Self-care, when you work from home, is essential! You don’t have your usual colleagues around you to keep you sane and to bounce ideas off and your routine can feel like it’s all over the place. Today, I’ve got some tips to share with you to help make your working from home life that little bit more manageable…
I’ve written about what self-care means to me in the past but today I wanted to share more about that and how important self-care is when you work from home.
Working from home in one form or another is pretty much most people’s dream job and over the last few months, more and more of us have been given the opportunity to do that. Even when things go back to normal (albeit a new normal) I personally can’t see a time when everyone is called back into the office to work again.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think a lot of people will have to go back to work in their usual place of work but so many companies have had to invest in the infrastructure (get me using big words today) to allow their workers to work from home during the current crisis that I genuinely can’t see them all just writing off that time and investment and blanket recalling everyone back to their offices.
Which means that lots more of us will be working from home in some capacity – even if it’s just a couple of days a week with the rest of the time spent in the office. And that’s going to mean some big lifestyle changes for people along with the need to make sure that self-care when you’re working from home should be a big priority!
First up, what is self-care?
Basically, self-care is doing something to look after yourself. It can be pretty much any activity that you do deliberately to take care of your mental, emotional, or physical health. Sounds simple right? That’s because, in theory, it really is a simple concept but in reality, self-care is so often overlooked as something that’s not important or can be moved down your list of priorities.
Why is self-care so important?
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup so take care of yourself first’? It’s one of my favourite quotes because it sums up everything that self-care means to me. If I’m not looking after myself then how can I look after others?
Self-care is all about doing small things (or big things) to consciously take care of yourself and by doing that then you’re making a commitment that you care about yourself. You’re doing small things that make you happy or give you time out from a busy day which in turn will have a positive effect on your life in one way or another.
If you do it right and consistently, then looking after yourself in this way will improve your mood, potentially reduce stress and anxiety, protect your mental health and enable you to build better relationships with those around you.
In essence, making the effort to look after yourself will make you feel good, and the better you feel about yourself, the better you’ll feel about other areas in your life whether it’s your family, your work or your relationships with others.
10 ways to practice self-care when working from home
1) This is an odd one to start with but… don’t feel like you have to work from home just because the option is there. I have the option to work from home but I choose not to for most of the time as I like to have people around me and I struggle to be as productive from home. Lots of employers will be in a position to give you the option so if working from home isn’t for you then shout up!
2) Make sure you have a way to keep in touch with your colleagues so if there isn’t already something in place for you then get something set up. If you’re a lone worker who doesn’t really have workmates to keep in touch with then maybe look to see if you have other friends who are in the same boat and set up a regular little check-in, just so you have
3) Have a dedicated work area if you have space in your house, preferably somewhere you can just close off at the end of the day so you don’t have to see your work stuff once you finish at the end of the day. A separate workspace is really good so you have a clear divide between your work and home life. Try and work in an area with plenty of natural light.
And if you can’t have a dedicated space to work then make sure you pack up at the end of the day. I work from my dining room table and I always pack up at the end of the day, even if I’d just be unpacking it again in the morning. To me, it’s worth the extra five minutes at each end of the day to not see my laptop and piles of work when I don’t need to be seeing it.
4) Clean and declutter your area each morning before you start your working day because I genuinely feel better in myself if the space I’m working in is clear. If it’s not then I feel uncomfortable and want to take the time to tidy, it just irritates and distracts me so I get it done before I start my day,
5) Stick to your usual schedule and make sure you take your breaks and lunches. Easier said than done when you’re working from home because it’s really tempting just to work through if you’re at home – I’m speaking from personal experience here as there have been times when I’ve just got into the zone at the start of the day and all of a sudden it’s time to finish. I try and set an alarm on my phone now for my lunch just so I have a reminder!
6) Get dressed and do your hair as if you were going to work rather than sitting in your PJs all day no matter how tempting that might be.
7) Stock up on healthy snacks and fruit so you can snack throughout the day without the sugar highs and lows so swap out the unhealthy snacks. These Apple and Honey Bran muffins are perfect!
8) Try and make time to do something active throughout the day to look after your physical health, even if it’s just something small like walking the dog or nipping to the shop in your lunch break. You could squeeze in some yoga or a Youtube work out in your living room during your lunch break if you really wanted to – I’m more of a dog walk around the block kind of worker.
9) Start your day by writing a to-do list so you’re as productive as you can be and so you get everything done that you need to get done throughout the day and so you don’t miss any important calls. I tend to forget when I don’t have people around to remind me so having things written down helps me.
10) Be honest and let your employer know if you’re struggling whether it’s because of childcare, workload or anything else that’s impacting you. There are probably loads of things they can do to help you but only if they know you’re struggling.
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