Five ways to unwind when working from home

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.

Photos of trees and fields
Head out for your daily exercise as your ‘commute’

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.

A very important reminder

This Post Has 58 Comments

  1. Great tips and advice. And yes, we are at home during a crisis trying to work. And trying to be normal. Stay safe,

    1. Maddie

      Thank you! Yes exactly – take care!

  2. Vanesh Mali

    I am doing WFH for my company, but I miss my regular office job.
    I hope this Covid-19 will go to hell soon and I will join my office.
    You have shared some useful tips for me, Thank you 😊

    1. Maddie

      Sorry to hear that you miss the office! I hope so too – thank you 🙂

  3. Working from home is incredibly tough, but it needs to be done.

    I do find that I have to stick to a strict schedule when it comes to work. If my working day finishes at 4, then I make sure to be done by then. It’s so easy to go ‘oh but it’s only one more task’, but that can take another hour or two to finish and this really isn’t very good. I try not to do this, and instead will make sure to take my dogs out for a walk as soon as I can, this really helps to get me out of the “work mood” (as walking my dogs is basically the time I would have used driving back home anyway).

    This is a great post and has so many helpful tips though – thanks for sharing!

    1. Maddie

      Thanks for your insightful comment! It’s good to hear that you’re sticking to certain working hours, you’re right it can be so easy to delay yourself by doing ‘one more task’. Take care xxx

  4. singlemomchapters

    This is actually so useful for people who are working from home. I’ll definitely share these with my friends who are working from home ❤️

    1. Maddie

      Thank you, I’m glad you think so! 🙂

  5. Enn

    Excellent tips!

    1. Maddie

      Thank you!

  6. nortoncharity

    These are all such great tips! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Maddie

      Thank you – I’m glad you think so!

  7. Jaya Avendel

    I think doing work away from your cosy space is a great way to give your body and mind a hint that there is a difference between work and relaxing, even if you are home. That subtle little nudge gives me the drive to finish up so I can go relax with nothing on my plate. 🙂

    1. Maddie

      Definitely agree with you there! Thank you Jaya 🙂

  8. aysia b.

    I make it a thing to put on a bra because I’m my head that means I have to be doing something 😂 I’m working on getting a little desk for my room so I can work outside of my bed! Love these tips

    1. Maddie

      Haha I love that idea! Great plan, I hope you can make a nice desk space 🙂 thank you

  9. Lauren Kenny

    Thanks for sharing these tips! I definitely needed these☺️

    1. Maddie

      You’re very welcome!

  10. Nyxinked

    Great advice. It’s very important to have a different area to work and chill out, otherwise we can risk overworking and getting stressed.

    1. Maddie

      Definitely agree with you there! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  11. glowsteady

    These are great tops. I work from home all the time and I still struggle with a few of the things you’ve mentioned here. I really need to work on separating my spaces x


    1. Maddie

      I’m glad you think so! Hopefully you can put the rest into practice 🙂 xx

    1. Maddie

      Thank you!

  12. Cherry Living

    So helpful. I can totally relate with wearing pyjamas all day xx

    1. Maddie

      I’m glad you found it helpful! Me too! xx

      1. Amy

        I like the idea of mimicking the commute home. I usually drive, but I still use that time to wind down before I get home. Its important to try and keep a routine going.

        There are some great tips here 😊

        1. Maddie

          Yes it’s definitely a good idea to have that wind down time! Thank you 😀

    1. Maddie

      Thanks for the comment, glad to hear you like the ideas!

  13. Anna

    I love your advice! As a stay at home mom going back to college, I get dressed every day and keep up with the same morning routine. It is so so so important to have a dedicated workspace. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Maddie

      Thank you very much! That sounds like you’ve got it covered! Thank you ☺️

    1. Maddie

      Thank you, I’m glad I could help!

  14. Lisa Alioto

    Love the idea of mimicing the commute with something like exercise! Will plan to do that today!

    1. Maddie

      Best of luck with it!

  15. Lisa's Notebook

    I saw that Neil Webb tweet too but sadly it doesn’t apply to me as I’m already a remote homeworker and have been for nearly 11 years! I love your tips though, especially the one about using commute time for other activities. I mean I don’t commute but the idea is great, I’m sure I can come up with something 🙂

    1. Maddie

      Oh wow, I’m sure you’ve got a lot of tips of your own! I’ve been working from home for six months prior to this too. Thank you very much 😊

    1. Maddie

      Thank you!

  16. I’ve been working from home for years – long before COVID-19 forced us all to work from home – and I’m still yet to find the perfect routine and system for it! I love your point about work clothes – I’ve never considered that xxx

    1. Maddie

      That’s really interesting! I’ve worked from home for 6 months and also had no perfect routine, but I think this has forced me to make a better one! Ah I’m glad you like that one ☺️

  17. Ella

    A great post with lots of simple tips, great stuff!

    1. Maddie

      Thank you! ☺️

  18. StrongCalmKelsey

    I love this! I’ve also found it helpful to check in with myself during that normal “commute” time. Asking myself how I’m feeling and what I need – like taking a walk, calling a friend or taking some time to relax.

    1. Maddie

      That’s a great idea, thank you for sharing your tips! ☺️

  19. I’ve been loving splitting my day into defined work/productivity time and relaxation! Lovely post!

    1. Maddie

      That’s great to hear – thank you ☺️

  20. emilywyatt27

    This post is just what I needed, thank you! I love the commuting idea – although I don/t commute to uni as such, I do miss my 20 minute walk to and from the library everyday!

    1. Maddie

      Ah you’re very welcome! Definitely good to keep up with your walking ☺️

  21. Sandra Ans

    First few days and weeks was actually hard for me to be mostly at home, not able to celebrate my birthday and grill in a park on a weekends. After being mentally down, I started to accep things that are happening because you don’t have any other choice! And everything changed! We need to take a look from a totally different angle. It helps a lot!
    P.S. I love after a long day after sitting by computer to watch some travel-related movie. It brings me into another world and it’s a great way how to relax! 😉

    1. Maddie

      That’s really insightful, thank you for sharing your ideas! It’s good that you’re learning to accept it for how it is now. Stay safe ☺️

  22. Great advice. Even if you don’t have an ‘office’ in your home, you can likely carve out a space that can act as your office. I was just helping a former student with this recently – she’s in a small bachelor apartment and was sending me pictures trying to figure it out. I ended up pointing out that she had a corner of the apartment unused where she could set up a small corner desk and make that ‘work’. That gives her the ability to ‘leave work’ when the work day is done.

    1. Maddie

      Definitely! Ahh that’s great, sometimes we can’t see it ourselves so it’s great to have that second opinion and help ☺️

  23. meggarman13

    I definitely needed these tips. I’ve been just wearing lounge clothes and working whenever. I need to have boundaries, and set certain times to work, and dress in work clothes. I will move my work zone to the table instead of the living room. I know I will get more things done that way. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Maddie

      I’m glad I could help you – good luck with those things 😀

  24. Working from home is not an easy task and your 5 ways to unwind when you work from home came in handy especially during this lockdown period. Thank you so much for your useful advice!

    1. Maddie

      Thank you very much ☺️

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