Stress can be a challenge for professionals under normal circumstances. In the current situation, there’s no doubt that it’s amplified. We also know the negative side effects of stress, from physical pains to lower productivity. While there’s no cure-all here, there are many things professionals can do to help reduce the amount of stress they’re experiencing. We all need different things, so investigating what helps you most personally is key. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Clarify Your Expectations
This is a big one. Let’s say you were used to working 8-hour days, and you’ve suddenly become a homeschool teacher from 8am-12pm. Many of us have experienced pretty significant changes in our lives in the last month or so. Trying to keep your expectations of yourself the same despite these changes is a recipe for stress. You might not be doing this consciously, but if you haven’t given yourself some time to specifically evaluate your expectations, this may be your default. Take some time to reassess.
Declutter Your Environment
Turning your home into a place that supports your work life in addition to your personal life isn’t always easy. Now that we are spending so much time inside our homes, we want to make sure this environment isn’t contributing to our stress levels. Maybe you take a weekend to do a major clean or perhaps you spend 10 minutes at the end of each day ensuring things feel neat. Different things will work for different people here, but often, giving yourself a calmer physical space will support a calmer mental space.
Take Intentional Breaks
When working from home, the days can start to feel like a blur. Scheduling some intentional breaks into your day is a great way to combat stress. Regardless of how much you’re working, designating a few windows to yourself throughout the day can help you unwind. Take some time to consider the activities that work best for you. Maybe it’s meditation, a walk outside, reading a book, going for a run, having a cup of tea. Pinpoint a few of these activities for yourself and set up intentional break times around them. Sometimes when we’re stressed we can avoid the things that are most helpful. Including them in your schedule can help you stay accountable.
Set Up Boundaries
The physical boundary of your home as a personal space and your office as a workspace is gone when you work from home. This leaves many of us susceptible to losing the balance between the two. As we spend our personal and work time in the same location, we need to set up some new boundaries to ensure that we’re able to maintain some sense of a balance. It might be a designated area for your work time. Maybe it’s certain work hours. Perhaps it’s a screen-free room of the house. Find the boundaries that make sense for you. Losing the balance between work and personal is a common source of stress, and working from home makes that even more challenging.
How are you handling stress during this time? Are there any strategies you’ve found helpful? What about any habits that make your stress worse? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.