Unwinding When You Work from Home

When you work from home, it’s not always easy to unwind after a stressful project or day. You live in your workspace…even if you’re like me and have a space in your home that is a separate office. I mean, even though I have a home office, I do come out from time to time with my laptop into the living room with my family…

Yet, we don’t have a commute. We don’t have a separate place of business. It’s not easy to just walk away and be done for the day. Yet, unwinding is a total necessity because it lessens and, for many, prevents burnout.

How to Unwind at the End of Your Work from Home Schedule

Since some of you may have a traditional schedule to keep and some of you may not, I’m just going to call it a “work from home schedule” as opposed to a “work from home day.” Some of you, I’m sure, are hair-splitters when it comes to terminology (which, by the way, probably makes you miserable to be around so you should probably stop doing that).

  1. If you are self-employed, review your schedule each day when you start your work and pick an ending time. And stick to that ending time. I know that things come up that could push you back 15 or 30 minutes. That happens to me…a lot. I have to make phone call or a client wants a quick 15 or 30 minute Zoom. Before COVID-19, I had to run an errand. If you are disciplined and can leave it at 15 or 30 minutes and it doesn’t turn into an hour or more, fine. Self-discipline is key not just to making a living for yourself, but also to having a life.
  2. If you are a remote worker for a traditional employer, when it’s quittin’ time, it’s quittin’ time. Shut your laptop or turn off your company sanctioned chat programs. Do not check your work email. Do not answer business texts or emails. You are fucking done for the day. My independent contracts know that I might email them at weird times, but I do not expect a response when they generally are not working.
  3. Shut your eyes and just be still for a few seconds. Spend ten seconds (literally) with zero thoughts. And if thoughts do come, just let them pass quietly. Don’t hold them. Don’t chase them. Just sit there for a minute. Just be quiet. You can take ten seconds to transition. The house will not burn down in ten seconds unless it is actually on fire…and if that’s the case, what in the fuck are you doing reading this? Unwinding is the least of your goddamn problems. If you can sit longer and be quiet, sit longer. I’m not necessarily talking about meditation. I’m just saying you don’t have to necessarily jump from one mode (work mode) to the next (mom / wife / dad / husband / partner / whatever). That’s one issue why we always feel like our hair is on fire. We feel immediately pulled from one thing to the next to the next and we don’t take any time to just shut up for a second and breathe. And be. And rest. Just be still and rest for a minute.
  4. Stretch if you can. This doesn’t have to mean super yoga flexibility. This could mean gentle stretching in whatever way feels good to you. I have arthritis in my neck, spine, shoulders, one elbow, wrists, hands, knuckles, hips, both knees, one ankle, and feet. And it is no fun. I can do a lot of things most of the time…but sometimes, not. I listen to my body and follow its cues for what feels good. I workout almost daily which helped tremendously (with the exception of my left knee and right ankle…but can’t win ’em all, I guess). Think about how great a good stretch feels when you do it. And then do it!
  5. Do you like ASMR? I do. I find it very soothing…well, certain sounds. Pop in some headphones, use Spotify or YouTube or whatever you want to use and take a few minutes and relax. Yes, even if you have kids. You don’t have to keep it up so loud you don’t know what’s going on around you. Or do if your kids are constantly fighting and you want to drown some of it out for a bit (as long as they aren’t killing each other).

You matter. You matter. You matter. And to keep you well and to keep you from burning you, you must take your wellness into your own hands!

Related: How to Work from Home Without Going Bat Shit Crazy

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