Find Balance

With everything happening at home it’s more important than ever to set boundaries, and find balance.

May 21, 2020

Many of us have been working from home in our makeshift offices where phone books have found a home as monitor stands. Many of us are wearing the hat of a employee, teacher, lunch service and more...plus the two-month mark of this new world is fast approaching. While we may not know yet when we'll be back in work offices, here are seven tips on creating a dedicated workspace and work-life balance in the meantime.
 

1. Assess your home office needs

We all have different jobs. Some of us need a creative spark and some of us need a quiet space to think. You might like to recline on the couch or spread out your workspace on the kitchen table. Some need both areas to make a complete office. Think about your work and what you need. Maybe in the morning, you need to be at a desk to get through emails or work on projects and in the afternoon, you like brainstorm on the couch looking out the window. Whatever your work requires, make sure you have the space for your needs, and keep in mind it doesn’t have to be the same space all day every day.
 

2. Find your office atmosphere

We hang lights, bring family pictures and inspirational posters from home to decorate our workspaces, so make sure the “office” in your home has the same personal touch. Do you love the color of one room over another? Does nature inspire you? Do you like being surrounded by your family? What makes you happy and makes you feel productive?
 
Set up some house plants or fresh flowers. Open up the shades and bring in natural light, or plug in your favorite lamp for some calm lighting. Play some of your favorite music. Whatever your style is, bring it to your home office to make it more comfortable. The more happy and comfortable you are, the more productive you can become in your home office.
 

3. Lose the clutter

When you leave your house for work in the morning, there might be toys lying around, dishes in the sink or other stuff around that needs to be cleaned up and put away. When you’re in your home office – whether that is in the kitchen, living room or a home office – clear the clutter. Free your mind from distractions like having to clean up toys or wanting to take care of the dishes. Don’t get distracted by chores that need to be done. When you get rid of the clutter and put yourself at ease you can stay focused on your work.
 

4. Take five (not the candy bar)

Discuss the weekend at the water cooler or walk to the break room for a mid-morning snack. When we’re at the office, we get up from our desks to take a break and clear our minds. The same is needed at home too.
 
Go for a walk through your neighborhood, get up and make some tea, play with your pets or kids or meditate. Anything that will get you away from your screen and help reset your mind is needed. We often sit down and start taking on the day until it is lunchtime, where we grab leftovers from the refrigerator and get back to our desk without skipping a beat. Leave time for breaks.
 

5. Spend time in the great outdoors

When you’re working from home, one of the perks can be working from a patio, deck or a picnic blanket. We’re getting into summer, so soak in the warm weather, sunlight and Vitamin D. Florence Williams, author of “The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative" cites being outside for just 15 minutes can help maintain a happy mood and reduce depression.
 
Not only can working in the outdoors boost your mood, but it can boost your physical health too. While we’re outside, our bodies soak in vitamin D which helps the absorption of calcium and can help prevent cancer. So, plan some outdoor time in your day – whether it’s working, playing with your kids or walking your pets – and reap the benefits for your brain, body and your mood.
 

6. Use your PTO

The best way to get back into work-life balance is to take some PTO. Even though many businesses and activities are shut down and you feel like there’s nothing to do, it’s good to take a day and disconnect from work. When you work from home, you can feel like you’re always on – getting breakfast ready, answering emails and making sure kids are doing their schoolwork. Remember that you need to take days for self-care. Read a book, relax on your deck or take a drive.
 

7. Log off for the day

Aside from taking breaks and getting outdoors, logging off at the end of the workday is one of the most important aspects of a healthy work-life balance. Especially when you’re working from home. It is important to set boundaries for yourself. If you have to, leave notes for yourself or create a to-do list at the end of the day for tomorrow. Set aside some time to decompress, relax and transition into your nightly routine. Just because you have access to your work any time of the day does not mean that you should stay logged in 24 hours a day. Once the day is over, leave what didn’t get done for the next day, shut down your computer turn off the light and even close your office door to remind you work time is done.

We are quickly adjusting to a time when technology has an even bigger impact in our lives, from grocery delivery to virtual healthcare visits and working-from-home. It's important to declutter and spend some time reconnecting with ourselves. Seek happiness, stay healthy and find balance.
 
Sources: Dean Health Plan, Wisconsin Public Radio, Phys.org, Vault.com Inc.

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