For anyone that has started to work from home recently as a result of the outbreak, you’ll find that it can be difficult to relax after shutting your laptop for the day. However, it’s really important that you do teach yourself how to unwind when working from home, especially when there is a lot on your mind already.
Working from home can be difficult in itself, trying to get motivated and maintain a good level of work – you can read my advice on home working here. On top of all this, there’s the question of how can you truly switch off if you’re only moving a few metres from a desk in your kitchen to the sofa?
Here are some ideas that I’ve put together to make it easier to shut off from work outside of hours – I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!
Set boundaries for talking (or not talking) about work
You might be living with your friends or family who are also working from home, to ensure you can wind down out of hours, decide whether you want to be asked about work when you’re having dinner and communicate this to those you live with.
It’s been refreshing to see just how understanding people closest to you can be through this, as we’re all in it together. So those that have your best interests in mind will of course understand if you just don’t want to talk about work outside of those hours.
Mimic your commute when working at home
Sometimes we can use our commute as a way to wind down from work and bridge the gap between work and home life. So what happens when we don’t have that?
Try to use your allocated time for exercise around when you finish work, acting as your ‘commute’. If you go for a quick walk, bike or run after finishing your work for the day, it can help you to wind down and relax into the evening.
Don’t have your workspace in your chill out places
I know it’s difficult, as a lot of us aren’t lucky to have an ‘office’ style room in our house and we have to make do with a desk in our room or on the sofa. If you can’t spend all day in a place other than your bedroom or living room, try to spend the last hour or two at another desk so when you do log off, you’re not just sat in the same room trying to forget about work.
Differentiate your working clothes from your chilling clothes
While it can be tempting to sit and work in your trackies or pyjamas all day (I am very guilty of that myself), it’s important to change the clothes that you wear to work and those that you put on to chill.
As you might normally come home from work and change out of your workwear into more chilled out clothing, it’s good to maintain this so you still get those differences between working and relaxing.
Set start and finish times
It’s easy to let yourself work longer hours when at home, as you have no clearly defined time to stop. If you let yourself work into the early evening, it can be harder to switch off. Perhaps, if you know you have a busy day ahead of you, try to start earlier rather than finishing later so you can still have an evening to unwind.
This isn’t a normal time, and many of us that are working from home aren’t doing so out of choice. We should remember, and I hope your employer does too, that this is not a time where we should adjust to working from home and embrace all its positives. It won’t be something that we can adjust to and enjoy, as ‘we are not working from home, we are at home during a crisis trying to work‘.
If you’re struggling with everything going on at the moment, please reach out to loved ones, mental health helplines, or anyone you feel comfortable with.