Have you, like much of the world, been working from home for the last year? Has it felt harder than ever for you to create a sense of work-life balance?
You’re not alone! One survey revealed that 90 percent of remote workers feel stressed, and 41 percent feel either “very stressed” or “extremely stressed.”
If you’re struggling with stress reduction as a remote worker, keep reading. Listed below are 5 steps you can take today to create more balance and say goodbye to burnout.
#1) Take a Legit Lunch Break
Close the laptop. Step away from the desk. Eat your lunch and only eat your lunch.
Does this sound completely foreign to you? Does the idea of stopping work to eat sound like a privilege you simply can’t afford?
If you aren’t taking a legitimate lunch break and are haphazardly shoving food in your mouth while you type, you’re probably doing more harm than good.
First of all, you’re not getting a chance to truly enjoy your food. Eating quickly or while you’re distracted can even cause digestive problems, too (no thanks!).
Second, you’re likely not being as productive as you think you are. You’re dividing your attention between your lunch and your work, which means you might be more prone to making mistakes or missing details.
Wouldn’t it be better (and a lot less stressful) to just take a 30-minute break to walk to the kitchen and eat your lunch, then go back to work?
#2) Step Outside
If at all possible, try to step outside for a few minutes during your workday. Go out on the balcony and get some sun on your skin, or sit in the backyard and breathe in some fresh air.
Some people might even be able to work outside, at least for short periods of time. If this is the case for you, working outdoors is a great way to get a change of scenery and make your workday a little less monotonous.
If working outdoors isn’t an option, try to work a few quick recesses into your work schedule. Set a timer in the afternoon so you remember to go out and take a few deep breaths, for example.
You could even open your window and get some fresh air that way. This is a good choice if walking out of your office would seem like you’re giving your kids the green light to bombard you with a million questions and requests.
#3) Eat The Frog
No, you don’t actually have to eat a frog. Let’s just clear that up right now.
The term “eat the frog” refers to doing the most difficult task on your to-do list first. It’s based on the idea that if you had to eat a frog, you’d probably want to do it as quickly as possible, rather than sitting around all day thinking about how you had to eat the frog.
When you sit down to work in the morning, take a look at what you need to do for the day and pick “the frog” out of your list of tasks. Then, eat it before doing anything else.
Maybe you need to respond to an email from a particularly annoying coworker, or perhaps you have to make a phone call that you’ve been dreading.
Whatever it is, do it. Then, marvel for a minute at how much lighter you feel. You’ll likely be less stressed and more productive for the rest of the day!
#4) Rest Your Eyes
Practically all of us have been spending more time in front of screens these days. We wake up and look at the small phone screen, then we transition to the medium-sized computer screen for work, then we collapse in front of the big screen to watch reality TV and forget about our lives for a couple of hours before bed.
Is all the extra screentime wreaking havoc on your eyes? Do they seem to get fatigued faster than they once did? Are you more prone to headaches or vision issues while you’re trying to work?
Resting your eyes during the workday can help to minimize this issue.
Try not to look at the computer screen (or any other screen) for more than 50 minutes in a row. Take a 10-minute break from the screen every hour to let your eyes rest.
Don’t love the idea of stopping work every 50 minutes? Maybe you can handle some screen-free tasks, like filing or organizing, during these breaks. That way, you’re still being productive while you’re also de-stressing and resting your eyes.
#5) Stand Up and Stretch
Finally, don’t forget to stand up and stretch during the workday, too.
Stretching is a great way to avoid aches and pains while you work, and it gives you a nice endorphin boost, which can help you to feel happier, less stressed, and more alert.
As a bonus, standing up and stretching also gives your eyes a break. You’re killing two birds with one stone! How’s that for combining productivity and stress reduction?
There are lots of simple stretches you can do while working from home that don’t require fancy equipment or wardrobe changes. For example, you can stand up and do this side stretch to combat back pain, or you can do this wrist stretch to relieve any discomfort you feel from typing and texting all day long.
Time to Step Up Your Stress Reduction!
Between your kids screaming, your dog barking, and your next-door neighbor who has decided that today is the perfect day to start a major home improvement project, being a remote worker can be stressful, to say the least.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed regularly, or notice that you’re working more but getting less done, it’s time to reevaluate your approach. Try one (or more) of the tips listed above so you can manage your stress and start enjoying your time working from home!