouTube and figure out how to prune it for maximum yield. Get on the sourdough train and perfect the perfect loaf of bread. Start birdwatching in your neighborhood. I’ve just started making some jewelry at home with leftover scrap copper from some electrical projects.
The point is, we all need that balance. We all need an escape. And if it’s hard now to get that escape the same way you used to, find your new escape. There are still plenty of things out there to discover and new things to enjoy.
I hope this helps you be safe and work well.