5 Ways to Practice Self-Care When Working From HomeEditorial Team
By Chris Mut, CEO of nerdytec UG, an innovative lap desk producer.
Eco-friendly, improving productivity, and reducing stress levels… Are we talking about holidays? Not quite. In fact, these are all benefits of the home office—if done the right way.
Unfortunately, we often associate the home office with children interrupting video calls, late-night working hours, and sharp back pain from maneuvering our workplace into the bed.
Let’s fight these bad habits, learn how to practice necessary self-care when working from home, during stressful times, and get more work done in less time.
Start with Planning Your Days and Routines
Planning is the first step to success. Being home all day, we tend to organize our day poorly, losing valuable hours of time to relax. Doing the laundry, walking the dog, and doing yoga while managing emails and meetings, we often believe we are more efficient. But often enough, we have too many things on our mind that there’s no space for actual work—with our peace of mind suffering a heavy blow.
The solution is planning your day and sticking to that plan as best as you can. Self-care when working from home should start soon after you wake up, having the boost you need to start your day right. So, start your day off with a morning routine you enjoy. This could include a healthy breakfast, a morning walk or reading the newspaper. The important thing is to take your time—so don’t boot up your computer until you’re ready to fully engage in the work at hand.
You should plan all small daily activities in advance and do them during active breaks. If you have something bigger planned, such as running errands or going to the doctor, you should note the time needed for it in your work calendar. You can then catch up with unfinished work in a designated hour.
Don’t Cut Short on Breaks
Imagine, according to Forbes, nearly 20% of North American workers fear their bosses will not consider them hard-working if they take regular lunch breaks. Another 13% worry their colleagues will judge them.
Not only are breaks necessary if you want to keep up the good work, but an active pause can help reset your mood, trigger newfound energy, and reduce stress and tension. A good rule of thumb for pausing is to take a five to ten-minute break away from the workstation every 45 to 55 minutes. Alternatively, try the Pomodoro method (yes, the tomatoes):
1. Create a list of tasks and get a timer and draw 25 pomodoro tomatoes.
2. Set your timer for 25 minutes, and work on a single task until the timer rings.
3. As your session ends, mark off one pomodoro and note down your achievements.
4. Take a five-minute break.
5. After four rounds, take an extended, restorative break of 15 to 30 minutes.
When it comes to taking the actual break to practice self-care when working from home, a little creativity can spice things up. Instead of checking your text messages on your phone, try one of the following 51 ideas for unusual breaks. A diverse task will help to give tired eyes a break and stimulate your brain to recharge for the upcoming hours.
Be Mindful of Your Posture
We are all guilty of it. Long hours in front of the PC, hunched posture on an uncomfortable chair, working from the bed—you name it. And if working on the PC wasn’t enough, most people tend to shift their work to the couch or bed and collapse like a sack in their posture.
If you want to keep your back healthy and strong when working from home, you can’t just ignore practicing self-care. Look for long-term solutions and include exercises for enhancing your posture. First of all, you should regularly get up from your chair, stretch, and—if possible—move a little. On days when you can’t go for a run around the block, small exercises can help to relieve the strain on the ischium.
Well, and those who simply like to work from the couch or bed should look for ways to maintain their posture and not slump. Luckily, laptop tables that you can put on your couch are an excellent alternative to an office chair with a desk. Such lap desks give you more legroom, which helps you maintain a healthy posture. They also help you keep an ergonomic seating position, and by placing your mouse and keyboard next to you on the desk, you can avoid overstretching your shoulder and neck muscles.
Connect with colleagues
Working from home can make us feel isolated from our colleagues. However, keeping up good relationships with your team is important for work-life balance and wellbeing. Employees at companies that promote a connected culture cite better physical (58%) and emotional well-being (55%) than employees of companies that do not promote a collegial environment (50% and 48%, respectively).
Meeting up regularly with colleagues is, therefore, an essential self-care practice when working from home. Weekly meetings with your team to review news, discuss issues, or just ask how everyone is doing at the moment are critical to staying on task and make every team member feel included.
However, only covering work-related topics is not enough to develop solid relationships. That’s why teams should set up a time for team-building activities and social gatherings. If no one has suggested such activities yet, it’s time for you to make the first step and invite your colleagues to the first virtual drinks at the company. Cheers!
Understand Your Boundaries and Uphold Them
It’s tempting to quickly send an email in the evening, even if working hours are long over, or to take care of work leftover from the weekend. Even if it is difficult to leave things unfinished, being able to leave work behind is essential to guarantee your well-being.
Setting boundaries does not only mean limiting working hours and saying goodbye to late-night shifts, but it also means learning to listen to yourself. And if you want to practice self-care when working from home and ensure your well-being, you must listen to yourself. If you are feeling sick, speak to your manager, take a rest, and don’t log in. The quality of your work will suffer if you feel unable to work but do it anyway.
Boundaries are individual. What fits one doesn’t work for another. That’s why you need to explore what you can achieve daily and when enough is enough. To keep your limit from being reached quickly, it’s important to incorporate many different self-care practices into your day.
Taking care of a good posture, setting up meetings with colleagues, and taking time for yourself are among the top ways to practice self-awareness during the home office. But the list of things can go on forever—in the end, you need to listen to yourself and your body and ask yourself what you need to keep up a healthy work-life balance.
Chris Mut is the CEO of nerdytec, and creator of the Couchmaster Cyworx, a lap desk that promotes good posture and relieves back stress. Chris is also an expert in ergonomics.
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