Home Business Magazine Online
By Brian Smith, PhD
Working from home has become part of many people’s daily lives. As burnout increases, people are looking for ways to ward off work fatigue. The benefits of being able to separate work from home (even when your office is in your home) are innumerable — the most crucial being that you don’t need to live your life consumed with work. You can avoid burnout by learning how to restore personal time back into your day.
It’s certainly not easy to leave the office when you literally live in it, but here are some positive ways to impose healthy boundaries.
1. Create mental markers
Structure work and workspace in a way that signifies to your brain when it’s time to be done and focus on personal time. This can include setting up a separate work area, working specific hours and sticking to them, asking people to respect work-time boundaries, setting up do not disturb periods on your phone, and more. Most importantly, make them a habit and stick to them without making exceptions. Exceptions break the rules, and doing so once can lead you to abandon your rules altogether — which may bring you back to a state of burnout.
2. Have a buffer period
When you’ve finished working, don’t jump immediately into chores, like cleaning or making dinner. Give yourself a 10- to 15-minute grace period to stretch, look out the window, and unwind. Do whatever it is that allows you to clear and calm your brain. Don’t look at your phone or computer — allow yourself time to switch gears. Treat transitioning to personal time as if you were transitioning to a new task and give yourself a moment.
3. Adopt a self-care morning routine
With a home office, it’s easy to jump into work shortly after you wake up in the morning, but you’re sacrificing quality you-time if you don’t allow time to attend to yourself in the morning. Working from home shouldn’t mean letting go of all the things you used to do when you worked in an office. Make some tea or coffee, wash your face, comb your hair, change out of your pajamas — engage in the same rituals you had when you were getting ready for your on-site work day. You can use the time formerly spent commuting — half an hour or so — for a walk, journaling, reflection, or another activity that helps set the tone for the day.
4. Maintain hobbies or find new ones
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean that home is now all about work. You need to maintain your hobbies or take up new ones you might enjoy. This goes along with making time for yourself to enjoy the things you like. Life isn’t all about work — it’s about feeding your curiosity and pursuing experiences that offer enjoyment. Don’t lose sight of that just because work now takes place at home.
5. Go outside
If you find that it’s difficult to make time for yourself, change your setting. Staying inside in the same place for hours on end is also a recipe for burnout. Go outside and get some fresh air. Go for a walk and just enjoy the sunshine and nature. A change of scenery helps change your perspective and boost your ability to separate work from home. If the weather isn’t favorable, don’t let it discourage you. Bundle up, wear a raincoat, and prepare as best as you can. Braving the elements can add to your enjoyment of the outside world.
To avoid burnout when working from home, make a point to develop healthy habits and boundaries — and commit to them. Prioritize yourself and your well-being to achieve a satisfying work/life balance.
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