As more of us are working from home, either entirely in a remote capacity or in some form of a hybrid model, staying healthy and living well can be a challenge.
There are some tips to stay active and physically healthy when working from home, but what about living well and maintaining positive mental health?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and confuse work-from-home and living at home. Between balancing the family’s needs, work, and things that build up throughout the day, it can be a real challenge to separate work from life when you do all your activities in the same location.
For that reason, it’s essential to be able to separate work from life at home.
Some strategies to live healthy while working from home parallel the tips to staying mentally healthy while working from home, and we’ll discuss those further.
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.
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.
Another area of self-care that is easy to overlook is that working from home may trigger more allergies than in the office. Sure, at the office you may be exposed to other people and contagions, but at least most offices have filters for their air systems.
At home, you’re probably sitting in a closed room, or at best with an open window. Depending on where you live, the season, and the cleanliness of your home, you may be more exposed than usual to allergens.
Checking for the types of airborne and foodborne allergies is a good idea, and simple over-the-counter allergy testing kits can guide you toward what may be the causes of allergic responses in the home.
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.