During this pandemic, your work and personal life are probably so well integrated amidst the four walls of your home that there may be no balance. It’s difficult when you’re glued to the computer screen all day –– attending Zoom meetings and answering instant messages in real time. Understand that you’re not the only one dealing with this –– many individuals working from home are struggling with keeping this work-life balance.
“Maintaining a work-life balance has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, because many people find it hard to separate their personal and professional life. The lack of routine, commutes, and structure allows for unhealthy habits. Since we’re not held as accountable as we once were, many of us are finding ourselves sleeping at odd hours, skipping our workouts, and engaging in less play time. This makes space for more work. In a time where we feel that nothing is under control, it may be impulsive for us to want to control our careers,” says Parita Shah, a reiki practitioner and energy healer.
Here are five expert-approved tips on how to restore a healthy work-life balance while working from home.
Building specific boundaries for yourself will allow you to keep your work life in control, creating more time and space for your personal activities. “Contemplate what hours of the day are for work, but also what you’re going to hold yourself responsible for. Are you holding yourself accountable for the hours you work, the work you get done, or replying to every email in a timely manner? It’s essential to decide how much thought, effort, time, energy, and money you’re willing to sacrifice for your career,” says Shah. It may be helpful to create a list of your work responsibilities and set goals to achieve them –– step by step over a specific timeline.
Plan Your Day
It’s important to make sure you are spending your week balancing your work activities and your personal events. If you struggle cultivating a work-life balance, it probably isn’t realistic to say you’re going to completely avoid working on the weekends,” says Kristin Meekhof, a therapist and author of A Widow’s Guide to Healing. “Instead, spend time on non-work related events and then build on those items to slowly increase the time away from work.”
Dr. James Zender, a trauma psychologist and author of Recovering From Your Car Accident: The Complete Guide to Reclaiming Your Life recommends daily exercise as well as maintaining a healthy diet and sleep schedule. Make sure you incorporate time in your schedule to rest your body and take care of yourself.
Take some deep breaths
If work starts to get overwhelming, take some deep breaths to spark calmness and relaxation. Incorporate this mindfulness exercise in your schedule to get a bit of self-care every day.
Linda Lauren, a 4th generation psychic medium advises “Make an appointment with yourself at the same time of day, every day you can. Find a quiet space and a time when you will not be disturbed and sit with eyes closed just breathing easily for about 10 minutes. Make a regular practice of it and increase it as time goes on. Slowly inhale through your nose and slowly exhale out through your nose slowly to a count of four for each breath: inhale slowly with a four-count beat, exhale slowly to another four-count beat, all the while keeping your eyes closed. This will help create an inner peace that slows you down, thus helping with any stress you may have.”
Adopt a Hobby
Schedule some time to start a new activity to fuel your passion and rekindle joy. This will not only help you feel better but also give you a purpose –– something to look forward to in your day-to-day routine.
“Dedicating time to pursue a passion project or hobby can also help to maintain a balance. For example, if you long to write that book or blog, schedule time to connect with a friend for this purpose with and tell each other you’re going to write for 20 minutes and then use the last 10 minutes to share what you wrote,” says Meekhof.
“Finding an accountability partner you can check in with and support can lead to achieving your goal [of work-life balance],” adds Dr. Zender.
Whether it’s knitting or joining a book club, find something that ignites your creative mind and work with a partner to pursue this hobby.
Zoom fatigue –– the tiredness of being on Zoom 24/7 –– is real. It can definitely get overwhelming sometimes and if you have the bandwidth, take a few days off to get some well-deserved RRR (rest, relaxation, rejuvenation).
“Taking a few mindful breaks throughout the day, unplugging during the weekend, and taking a vacation replenishes the mind, body and spirit. It gives our nervous system time to process all the stimuli that come our way. It also breaks the loop of the thousands of automatic thoughts that run through our mind each day so that we can begin to see in new ways. As we step out of the pattern of workaholism, we connect to the deeper purpose of our existence which may be joy, love or spiritual evolution,” says Shah.
Give yourself some time and space every so often to take a break, whether it is extending your lunch break or sleeping in for an extra hour. These changes may seem subtle but they are actually super meaningful and transformative in promoting a healthy and happy work-life balance.